Wild rice is a truly indigenous Canadian food that has been growing in the boreal forest for centuries. Wild rice is not the same plant we commonly refer to as rice. Wild rice in Canada is Zizania palutris, an aquatic water grass that grows in the lakes of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It has become commercialized and is now also grown on aquatic farms in California as well as harvested from Canada’s natural lakes.

Wild rice contains twice as much protein as brown rice. It is low in calories and high in fibre with a more chewy texture than rice. One cup of cooked wild rice contains only 165 calories and 6.5 grams of protein.  It is high in vitamins and minerals. Wild rice does not contain gluten. Personally I would find it difficult to eat a whole cup of wild rice. It’s so dense.

Wild rice is often sold in grocery stores mixed with regular rice. This is a bad idea because wild rice requires a much longer cooking time and more water than regular rice. I now realize that I’ve fed quite a few people uncooked wild rice.  No harm in that, but under cooked rice is likely to give you a little fibre and no nutrients.   Instructions for cooking wild rice recommend  three to four  cups water for each cup of  wild rice and a cooking time of thirty to sixty minutes. I have had success with using three cups water and cooking for forty five minutes. If in doubt err on the side of extra water and extra cooking time.

Uncooked Wild Rice

Fully Cooked Wild Rice

Once cooked the wild rice  pops open, a little like popcorn. If it looks like the grain, it’s not cooked. One cup of raw  wild rice turns to about three cups cooked.

It’s easy to freeze the cooked wild rice in small portions and then mix it with  rice or other grains into any recipe.




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