Harvest season in the fall isn’t just for pumpkins and traditional farm produce.

In the Upper Midwest, it is also the harvest time for wild rice.

 

It Really Isn’t Rice

This tasty grain isn’t really rice, it just looks similar and shares a name but that’s where the similarities cease.

Because wild rice is actually the seed a grass plant.

Considered a gift from the creator, the legend among native peoples is that they followed a prophecy to find this aquatic grass in the waters around Lake Superior.

It is Minnesota’s official state grain.

While one species of wild rice is grown in Asia, the remaining branches of the family are found in North America.

And it is the only cereal grain native to North America.

 

May I Have This Dance?

Wild rice ripens in late summer, August to early September.

Ancient harvesters of this food removed the husks from the grain by “dancing” on it in special moccasins.

This grain was so imporant to the Menominee tribes of

Minnesota that they became known as the Wild Rice people.

 

The Darker The Grain, The Longer It Takes To Cook

Traditionally grown wild in lakes and rivers, modern cultivation and farming technqiues has made this tasty addition to our tables much easier and a bit less expensive than years past.

The color of the wild rice grain ranges from ebony black to brownish tan.

The darker the color of the grain, the longer it will take to cook.

Although it is a bit more pricey, than white or brown rice, wild rice quadruples when cooked which means you get more volume from a smaller amount of rice.

 

A Great Companion Food and Main Dish

Wild rice pairs well with many foods.

Add interest and contrast with pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, and mushrooms, just to name a few ways to provide a bounty of both volume, nutrition, and taste to your meals.

Don’t be shy about giving this grain a go.

It’s not just for holidays or special occasions.

You’ll find it on just about any grocery store shelf year round.

Bring some history as well as solid nutrition and great flavor to your table tonight.

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