Players may be growing heartily tired of this subject, but when my Character set as many Wonderfuls as possible into her Sickle to harvest her Rice and thereby obtained hundreds of Reaped Rice that was S Rank, I became rather excited and tried to discover how best to capitalise on it.
Well, in fact, the value of the Reaped Rice IS less than that of threshed Rice or Cooked Rice, but that's as far as it goes. Bear in mind the fact that Freya's Harvest wasn't quite perfect but represented the following values:
S Rank, Quality 9 1/2, Size 10, Freshness 10
Unfortunately, she was unable to leave it in the paddy another day as the entire harvest would have died on her had she done so... Perhaps in another game in another year...?
Anyway, the value of this Rice when shipped untouched as 'Reaped Rice' would have been:
S Rank Reaped Rice: 483G
When threshed into 'Rice', it would be:
S Rank Rice (raw): 626G
When threshed, then cooked to become 'Rice':
S Rank Rice (cooked): 626G
When cooked to created Rice Soup, a single-ingredient Recipe:
S Rank Rice Soup: 626G
Now, here is where Freya became slightly disheartened in her Quest to boost the values of her Rice through cooking.
Porridge, Vaughn's Most Favourite Gift, is made with Rice and Milk. Freya, having S Rank Milk and S Rank Rice, thought this would be the best opportunity to make S Rank Porridge. It was, in fact, for the purposes of displaying the best result in the Shipping List, but not in terms of making a profit.
S Rank Porridge: 928G
This value LOOKS good on the surface, but when you break down the values of the ingredients, they represent almost the same result if you shipped them separately:
S Rank Rice: 626G
S Rank Milk: 300G
This is as it should be as Sunshine Islands is supposed to compute the values of the actual ingredients that are used in any Recipe and reflect those values in the total. However...
I have written previously about the profit made by using your Cheese Maker in almost any Harvest Moon game. In Sunshine Islands, it is by far the best use of your Milk in terms strictly of financial profit.
S Rank Cheese: 900G
If you took the Milk, converted into Cheese and then shipped it, and shipped the portion of Rice that would have been used in the Porridge as well, you would have the following values:
S Rank Cheese at 900G + S Rank Rice at 626G = 1526G
The moral of this tale is, where your intention is to make a profit by shipping your items, any Milk always is best converted into Cheese and then shipped.
Cheese, Cheese, Glorious Cheese... no better friend to a rancher!
There are many other reasons for Cooking apart from shipping values, however. Porridge and other Dishes using either Milk or even Cheese will have a FAR higher Energy Value than Milk or Cheese consumed raw... Furthermore, you do need to ship every Cooked Dish at least once to complete your Shipping List.
Where Energy Recovery is concerned, however, I always try to use Cooked Dishes with high energy values but low shipping values. Pudding always is a favourite with players because it packs good energy values, and I confess that I like it myself, BUT a Basic Pudding requires 1 Egg and 1 Milk. You would do better to convert the Milk to Cheese and ship it and find another Cooked Dish to take its place as your Packed Lunch.
In fact, I use Steamed Egg Custard often as it has high energy values but requires only 1 Mushroom, either 'normal' or 'Cluster' and 1 Egg. I did make a possible error in my initial game file by converting all my Mushrooms into Energy resources such as Grileld Mushrooms, Foiled Mushrooms and Steamed Egg Custard instead of shipping 100 of them as early as possible to unlock a Pig. I am not certain it really was an error, however, as your Character NEEDS easy cheap Cooked Dishes desperately in the first year and Mushrooms are a wonderful resource for Cooking. Eggs are another and a Fried Egg has decent energy values, but the Steamed Egg Custard really is one of the best Cooked Dishes in terms of cost and energy value. Eggs are not very valuable and Chickens are easy to obtain. The most costly part of THAT equation is the cost of the Chicken Coop expansions, Feed Boxes and Incubators.
Sashimi is another good Dish as are all the single-ingredient Fish Dishes, but your problem there in the first year is that you will be obliged to do a vast amount of Fishing before you ever catch your first Medium Fish and even more to raise your Skills sufficiently to catch Large Fish. Medium Fish are the ones that prompt most of the Fish Recipes and are required ingredients in most of them as well.
Here are the shipping values for a run-of-the-mill Steamed Egg Custard and Sashimi:
Steamed Egg Custard: (Rank A, quality 9 ½, Size 5 ½, Freshness 9 ½): 278G
Sashimi (1 Medium, 1 Large Fish, Rank A, Quality 9 ½, Size 7,Freshness 9): 238G
Shipping values are nowhere near those of 1 Cheese.
One final point with respect to the Reaped Rice that Freya had in her possession. In this situation, if you wish to store it, unless you have a Mythic Refrigerator, make certain that you do not thresh it or cook it until you actually need to use it in a Recipe. It will retain its Rank, Quality, Size and Freshness far longer in the Cabinet than in the Refrigerator.
I need to confirm whether or not the quantity of (uncooked) Rice or Reaped Rice that you ship in any given year has any effect whatsoever on number of Rice Balls that you are given at the Rice Festival. Not that you need a large quantity of Rice Balls... I rather suspect that the quantity simply increases slightly each year independently. It would be interesting to discover whether or not the Rice Festival actually would fail to occur if, having been unlocked in a previous year, you neither planted, nor harvested, nor shipped ANY Rice in the Autumn of the current year... Unfortunately, Freya immediately shipped her S Rank Rice to gain sufficient profit to place another Sun Stone in her Greenhouse, so it is too late to test the effects had she shipped NO Rice. It would be far too exhausting and tedious to play 'temporarily' through three seasons in the next year without planting any Rice to see if the Rice Festival still occurred near the end of Autumn, but if any player has failed to plant Rice after unlocking the Rice Festival and the Festival still occurred with the same dialogues as usual, do let me know.