On cold winter nights like the ones currently taking hold of the Midwest, wild rice soup makes for a warm and enticing comfort meal. Besides this, what else do you know about wild rice? For starters it is well-regarded for its rich and nutty flavors, but did you know that wild rice can be delicious in desserts? Or that wild rice is packed with protein? Take a look at these more surprising—and enticing—facts about wild rice.
- Wild rice is not actually rice. In fact, wild rice is a water-grown grass seed. You can also find it as “water oats,” “Canada rice,” and “Indian rice.”
- Wild rice can keep indefinitely. If you keep it in a covered container in a cool, dry place, wild rice will keep forever. Cooked, drained, and sealed wild rice will keep in the fridge for one week, while you can freeze it for up to six months.
- While harvested mainly in the U.S. and Canada, Minnesota produces a majority of the millions of pounds of wild rice a year.
- There exists an official way to harvest uncultivated wild rice. Check out our Wild Rice Country: A History of Harvesting blog for more information.
- Wild rice is an important crop in Minnesota. In fact, wild rice is the official state grain of our state.
- This grain has played a vital role in the history of the region. As an excellent source of protein, wild rice was a staple crop in the diet of Chippewa and Sioux Native Americans.
- Wild rice is also an abundant source of protein for wildlife in the region. Both fish and waterfowl benefit from the many nutrients of wild rice. These nutrients include riboflavin, which is a B vitamin that promotes healthy vision, boosts energy levels, boosts immune system function, and preventing a variety of health ailments ranging from migraine headaches to cervical cancer. Wild rice also contains healthy doses of the minerals magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc.
- With a little oil, heat and a shake, you can pop wild rice just like popcorn.
- Wild rice is a surprisingly versatile grain that works in a variety of recipes. Take a look at some of our favorite new recipes that include:
- Wild rice crusted salmon
- Portobello mushroom stuffed with California wild rice
- Cornish hens with basil wild rice stuffing
- Walleye wild rice cakes with wasabi dressing
Wild rice is a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. To learn more about this incredible grain, visit Canoe Wild Rice for product information and recipes.