Rice Bran
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Rice Bran, also known as Brown Rice Bran, makes up two of the layers of the Rice Grain (the Germ and the Bran). Rice Bran is the layer below the outer Husk and before the familiar inner white Grain--between the inner white rice grain and the outer hull. Technically, Rice Bran is the harder outer layer made up of the Aleurone and the Pericarp.

Rice Bran is the distinguishing feature differentiating White Rice from Brown Rice. Brown Rice retains its Rice Bran and White Rice has had the Rice Bran removed. Along with the germ, the bran is an integral part of the “whole” Grain and the reason that Brown Rice is so much more nutritionally dense.

Rice Bran should not be confused with chaff from the Rice. Chaff is a coarser scaly material that surrounds the grain but does not form a part of the grain itself.

Season

Rice Bran is a byproduct of Rice production and as such does not have a “season” per se. Rice is generally sown in the Spring and harvested in the Summer.

Cultivation

The growth of Rice Bran is inexorably linked to the farming of Rice. To learn about Rice Cultivation, see the General Rice Resource for broad Rice cultivation information.

Production

Because Rice Bran is produced as a byproduct of Rice, the initial phases of Rice Bran production are covered in Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource under the Production section.

Once the Rice is harvested, dried, collected, etc. some Rice Grains are designated as Brown Rice and are ready for packaging. The bulk of the Rice Grains will be milled further and become White Rice. Rice Bran is created as a byproduct of the milling process to transform Brown Rice to White Rice. The mill’s rollers remove and separate the Rice Bran from the Rice Grain. Brown Rice retains its Rice Bran, White Rice has had it removed.

Rice Bran is also useful in some areas in the production process as a fuel source to actually run the Rice Mill itself. 

Purchasing

Though it is sold mostly in health food stores and Specialty Grocery Stores, Rice Bran has become something of a commodity. The biggest differentiator between different brands is whether the product is “stabilized” (heat treated so that the Rice Bran Oil won’t easily go Rancid) or un-stabilized and if the product is domestic or foreign. Domestic products will presumably have had safer handling than product imported from countries with less stringent food-handling laws.

Storage

The high oil content of unstabilized Rice bran makes it subject to becoming rancid. Store un-stabilized Rice Bran in an airtight container, in the refrigerator or freezer, for up to one year. Stabilized Rice Bran should do fine a cool dark place, in an airtight container, for about a year as well. We usually hedge our bets and store all Rice Bran in the refrigerator just to be safe.

Culinary Uses

Essentially, Rice Bran is most commonly used as a natural food additive that imparts extra nutrition and Dietary Fiber. For example, Rice Bran (or any Bran at all) can easily be added to smoothies, Cereals, Granolas, Muesli, Muffins (like Smart Kitchen’s Apple Bran Muffins), Breads (like Smart Kitchen’s Bran Bread), or other baked goods. The addition of Rice Bran is often described as “enriching” the base product.

Rice Bran is also widely used as a major component of livestock feed as a feed cake or as an additive. For example, it is sometimes fed to horses as a nutrient-dense, plant-based food additive and weight gainer. Rice Bran is used in a similar way in some dog foods for older dogs.

Nutritional Value

1 cup (118 g)

Calories 373

Calories from Fat 206

Total Fat 25 g 38%

Saturated Fat 5 g 25%

Cholesterol 0 mg 0%

Sodium 6 mg 0%

Total Carbohydrate 59 g 20%

Dietary Fiber 25 g 99%

Sugars 1 g

Protein 16 g

Vitamin A 0%

Vitamin C 0%

Calcium 7%

Iron 122%

Nutrition

While comprising just 8% of the total weight of the Rice grain, Rice Bran (which includes the germ) actually contains 60% of the Rice’s nutrients. Rice Bran is low fat, low calorie, a good source of Essential Fatty Acids, Dietary Fiber, (Beta-Glucan, Pectin and Gum), Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. Rice Bran also contains significant quantities of Protein.

On the negative side, Rice Bran contains Phytic Acid, which is an anti-nutrient that prevents nutrient absorption. Some research suggests there is inorganic Arsenic (a toxin and carcinogen) present in Rice Bran that may be 20% higher than in drinking water. Other Brans contain less arsenic and have similar nutritional benefits.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes