Rice-ing to the Occasion: Mama Sita Foundation’s Heirloom Grains Project

Rice-ing to the Occasion: Mama Sita Foundation’s Heirloom Grains Project

The Cordillera Rice Terraces are a sight to behold; cascading steps of rice paddies—seemingly carved into the mountain slopes—encourage surprise and amazement on the capabilities of human creativity. For generations, the upland farming communities have lived their lives punctuated by the rhythm of the rice: they mark the years in sowing and harvesting, in addition to in celebrating feasts. It’s the celebration of a sustainable and easy rural livelihood.

A variety of grains grown in the Cordillera Mountains, but what are these, exactly?
Quite a lot of grains grown within the Cordillera Mountains, however what are these, precisely?

The ever-curious are most likely asking by now: what sort of rice do they develop? Why none aside from heirloom rice.

Heirloom rice

Legend spoke of heirloom rice as a present by the deities, and these require a sure vigilance to domesticate. They’ll solely develop within the circumstances developed from a few years of reaping and sowing, which is probably why the agriculture behind it’s steeped within the individuals’s people practices, from rituals for making ready the soil to the harvest feasts.

At first look, the heirloom rice varieties are available a variety of colours, from deep purple to rust pink, and have a pleasing chew. Barely milled to indicate off the colour of the bran and hold the nuttiness of taste, they’re generally used to make rice wine (tapuy) and kakanin desserts. However nutritionally and gustatorily talking, a deeper examination proves the advantage of those grains.

Examples of the different colors and lengths of grain grown in the province.
Examples of the completely different colours and lengths of grain grown within the province.

Meet the grains

Balatinaw is grown in Bauko, Mountain Province, and has a deep purple grain with a pleasant fruity taste and chewy texture. It’s usually utilized in making tapuy, however it may be cooked into kakanin as nicely. Balatinaw has many micronutrients, greater than industrial rice (right here which means jasmine rice, IR 64, and Azucena). It accommodates thrice extra iron and 4 occasions extra calcium than jasmine rice. It has twice the quantity of zinc in IR 64 and thrice the quantity of potassium in Azucena rice.

Minaangan is a rust-red rice that has an earthy, considerably nutty taste and a pleasing chew. The rice is commonly served within the farmers’ properties within the municipalities of Banaue, Hingnon, and Hungduan in Ifugao. Minaangan accommodates thrice as a lot manganese and twice as a lot phosphorus as IR 64 and Azucena rice. It has thrice extra iron than industrial rice.

Ominio comes from Ifugao and Mountain Province. It’s associated to balatinaw, however has come to be differentiated by the stickiness of the grain. It’s extra of a glutinous rice used for rice desserts. Its nice chew and fruity taste go nicely with a scrumptious aroma, making it tougher to develop these grains with out fixed vigilance to maintain animals from consuming them earlier than they’re ripe for the harvest.

Like the opposite forms of heirloom rice, ominio is wealthy in micronutrients, possessing twice the quantity of manganese in Azucena rice, thrice the calcium of business rice, thrice the potassium, phosphorus, and manganese of IR 64, and 4 occasions the iron in jasmine rice.

A bundle of grain, ready to be dehusked.
A bundle of grain, able to be dehusked.

Minimal milling

Of us within the upland communities want to mill their rice minimally, which means they solely take away the husk however hold the bran and germ intact. Not solely does this protect the distinctive taste of the grains, nevertheless it additionally retains helpful micronutrients, principally concentrated within the rice bran and germ.

With taste and vitamin as prime causes for preserving and selling the heirloom rice varieties within the north, the Mama Sita Basis arrange Mama Sita’s Heirloom Grains Undertaking.

The mission seeks to search out methods to make heirloom grains extra accessible to the common shopper, serving to them recognize the flavors handed on for generations up within the mountainous Cordilleras. The mission additionally seeks to assist the upland farmers in preserving their livelihood sustainable.

Rice grains being pounded in preparation to be made into food.
Rice grains being pounded in preparation to be made into meals.


One solution to promote heirloom rice is to create a necessity for these valuable grains by combining them with a neighborhood favourite. Mama Sita’s Heirloom Rice Champorado in Balatinaw, Minaangan, and Ominio variants makes heirloom rice a key ingredient to a favourite dish, the chocolate porridge champorado.

Combining the rice with pure cacao tablea from Mindanao and sugar from Negros, the mission can create a product that brings collectively the richness of harvests from the three main island teams within the Philippines. The heirloom rice champorado is a Filipino artisanal product to be really pleased with.

Heirloom grains from the northern mountains, tablea from Mindanao, and sugar from Negros come together to make a delicious bowl of champorado.
Heirloom grains from the northern mountains, tablea from Mindanao, and sugar from Negros come collectively to make a scrumptious bowl of champorado.

The Mama Sita Basis is continually searching for methods to convey Filipino culinary heritage to the fore. By the Heirloom Grains Undertaking, the inspiration advocates preserving the upland rice varieties and preserving the tradition that maintains them sustainably. On the identical time, it’s a good way to boost consciousness in phrases and in every satisfying spoonful.


Grain High quality and Nutrient Analyses of Heirloom Rice – Division of Agriculture, Bureau of
Agricultural Analysis, Worldwide Rice Analysis Institute, Philippine Rice Analysis Institute, and the Heirloom Rice Undertaking of the DA and IRRI. 27 October 2016

The Mama Sita’s Heirloom Rice Champorado is accessible in all shops on-line for Metro Manila prospects. For extra data on Mama Sita’s Heirloom Rice Champorado and its variants, go to https://www.mamasitafoundation.com/news. For extra data on the Heirloom Grains Undertaking, go to https://fb.watch/21qqOErNJc/.

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