#BlackHistoryEats / Day 24 / Rice
- There are only two species of rice in the world; African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian rice (Oryza sativa) -- sadly, the African species is beginning to become extinct in many parts of West African and being replaced by Oryza sativa.
- African rice was first grown in the central Niger delta, and later in the Gambia, Casamance, and Sokoto basins.
- There are still some places where African rice is grown in West Africa, but it is often reserved for restaurants and religious rituals
- Rice has been cultivated in West Africa for at least 3000 years. During the 1700s, white colonizers in South Carolina and Georgia specifically stole Africans from West African (especially, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Angola, and Liberia) to farm and cultivate rice because they didn't know how to. It was African women who knew the ins and outs of water irrigation and how to prevent the rice plants from flooding; they were experts in a
- The Gullah people of South Carolina (my husband's people!) are direct descendants from the enslaved Africans who brought rice cultivation to the United States
- Both African and Asian rice are complex carbohydrates (mostly sugar)
- When cultivated, African rice is traditionally courser which means most of the nutrients are remained intact (as opposed to Asian rice)
- Rice is one of the most versatile grains and can be used in substitution or conjunction with other cereal grains such as millet, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, kamut, etc. There is no difference in usage between African and Asian rice.
- West Africa's Mandingo and Susu people use rice flour to make bread for religious rituals
- Rice is also popularly fermented into beer (called betso or buza in West Africa)