Nutrient-Dense Brown Rice
Makes 6 cups
The nutrients of whole-grain rice are locked-up, bound behind a protective barrier of phytic acid. Phytic acid preserves the nutrients of the grain, but also prevents the nutrients from being absorbed into the human body. Really, phytic acid is one of humanity’s great allies. It guards the grain and tries to ensure that the nutrients are used to sprout a new plant (a truly noble endeavor!). Traditional cultures around the world have found many ways to make whole-grains more advantageous and absorbable (sourdough is a well-known example). Through soaking and fermentation the noble nutrient protector (phytic acid) releases the nutrition of the grain and we are the benefactors!
This recipe combines my favorite techniques from a variety of sources: the recipe for Basic Brown Rice II from Sally Fallon-Morell’sNourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, from an interview with Verta Mae Smart-Grosvennor, author of (among others) Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, and a Spring 2010 Wise Traditions article, “Living with Phytic Acid: Preparing Grains, Nuts, Seeds, and Beans for Maximum Nutrition.” The result is that ach grain is separate, but still sticky enough to clump together and be easily eaten with chopsticks!
2 cups long-grain brown rice
3 ½ cups warm (about 100 degrees F), clean (well, spring or filtered) water, plus more for rinsing the rice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, whey from cultured dairy,
or 2-3 tablespoons reserved soaking water from a previous batch of soaked rice (see cooks note)
Position a fine mesh colander over a large bowl of water. Add the rice to the colander. Scrub the rice between your hands until the water is very cloudy. Discard the water. Repeat scrubbing the rice and discarding the water twice more. (As you scrub, may I suggest you ponder the importance and uniqueness of each grain of rice.) Use the pot from a rice-cooker with a “brown rice” setting; or a medium, heavy-bottomed, sauce pan. Place the rice, 3 ½ cups of warm (about 100 degrees F) water, and apple cider vinegar (or, lemon juice, whey, or previous soaking water) in the pot or pan.
Cover tightly and store in a warm (75-80 degrees F) place for 16-48 hours (Rice requires a longer soaking time than other grains because it contains very little phytase, the enzyme needed to break-down phytic acid). Reserve 3 tablespoons of the soaking water for later use, add 3 tablespoons of water to replace the liquid (optional, see cooks note).
If using a rice-cooker, cook using the brown rice setting. When the cooker signals the end of its cycle, remove the cover and use a fork to lift and separate the grains of rice. Cover for an additional 15 minutes. Serve.
If using a sauce pan, heat over high until rapidly boiling, about 5-10 minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook over low for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and use a fork to lift and separate the grains of rice. Cover for an additional 15 minutes. Serve.
Researchers have found that adding a small amount of reserved soaking water (from a previous batch) to be the most effective means of reducing and eliminating phytic acid. (Read the article “Living with Phytic Acid: Preparing Grains, Nuts, Seeds, and Beans for Maximum Nutrition” for more information.)
After the rice has soaked, and just before cooking, remove 3 tablespoons of the soaking water. Add back 3 tablespoons of water to replace the liquid. Store the liquid tightly covered in the refrigerator up to one month. Add the reserved soaking liquid to future batches of Nutrient-Dense Brown Rice or use for other soaked rice recipes.