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Ready-Made Rice in a Bag?

by bkhoury on March 03, 2011

I love trying new food that offers a time-saving solution, but I have to admit I have been a slow mover on the ready-made rice in a bag concept.  I first saw this curious looking bag of brown mush at Trader Joe’s a few years ago (which by the way is my favorite store and they have since improved the packaging of the brown mush).  The concept of pre-cooked rice sitting in a vacuum sealed bag just did not appeal to my sense of good food.  I immediately categorized it as ready-made food with all the nutrients sapped out of it and salt and preservatives added. 

Then I had my husband do the grocery shopping for me and guess what he came home with in leu of rice from say, a box?  So I reluctantly fed it to the kids and then to my husband (my true guinea pigs).  They love rice and loved this as well.  After passing the taste test, I realized what a gem I had stumbled onto despite my stubbornness.  I mean seriously, you open up a package and NUKE IT!

Unfortunately most foods you can do this with do not qualify as real food in my mind. So ever suspicious, I started to do my homework. It turns out most of the ready made rice doesn’t contain preservatives!  They do all contain some sort of oil to keep it from being a big rice cake.  The packages from the health stores generally contain grape seed or olive oil while others contain canola oil.  Even better, the brown ready rice variety has more fiber than white minute rice (white minute rice has 0 grams of fiber).  It also contains as much fiber as the dried version that requires at least 20 to 30 minutes of cook time. 

I’m not sure if like vegetables, the longer it sits the more nutrients are lost. But in the end, the ready-made rice is such an enormous time saver it is worth the slight weirdness and the heftier price tag to me. (You could purchase an entire bag of rice for the cost of one packet.)  One caveat, I did try a wild rice version from a health food store and it literally tasted like hay—A little too all natural for my tastes! 

And if you all think I’m way behind on this one, at least know I’m eating rice, not humble pie.

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