How to Make: Wild Rice

How to make wild rice || A Less Processed Life

Here in the Wisconsin Northwoods we are lucky enough to harvest our own wild rice in the late summer. This year we missed the golden window, and alas, didn't get a chance to go ricing. However, last year we ended up harvesting wild rice with a group of friends, and after combining our canoefuls of rice kernels and going in together on the processing, Dustin and I ended up with a rather large bag of finished rice of our own. Long story short, it'll be a while before we make our way through the entire supply. Not a bad problem to have!

How to make wild rice || A Less Processed Life

Did you know that most of the "wild rice" you find for sale in grocery stores is actually cultivated rice that is grown in rice paddies? Signs that what you're purchasing may not be truly "wild" rice include a dark black color (naturally-grown wild rice tends to vary in color, from light brown to black) and a uniform shape (naturally-grown wild rice tends to come in a variety of sizes). Another sign is a low price. If the cost is less than $5/pound, there's a good chance it was not hand-harvested from the wild. Due to the intensive labor required to hand harvest and finish naturally-grown wild rice, it is typically much more expensive. (But oh so worth it.)

How to make wild rice || A Less Processed Life

Wild rice is a little more fussy to make than white or jasmine rice. It takes about 45 minute to cook, so you'll need a little patience (and some extra time if you're planning to serve it with your dinner). The typical ratio to cook wild rice is 3:1. However, to prevent scorching you can cook it in a little extra water, and drain the rice at the end to remove any excess moisture. (Even if you do use the 3:1 ratio, check the rice for tenderness around 40 minutes, and if it's good to go, just drain off the extra water rather than cooking it down until all the water is absorbed.)

Wild rice has a delightful nutty flavor and lends itself well to both savory and sweet preparations. If you're planning to use the rice in a savory recipe, you can add a bit more flavor by cooking it in vegetable or chicken stock rather than water.

Wild Rice
makes 4 servings

1 cup wild rice
3 cups water

1. Place the wild rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Gently tap to drain.
2. Add the water to a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the rice to the boiling water and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the kernels have puffed open and the rice is tender. Remove the cover and continue simmering for 5 more minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, and gently pour the rice into a strainer to drain off any remaining liquid. 
5. Fluff with a fork and serve. 

How to make wild rice || A Less Processed Life

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