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Rice

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by Carronade, May 16, 2018.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    I recently ran across this depiction of the "Rice Belt" where almost all rice in the United States is grown, though apparently California is also a significant producer. I've always understood that at least up until the Civil War era, rice was a major crop in the Atlantic coastal regions of the Carolinas and Georgia. Did something happen to rice production there? Or has it simply been overshadowed by larger volumes elsewhere?

    [​IMG]

    I've also read that Africans' knowledge of rice growing contributed to the success of the crop in the south.
     
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  3. Cpl. Smith

    Cpl. Smith Sergeant

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    It's been overshadowed by larger production elsewhere. The slaves never saw Africa.
     
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  4. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    I am glad you raised that question. I often wonder that myself since rice is such a durable food product and easily transported and prepared.
     
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  5. nitrofd

    nitrofd Colonel

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    You left out South Carolina,it was a mainstay for the state way back then.
     
  6. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    There's a big difference between African rice and Asian rice. One of the many reasons there was opposition to the ban on the importation of Africans was the rice trade. The people from the Niger Delta area had a particular skill in preparing land for rice production - drainage, levees, dams, irrigation, etc. that they had developed in Africa. This is what happened in the Sacramento Delta during the Gold Rush, with the importation of Chinese workers - who brought their rice farming methods with them as the Africans had. Rice production in California centered on four or five counties in the delta - Butte, Colusa, Glenn and Sutter. CalRose rice was specially developed for the Delta. The soil had a particular type of clay that was excellent for rice - same in South Carolina and the Rice Belt of the South. Back in the day, it was very labor intensive, too! One odd thing about California, probably because it was not as sub-tropical as South Carolina or east Texas, there was little malaria. The irrigation processes in the South encouraged that disease. My grandfather used to have a hot whiskey toddy every morning - finally found out it was an old South Carolina planter custom to ward off malaria when they went to do their rounds! (His father was from SC.)
     
  7. nitrofd

    nitrofd Colonel

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    Intersesting post,thanks.
     
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  8. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    There's coming to be more interest in the African rice these days. Asian rice is very labor intensive, requires a lot of arable land, and a lot of water. African rice is hardier, pest resistant, requires less land with more yield, less water and has a very distinctive, hearty flavor. It was what was originally grown on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. Rice dishes of that era would taste very different because of the African rice, which today is not grown commercially there. An African dish that has become a Southern staple is the simple beans and rice! Personally, I'm glad to see a renewed interest in this older, less hybridized grain. Here is an interesting article on African rice, and how it came to be widely grown in both North and South America:

    https://blackheritagetours.wordpres...ice-and-its-expansion-to-north-south-america/
     
  9. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    One would think since rice stores well, it could have alleviated a good portion of the Confederacy lack of food for their starved Army .
     
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  10. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    diane thanks for information on rice. I was going to find some articles but glad you did.

    I had dentist today and just getting back to posting.
     
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  11. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Can this be moved to the Food Forum? Thanks.
     
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  12. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    I was wondering about that as well. I think a good number of these plantations were abandoned during the war? But a lot of the transportation was kaput - can't eat it if it can't be got!
     
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  13. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    Fine with me. Thanks for all your interest!
     
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  14. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Carolina Gold was the main variety of rice before and during the Civil War, but there was one other variety that little old agriculturist Thomas Jefferson was fascinated by - African hill rice. This variety was brought over to him by a sea captain who obtained a barrel of seed from the vicinity of Ghana...along with some people who knew what to do with it. It is not the rice paddy, swampy type of growing but a grain that can be grown in backyard gardens in a hill - hence the name hill rice. This variety of rice was lost when Carolina Gold became the commercial money maker, but recently a Gullah chef who was checking out the Caribbean for food ways discovered a backyard garden with hill rice growing in Trinidad! The gardener was the descendant of slaves who had grown it for themselves, not for the masters as they were into other rices. The Gullah chef was delighted as this was a direct connection to Africa. It's interesting to think there is a variety of rice that can really be grown right in your own garden!
     
  15. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Oh, we're going to Donna's house? Well, then, here's a little recipe that is best with hill rice (if it can be found somewhere!) as the hill rice is dry. Most recipes using Carolina Gold tend to be creamy - more like rice pudding or risotto.

    Holle’s Limpin’ Susan

    What you’ll need:

    3 tablespoons cooking oil
    1 large green bell pepper, diced or cut into strips
    1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 teaspoon cornstarch
    Salt, black pepper, and red pepper, to taste
    1 pound cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp
    1 cup boiled okra (optional)
    White or yellow rice, cooked

    Rest of the recipe at this delightful Gullah food website!

    http://bestamericanfood.net/limpin-susan/
     
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  16. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

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    In our area, wild rice is big.


    [​IMG]
     
  17. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    diane that is great recipe. We need to look for more rice recipes.
     
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  18. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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  19. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    Wild rice from the Great Lakes is different yet! It's a lovely grain, chewy texture and is soooo good with game meats. Very high in thiamine, too, and just does its thing wherever there's a swamp. Before they drained the marshes out in the eastern county, rice came up there volunteer but not as much as back east. Think the soil out here was too volcanic.
     
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  20. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

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  21. grace

    grace Corporal

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    I never knew African rice was a thing! Thank you for sharing this interesting topic.

    (I'm Asian and yes, please pass the white rice. None of this business with nasty brown or wild! *giggles)
     
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