You probably haven't given rice much thought. It's just a cooking staple with a permanent spot in your pantry, right? Wrong: Rice has an incredibly long history (with documentation of people eating it as early as 2500 B.C.), and some of its details are fascinating. Here, seven facts you probably didn't know about rice.
1. The Great Wall of China is held together with sticky rice. If you've ever tried to remove caked-on rice from the bottom of a pot, you know how strong it can be. While the Great Wall was being built during the Ming dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries, workers used a porridge made with rice along with calcium carbonate as a mortar to hold the wall's stones together.
2. Rice is good for years—unless it's brown. Uncooked white rice will stay fresh and edible for anywhere between 10 and 30 years (depending on how it is stored). But uncooked brown rice has a shelf life of just three to six months because the bran coating will oxidize.