Wild Rice: Minnesota’s whole grain

Since we live in the land of 10,000 lakes, wild rice is a locally grown whole grain.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota has more acres of natural wild rice than any other state in the country. Although it is considered a grain, wild rice technically is not a type of rice but the seed of a semi-aquatic grass. Wild rice grows in lakes, rivers and bays, in water typically two to three feet deep.

Because wild rice is hard to grow and does not produce as much yield as other grains, it usually costs more than different grains on the market. For this reason, and since it has a strong flavor, wild rice is often mixed with other grains, most often rice.

Wild rice does provide a number of nutrients including protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, vitamin B6 and niacin. Due to the fact that wild rice comprises such a small portion of our food supply, there are not many health studies on its effect on various disease states. From the few studies done on wild rice, University of Minnesota researchers have found that it is very high in antioxidants.

To cook wild rice, you will need more liquid and time than regular rice. Combine 1 cup uncooked wild rice with 3 cups liquid in a saucepan. Heat until it boils, and reduce the heat. Cover and let rice simmer for 35-50 minutes. When the seeds start to burst, you know it is cooked. You can taste and cook longer if you prefer more tender rice. This will make three to four cups of cooked rice. Since dry, uncooked wild rice has basically no fat, it will last for years in an air-tight container. Cooked wild rice can be stored in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for up to six months.

Wild Rice-Crusted Salmon

Source: Adapted from www.wholegrainscouncil.org

Serves: 6

All you need:

2 lbs. salmon, cut into 6 portions

cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs

3 tbsp. skim milk

2 cups cooked wild rice

cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

All you do:

1. Dip salmon in flour; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and milk. In a wide bowl, mix together rice, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

3. Dip salmon in egg mixture. Then coat with rice mixture, pressing rice into salmon.

4. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in skillet and sear 2 portions of salmon for 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat this step with the remaining salmon.

This information is not intended for medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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