More than half of the world’s population is dependent upon rice as a food staple. It is a nutritious, versatile, and affordable staple that can be made into a variety of cuisines across the globe. Many cultures have grown and harvested rice but archaeological evidence shows that rice was first grown in China at least 9,400 years ago. Did you know that in cool temperatures, rice can be sealed and stored in airtight containers for up to 30 years?

There are many thoughts on the proper way to cook rice, from absorption, steaming, and boiling, but the correct method often depends on the type of rice you are cooking. Along with varieties of rice, there are also ‘versions’ like polished, par boiled, instant, brown and wild. To learn more about the ‘versions,’ take a look at the Whole Foods Guide to Rice, and make sure to check out Whole Kids Foundation’s Better Bites on how brown rice supports better health.

If you are looking for ways to take your rice to the next level, dive into some of our favorite recipes that spotlight this pantry staple. Consider building a healthy rice bowl like our simple Bowl of Goodness, a versatile dish that allows you to use whatever ingredients you have on hand. If you are in a hurry, you can also use frozen ingredients or leftover vegetables for this simple fried rice recipe.

Travel the world with your cuisine by heading to Louisiana with this Easy Southern Sausage Beans and Rice,visit Thailand with Thai Lime Coconut Chicken and Rice, or make a stopover to Japan with this easy sushi recipe. An Indian staple like this Chana Masala is great served over rice, as is our fun take on curry with the Crazy Curry Bowl, a recipe designed with kids in mind through a collaboration with our friends at the Culinary Institute of America.

If you’re in need of a sweet treat after all of those savory dishes, try this Coconut Forbidden Rice Pudding.