A distant cousin of regular rice, wild rice (Zinzania palustris) is a cool climate water grass that traditionally grew in shallow lakes and marshes in the Great Lakes area and upper Minnesota (it’s Minnesota’s official state grain). For at least 2500 years, Native Americans harvested its seeds in canoes powered by long poles, using beater sticks to knock the ripe seeds into the bottom of their canoes. Most wild rice these days is cultivated and grown in paddies in California. However, you can still buy “wild” wild rice. For example, uncultivated Minnesota wild rice must by law be harvested in the traditional Native American way, and only by those licensed to do so. In Read More, we list where you can buy it online.
Wild rice has a firm, chewy texture and nutty flavour and is a good source of ﬁber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6, and niacin. It takes longer to cook than regular rice – up to 50 minutes. One cup of uncooked wild rice yields 3–4 cups cooked. You can also pop wild rice, like popcorn. Just heat it in a little oil and shake until it pops.