Sunday, September 7, 2014

Carolina Gold Rice, A History

Carolina Gold rice, a long-grain rice of slender size and ambition, first surfaced in South Carolina just after our Revolution. Clean, sweet, and non-aromatic, it prospered in coastal Carolina and Georgia bogs and did its fluffy separate-grain thing in a traditional black iron hearth pot, or potje, complementing the African-style stews it attended. In colonial Charleston, African slave women hand-pounded and winnowed hulls from the rice grains with mortar, pestle, and fanner basket. The resulting rice, scrubbed golden white through abrasion, contained whole and broken grains, with germ and flecks of bran intact. Its flavor and texture were exquisite. Barely a long-grain rice by definition and nearly a medium-grain in its dimension and diversity of cooking application, Carolina Gold had attributes substantial enough to appeal to a broad international market.

The Civil War brought the culture and cuisine of Charleston to its knees, and though Carolina Gold continued to set quality standards for American rice into the 20th century, it ultimately lost ground to new varieties and became, after the Depression, virtually extinct. In the mid-1980s, a plantation owner from Savannah collected stores of Carolina Gold from a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) seed bank and repatriated the rice to its former home along the coastal wetlands south of Charleston. Anson Mills began growing heirloom Carolina Gold for research in 1998 and today has organic rice fields in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Texas.

More @ Anson Mills

8 comments:

  1. I like rice and I am going to have to find a supplier for this, it sounds like a good rice to use as a stuffing and as a complement to game dishes.

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    1. I checked the prices and if you eat it 3 times a day like the Asians it would be too expensive. Double and more.

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  2. I like Rice Brock, but don't eat it three times a day, I may eat it two or three times a week, my last name is Cederquist (Swedish) not Dong or Phec or Tanaka. It still sounds like a good rice dish every once and while...

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    1. :) When I'm in Vietnam I eat it twice a day, but not here. Long grain white rice, but Zatarain's makes some good mixtures. Try them if you haven't They come in 12 ounce boxes.

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  3. Vietnam is one place I would love to go to, I was just a little too young to go during the war. I do eat Zatarains, I love the Red Beans and Rice and get a good kalbasa (sp) sausage and cook them together, I am in hog (polish hog) heaven..

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  4. Looks like that article from the Star-Ledger sent you down a research hole. :) I don't claim to have a sophisticated palate myself, but it would be interesting to do some comparison tastings of Carolina Gold Rice against modern varieties.

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    1. :) Yes, I might ask Lowe's here if they would order it. They carry peeled garlic, so maybe they will.

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