Authentic Wild Rice - Native American

Print Article

Consider receiving Edenews

A brief, monthly, pertinent, email with reliable facts about food, and other matters.

Pin It

February 2013

Wild rice is the seed or fruit of an annual aquatic, reed supported grass. It is not a true rice of the Oryza genus. It is a pseudo-grain that has long been used as a cereal grain. Wild rice is the only North American native grain, and only its northern varieties produce suitable cereal grain. EDEN Wild Rice is authentic, northern Minnesota wild grown wild rice Zizania palustris, the sacred grain of northern Native Americans. This species of wild rice is found in archaeological sites radiocarbon dated back over 12,000 years.

Chances are, when you see wild rice in stores it is not actually authentic native American wild rice. Most likely it is a vastly inferior, much cheaper domesticated hybrid rice labeled as wild rice that is paddy grown and machine harvested in California where there are no label laws for distinguishing between the somewhat similar looking imitation wild rice and the real thing. Imitation wild rice is long, black, very hard, requires long cooking, and even after cooking, has a very tough texture. Authentic wild grown wild rice ranges in color from light to deep brown. It cooks in 25 to 30 minutes, is light and fluffy, and it has a wonderful and delicious flavor.

Painstaking Traditional Harvest

EDEN Wild Rice is hand harvested by Native Americans in canoes just like it has been for hundreds of years, and as it is now required by law. Early mornings of the wild rice making moon (end of August to mid September) that the Ojibwa call Manoominike Gilziz, hundreds of canoes containing two Native Americans are poled into the reeds. The poler stands in the back and guides the canoe, and a knocker or harvester sits or stands in the middle. The reeds are dense and gasoline boats that pollute are not at all allowed. The poler pushes through the rice reeds using a 20 foot forked pole. Standing allows the poler to spot the darker patches of ripe rice. The knocker uses two cedar wood sticks resembling long and large drumsticks to harvest the rice. Alternating between left and right the knocker uses one stick to pull the rice stalk over the canoe, and the other to tap the loose rice from the stalk into the canoe. This ensures that only the ripe grain falls into the canoe, unripe grain stays on the stalk. When the canoes are full the wild rice is taken ashore and poplar wood fire parched in roasters before winnowing to remove its chaff. Roasting or parching reduces moisture to ensure storability and gives the wild rice its characteristic mild nutty flavor and aroma. Every day the ricers repeat the same early morning harvest until they can no longer take enough to make it worthwhile. That year's harvest is then complete.

Sacred and Ecologically Vital

For northern Native Americans wild rice is more than excellent food, it is a gift of the Great Spirit and a sacred and central part of their culture, honored in their history, traditions, beliefs, and ways.

Wild rice stands are a vital part of the ecology of thousands of northern lakes and rivers. Each year the lakes and wetlands are naturally reseeded providing more food, habitat, and vitality to the eco-systems. The rice reed stands are important nesting havens and they provide unique habitat for thousands of waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife that rely on its bounty.

EDEN Wild Rice supports the livelihood of these age-old traditions and their native American culture, providing a means for Native Americans to remain connected to the land and their traditions. At the same time it supports the ecology and vitality of the Great Lakes region and its 88% of North America's surface fresh water and 23% of the world's supply of surface fresh water.

Cheap hybrid imitations of so-called wild rice do none of this.

Year-round Staple Grain

Enjoyment of authentic EDEN Wild Rice should not be limited to just holidays and special occasions. This delicious, light and fluffy whole grain can be used as a staple whole grain year-round in soups, stews, salads, grain burgers, desserts, pancakes, waffles, and bread making. It can be combined and cooked with other grains or with vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for stuffings. Keep some in your pantry and your familiarity with it will stimulate your imagination.

EDEN Wild Rice is 100% whole grain. It is rich in manganese and good source of beneficial fiber, high quality protein, complex carbohydrates, niacin B3, magnesium, and zinc. EDEN Wild Rice is Gluten Free and packed in a recloseable protective standing pouch. kosher pareve.