China Black Rice

NEW for 2019

This variety was part of the trials I conducted this summer. It is a bit mysterious to me for a few reasons. Firstly, it was suggested that it is “Forbidden Black Rice” but due to patent rights that name had been taken, hence, my source, a rice farmer in South Carolina, calls it China Black. Secondly, I grew it as an upland type but I now suspect it is lowland, paddy rice. My conclusion for this comes from the fact that it yielded poorly compared to my other “true” upland types. It is very dwarf in stature (2 foot) and produced a huge number of tillers. Half of the tillers still had green rice when I finally decided to harvest on September 27th (123 days from transplanting). The grains themselves were beautiful and this plant experiences zero issues with lodging during heavy periods of rain. I would suggest that China Black would be better suited for regions with a longer growing season than Northern Indiana, and it may need to be grown in a paddy or at least, given more water than upland types.

Rice seeds should be soaked in water 24 hours before planting. I start my plants indoors in April in plug flats, 50’s and transplant into beds after the last frost date. I recommend not leaving plants in flats for more than three weeks as the starts will yellow easily and weaken when root-bound. Here in Northern Indiana, I plant my rice plugs the last week of May. At maturity the rice husks will turn to a golden brown and the rice seed inside will be hard.  I harvest in late September, cutting the whole plant and bundling into groups of 4. These bundles are then hung in my drying shed for a few weeks until the plant is fully dry. At this point threshing is easy by hand (pulling the grains off) or using a threshing machine. I use a treadle (foot) powered thresher. Rice has an inedible husk that needs to be removed before eating.   The most primitive way to accomplish this is by pounding the grains with a stick or mallet on a wood surface (tree stump) in order to loosen the husks. There are small rice dehullers available but very difficult to locate. Brill Engineering offers online tutorials on how to build a small dehuller using easy to locate “off the shelf” parts.

China Black Rice
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17 grams $4.50
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