Rice belongs to the sweet grass family (Gramineae) and is a type of cereal originally from East Asia, the term "cereals" covering the grain fruits of cultivated grasses (spikes or ears in the case of wheat, rye, barley and corn; panicles in the case of oats and rice).
Rice is an annual panicle grass with uniflorous spikelets and is one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans (e.g. for 5000 years in India). It is a "glumed" type of cereal, which means that the glumes (dry-skinned leaves in the flower area of the grasses) remain stuck to the grain, as is the case with most types of barley and oats and with millet. In addition, the rice grain is also surrounded by a fine, silver-gray to reddish-yellow or red skin, the "silver skin", over which the glumes are located.
Rice is cultivated under water in flooded fields (requiring artificial irrigation, high yield) and as upland rice (where the land is merely watered).
Depending on the shape and size of the grain, rice is subdivided into three basic grades: short grain, medium grain and long grain. These are further subdivided, depending on the degree of preparation, into: unprepared rice, white rice, broken rice and parboiled rice.
Rice is liable to sweat, especially new crop. When rice arrives in a damaged condition, immediate steps are necessary for its treatment and/or disposal, as its value depends largely on the alternative use to which it can be put, such as brewing, seasoning, paste and fertilizer.
Time is an important factor, as delay aggravates damage.
When damaged by seawater a not unpleasant smell is given off; when damaged by fresh water a putrid smell results.
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