Wild Rice

Zizania species Organic Wild Rice, Canada myfavouritepastime.com

  • Also called Canada Rice, Canadian Lake Wild Rice or Indian Rice.
  • Wild rice is an annual aquatic grass species that looks like rice and grows like rice, but belongs to a totally different species, in the genus Zizania. Rice belongs to the genus, Oryza. 
  • Historically, the grain was an important food to Native North Americans for centuries..
  • The dried whole grain is now a delicacy in North America, but due to low yields, it’s much more expensive than other grains.To reduce costs it’s often sold packaged, in combination with long grain white or brown rice, or Basmati.
  • The high quality, long. glossy, black-brown whole grains have a chewy outer sheath and a tender inner grain with a vegetal taste.
  • The whole grain “flowers” or bursts open, when fully cooked. The dark outer sheath retains a chewy texture.
  • The taste is delicious and nutty
  • Wild rice does not contain gluten and is very low in fat.
  • Two species Zizania palustris and Zizania aquatica are sold as wild rice.

Organic Wild Rice, Canada myfavouritepastime.com

Wild Rice Species Native to North America

  1. Zizania palustris  most commonly harvested and sold as wild rice. It’s grown commercially in the United States, in California and Minnesota, in paddy fields and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada. It’s the official state grain in Minnesota. It’s also produced in Hungary and Australia.
  2. Zizania aquatica is also sold as wild rice, but was eaten extensively in the past. It’s an annual aquatic plant growing in St Lawrence River and the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United states.It’s also found throughout most of Canada.
  3.  Zizania texana also called Texas wild rice is a perennial, rare grass species found along the San Marcos River in Central Texas. It’s endemic to Texas and the species is currently classified as endangered. The grains are not eaten. (see article here)
  4. The wild rice species, usually,  grow, submerged in shallow waters in small lakes and slow-flowing streams. often the flowering head rises above the water.

Production

Canadian Organic Wild Rice

  1. The annual production of wild rice can be quite variable; however, Saskatchewan is the major producer of wild rice (Zizania palustris) in Canada with an annual production of approximately 0.9 million kg, as compared with a total Canadian production of 1.36 million kg.
  2. In the United States, mainly in Minnesota and California, paddy wild rice is grown under commercial farming conditions where approximately 9 million kg is grown each year; in Minnesota there is a small-lake wild rice harvest of approximately 0.227 million kg each year.
  3. Saskatchewan’s naturally grown lake wild rice is marketed across North America and Europe, and is recognized as a premium product owing to its large kernel size, dark coloration, and nutty flavour.

Culinary Use

  1. A pound of wild rice provides about 15 servings.
  2. Wild rice is excellent in soups, salads, stuffings and pilafs or served with full flavoured poultry, meats, and other sauces.
  3. You can pop wild rice like popcorn.
  4. In the wild, the grain is also eaten by dabbling ducks and other aquatic animals.

Nutrition

  1. Wild rice is high in protein, second only to oats and the amino acid lysine and dietary fibre.
  2. It’s also a good source of B-vitamins, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium.

Cooking Wild Rice

  1. The ratio is 1 cup wild rice and about 3 cups water. Bring to the boil and simmer with a tight fitting lid for 35-50 minutes.
  2. When the rice is fully cooked the grains ‘flower’ or burst open. The outer, black sheath retains a chewy texture.
  3. 1 cup dried rice yields 3-4 cups cooked rice.

Storage

Organic Wild Rice, Canada myfavouritepastime.com

  1. Because the grains are low in fat, uncooked wild rice will keep for a very long time in an airtight container, in a cool dry place.
  2. Cooked rice can be stored for up to one week in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer

Want to Read More?

  1. The encyclopedia of Saskatchewan: Wild Rice 
  2. Manitoba Trade and Investment: Wild Rice 
  3. Whole grain council on wild rice
  4. How to cook wild rice:
  5. Wild Rice recipes:

More Rice Recipes

  1. Go wild: Wild Rice Soup Minnesota 

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

23 thoughts

  1. I love wild rice. I have been cooking wild rice for as long as I can remember, but I never really get a closer look; really close like the ones in the pictures. Wow! They look as if I’ve only seen them for the first time. Thanks for sharing these close up images, Liz as well as the history; great interesting facts. I’m glad that they produce them in Canada. ❤

    1. Thanks so much for reading and seeing the pictures. I really love the look of those grains. They are spectacular! Have a wonderful week!
      Liz

  2. I have always loved wild rice with celery and onion, especially mixed with dried bread cubes and herbs for a poultry stuffing. Have been using it for over fifty years, but only recently discovered a fantastic way to cook it. I put it into my Nissan Thermos vacuum bottle with boiling water and just leave it alone for a couple of hours. It is perfect to then add to any dish. Seems like when I boiled it, there was always a problem with getting all of the grains to open, but this method provides me with perfection!

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    1. Oh thanks so much for sharing your experience with wild rice. Like I said three previous times, I should get myself a Nissan Thermos. That’s a stress-free way of cooking .
      Vitrual Hugs!
      Liz

  3. It’s great stuff this wild rice. Great information Liz. I did not know it was not rice in the real sense of the word. In the past I’ve bought the packaged wild rice mixed with white rice and enjoyed it just as a side. One time I had some left over and added it to the stuffing in a chicken I roasted and it was quite nice. Almost a nutty taste and texture. I see that others have used it this way as well (recipes). Interesting post! I wonder, do we produce enough of this wild rice for overseas markets? Anyone know?

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Here is the information I found:
      The annual production of wild rice can be quite variable; however, Saskatchewan is the major producer of wild rice in Canada with an annual production of approximately 0.9 million kg, as compared with a total Canadian production of 1.36 million kg.
      Saskatchewan’s naturally grown lake wild rice is marketed across North America and Europe, and is recognized as a premium product owing to its large kernel size, dark coloration, and nutty flavour.

      Wild rice produced in Manitoba is known as Canadian Lake Wild Rice. There are two primary growing areas in Manitoba, one east of Lake Winnipeg in and around the Whiteshell area, and one in the northwest around The Pas and Flin Flon.
      Over the last decade, Manitoba’s share of Canada’s annual wild rice production has averaged around 25 percent.

      I shall be cooking more of wild rice and sharing more recipes
      It’s nice a warm. I am in a tee-shirt, the French doors are wide open and I’m breathing lots of fresh air for a change!!! Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
      Liz

      1. Now that was interesting! We produce a lot of wild rice, I didn’t know that. I’m very seriously considering trying an all plant challenge with no milk products or fats. Wild rice and brown rice play a big role in this type of meal preparation along with other whole grains and nuts and fruits and vegetables. I have a little more research to do but I’m willing to give it a try if it will help me rid myself of this horrid virus I seem to be susceptible to! I think I will have to do it for at least 6 weeks to see how things go and to get used to eating that way! Have you ever done that?

        1. I have never done an all plant challenge because I know I can’t do it. Anytime I eat vegetarian food I seem to get hungry faster but I think it’s more in my mind than in the stomach. My subconscious convinces me I can’t get full unless I eat meat….not true but I can’t seem to get if off my head. So I eat meat at least once a day. Please try it and let me know how it goes. Sorry to hear you still have that horrid virus lurking by. I hope you find a solution soon. Take care, Sandy and thanks so much for the chat!
          Liz

Please join the conversation.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s