White rice is the world’s “default” rice. It is generally what is meant whenever a recipe calls for rice, or whenever someone says rice. In fact, it remains the most preferred rice in the world, east and west, just as it has always been.
To make rice white, it is first hulled, then the kernels are polished or scoured to remove the bran and the germ. The rice will then cook faster, be more tender, and have a cleaner, lighter taste.
Brown rice is nutritionally superior, and it is for that reason that nutritionists now promote its consumption over white rice. However, it is important to remember that removing the bran and the germ, which can go rancid, also gives white rice a far longer storage life. Historically, that was a very important factor in the lives of ordinary people when just having anything on hand to feed the family was a critical survival factor. In marginal subsistence households, finding that one’s rice supply had gone rancid could be a disaster.
Many brands of white rice sold now are enriched to restore some of the nutrients — just as white flour is enriched.
The opposite of white rice is “brown rice.”
Store in a sealed container indefinitely.