The Lion Brand Jasmine New Crop 2018 Rice has arrived and ready for sale!
But what's the fuss about? What is the difference between new crop and old crop rice?
For the most part, aromatic rices (like Jasmine Rice) taste best when it is fresh. Jasmine rice has a distinct fragrance reminiscent of pandan-leaves and popcorn, which is the result of natural aromatic compounds of the rice plant. The key aromatic compound producing these flavour notes is a 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP). Because this compound is present at a relatively low concentration, it can be easily lost due to dissipation. The concentration of 2-AP is reduced over the course of months in regular storage and packaging, which leads to connoisseurs to seek out the freshly harvested new crop jasmine rice.
Thus it is important to try to preserve the 2-AP content of rice, and also to consume as close to harvest as possible to maximise the aromatics and flavour.
In addition to the flavour of rice, the texture also alters with ageing. As rice sits and ages (in the warehouse or in the kitchen cabinet) its cooked texture gets progressively firmer and less sticky. In some cultures, this texture is preferable. In fact in the Himalayan region where basmati rice is produced, the rice must be aged for several months before cooking. In contrast, Japanese prize freshly harvested rice when the grains are sticky and soft.
The reasons for the textural change in rice due to aging are very complex (we will investigate this in a later post) however (on a very simple basis) old crop rice has limited water penetration and starch leakage, leading to an increased firmness and reduced stickiness in the cooked rice texture. New crop rice requires less water and cooking time, with a softer stickier texture.
The Short Version
New Crop Rice: Aromatic and flavourful with a softer, stickier texture.
Old Crop Rice: Less aromatic with a firm, dry texture when cooked.
Yoshihashi T N, Huong N T T, Surojanametakul V, Tungtrakul P, Varanyanond W (2005). Journal of Food Science, 70: S34–S37
Effect of storage conditions on 2-acetyl-lpyrroline content in aromatic rice variety, Khao Dawk Mali 105.
Goufo, P., Duan, M., Wongpornchai, S. et al. Front. Agric. China (2010) 4: 1.
Some factors affecting the concentration of the aroma compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline in two fragrant rice cultivars
Z. Zhou, K. Robards, S. Helliwell and C. Blanchard Journal of Cereal Science
Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2002, Pages 65-78
Ageing of Stored Rice: Changes in Chemical and Physical Attributes
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