By Ms. Susan M. Collins-Smith, MSU Extension Service
It’s September, and that means it’s National Rice Month!
Rice is one of Mississippi’s major row crops. Our state ranks sixth among states that produce rice.
It’s also a very versatile grain that packs a lot of nutrition in its tiny grains. Rice is rich in more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and iron. Rice is a complex carbohydrate, which can provide long-lasting energy.
Wild, brown, red, and black rice are also 100% whole grain and provide fiber. Rice is a good choice if you need to serve guests with food allergies. It is gluten-free and is less allergenic than other grains.
Check out these other facts about Mississippi rice:
More than 12.5 million hundredweight of rice was produced in 2020.
Mississippi has 221 rice-producing farms.
Approximately 170,000 acres of rice were harvested in 2020.
Value of production for rice in 2020 was $138 million.
Bolivar County produces the largest acreage of rice.
Rice is grown in the Delta in Bolivar, Coahoma, Desoto, Humphreys, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica, and Washington Counties.
Mississippi’s rice crop is harvested in August and September.
Rice can be featured in recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Try out some of these tasty recipes that have been featured on the blog.
This one-dish Italian Ground Beef with Rice comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner.
Leftover rice is perfect for our Fried Rice Makeover. It’s also a great way to get all your servings of vegetables for the day.
Caribbean Casserole fits the menu if you are watching your calorie and fat intake. With brown rice and black beans, it’s a good source of fiber, too.
Rice isn’t just for savory dishes. There are plenty of sweet treats to be made with rice, such as Crispy Rice Peanut Butter Bites. If your children like to join you in the kitchen, they’ll enjoy helping make these no-bake confections.
Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. If you are planning your menu, consider trying Orange Wild Rice with Raisins and Apples. It might just become a family favorite.
If you’re in the Bolivar County area or want a fun road trip to the Delta this month, Bolivar County’s annual rice appreciation event is planned for Sept. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the streets of downtown Merigold.
If you go to the Rice Festival, you can taste rice dishes from local restaurants, shop with vendors, see exhibits, and enjoy music and children’s activities. A rice queen also will be announced. The event is open to the public and admission is free.