Wild rice is an epicurean delight, and high in nutritive value. Scientific studies confirmed that wild rice is rich in niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.
It contains more high-quality protein than wheat, and only 65 calories per half cup serving.
First nations inhabiting the land around lakes in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Michigan, North Dakota, and Wyoming may not have been aware of health benefits of the wild rice, but they certainly knew about its taste and texture. First Nation “farmers” have been gathering this fully natural, nutritious product since time immemorial, and North American and European chefs discovered its versatility and exotic appeal.
Wild rice is a wild aquatic grass called zinzania aquatica, and grows in teh wilderness lakes of cold regions.
First nation gatherers harvested it entirely by hand, navigating in their canoes between the tall grasses and shaking stalks into their boats. Losses of grains falling into the water were large, and the product precious.
Once harvested, the grains were dried over wood fires lightly and rubbed to remove the hulls and winnowed clean.
Wild rice ripens over time, and must be harvested accordingly often up to eight times.
Michigan and California operate “cultivated” wild rice acreage and harvest the product by means of specially designed harvesters.
Connoisseurs claim the taste of “cultivated” wild rice inferior to the natural. The former is much less expensive.
Properly dried wild rice has a very long shelf life in a cool and dry place.
This versatile food can be sued in salads, main courses and desserts. There are very few more versatile foodstuffs than wild rice.
Fancy Canada Gourmet Grain, Whole Grain and Best Broken Grain are the official Canadian grades and available in 100, 250, 500 gram and I and 22.5 Kg packages in fine gourmet shops.
Wild rice salad
Yield 4 portions
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
250 ml cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
2 toamatoes, diced
2 red apples, dice
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 stalk of celery, diced
salt and pepper to taste
Wash 1/2 a cup of wild rice well, and pour into 1-1/2 cups of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
Uncover, fluff with a fork and cook on low five more minutes. Drain excess water and cool.
Mix all ingredients except shrimps and mayonnaise if not using. (If you decide to use mayonnaise add it now).
Plate salad and sprinkle shrimps.
Wild rice dessert
Yield: 4 portions
124 ml wild rice (for cooking instructions see above recipe)
125 ml. brown sugar
125 ml chopped dates
125 ml chopped nuts (unsalted)
Boil rice in 500ml of water. Proceed as above.
Mix all ingredients, and serve with cubed melons, or pineapples, whipped cream or over vanilla ice cream.