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Wild rice
Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation
Nutrition Chart


Why Eat It

Wild rice has quite a different nutritional profile from other types of rice; which is not surprising, since it's not really a true rice, but the seed of a grass from a completely different botanical family. Wild rice has more protein than either brown or white rice (although since it's more expensive, the serving size is usually smaller) and also supplies good amounts of potassium, zinc, folate (folic acid) and fiber.

Wild rice has a rich, nutlike flavor, and its slender grains (when properly cooked, and not overcooked) are pleasantly chewy; they can be used in poultry stuffing and salads as well as in side dishes.

Varieties

In the past, wild rice was harvested by Native Americans, who gathered the rice by hand from its natural habitat--the lakes of the upper Midwest and southern Canada. Today, most of the wild rice on the market is cultivated in paddies. Although most is grown in Minnesota, some wild rice is cultivated in Northern California, Idaho, and on the East Coast. Today's cultivated wild rice has been improved, thanks to agricultural research, and is more insect- and disease-resistant.

Availability

Wild rice is available all year round, although it's often more prominently displayed around Thanksgiving. If your supermarket doesn't carry wild rice, try a gourmet shop.

Shopping

Wild rice comes in boxes or bags, which should be tightly sealed. Be sure that the package is not dusty or damaged.

Storage

Keep wild rice in its original package until you open it, then transfer it to a canister, jar or other container with a tight lid. Store it at cool room temperature for several months, or keep the rice in the refrigerator for longer storage.

Preparation

The fact that wild rice expands to about four times its volume when cooked partially offsets its high price. The rice should be cooked until its dark-colored, slender grains puff and split open partway, exposing the pale interior.

Rinse wild rice well before cooking it to remove any chaff or debris. Place the rice in a colander and hold it under cold running water until the water runs clear.

Use a 1-to-3 ratio of rice to water or broth. Bring the liquid to a boil in a large saucepan, then add the rice, salt, and any seasonings. Finely chopped onion, garlic, and carrots can also be cooked along with the rice for fuller flavor. Cook 40 to 60 minutes, or until the grains of rice are puffed. Pour off any excess liquid. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

To further offset the cost of wild rice, cook it along with brown rice or toss with cooked white rice. Serve wild rice as a side dish or stuffing for poultry.

Nutrition Chart

Wild Rice/1/2 cup cooked

83
Total fat (g)
0.3
Saturated fat (g)
0
Monounsaturated fat (g)
0
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
0.2
Dietary fiber (g)
1.5
3.3
Carbohydrate (g)
18
Cholesterol (mg)
0
Sodium (mg)
3


Date Published: 04/21/2005
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