Short, Medium, and Long Grain Rice Vary in Use and Starch Profile

long grain rice Rice is, technically, grass seed! It is the most widely consumed food staple in the world. Rice is a dietary starch, as are maize and potatoes. There are nearly innumerable commercially available rice varieties—more than 40,000. One means of classifying rice varieties is by grain length. Rice of varying grain lengths vary also in starch profiles. Perhaps the most popular rice in the Western World is long grain rice.

Starch Profile versus Grain Length

Long grain rice features grains about four to five times as long as they are wide. Long grain rice is sometimes sold as brown rice. However, it is frequently milled or polished to remove the bran. It is then sold as white rice. What is the long grain rice starch profile? The two most important starches are amylose and amylopectin.

long grain rice Rice that is long grain tends to maintain grain separateness. This is partly due to the primary variety of starch in the grain. The two most important starches are amylose and amylopectin. In long grain rice, amylose predominates. Why does this make such a difference?

Long Grain Rice Features Amylose

long grain rice Amylose starch consists of hundreds to thousands of linearly (end-to-end) connected D-glucose rings. The linear structure possesses a helical twist. The length and linearity of the amylose chain decreases its solubility in water and the penetrability of water into the rice grain. So long grain rice does not swell much. Also, gelation is lower than it would be if amylopectin were the predominant starch.


;long grain riceAmylopectin is shorter in length and branched. It is more water-soluble than amylose and subject to a greater degree of gelation. It occurs in greater measure in medium and especially in short grain rice. Thus short grain rice is well suited for moist, soft, and creamy rice dishes such as Italian risottos.

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One thought on “Short, Medium, and Long Grain Rice Vary in Use and Starch Profile

  • I have eaten a lot of rice in my time, both rice pudding (short grain rice) and rice dishes (long grain rice) but I never realised before it was the ability of the rice to absorb water that made the difference.

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