Kermes rice is a red, moderately-long grain heirloom rice variety native to China’s eastern Hebei province. Sold unpearled (whole grain), this rice has a chewy texture, a nutty flavor, and more than twice the amino acid content of more common varieties.
Though kermes rice has been cultivated for over three centuries in Hebei, it fell out of favor during China’s Cultural Revolution due to its lower than average yields. In fact, farming it was made illegal by the provincial government during this period. This led to it becoming a very obscure variety that has only recently been rediscovered and saved from extinction.
Though the word “kermes” refers to a type of similarly-colored natural dye, this rice’s beautiful clay color is natural and it contains no added ingredients.