If you’re new to the planet or have lived in a cave for the past twenty years, then you might well be intrigued by what has become the staple diet for the majority of the world’s population! Eating rice is not only a daily nutritional routine; it is also on occasions a celebration of friendship and family living.
Essentially rice is a product of the monocot plants Onyza sativa and Onyza glaberrrima. Although you may or may not be familiar with all or some of the varieties they are essentially from Africa and Asia.
African rice has a long and glorious history, it is better at enduring variations in water deepness, iron toxicity, infertile soils, and human neglect. African rice has small pear-shaped grains and red bran and olive-to-black seed coat, horizontal panicles, and short, rounded ligules.
Asian type rice on the other hand, is easy to genetically modify and is the one that is most used in Europe and around the Americas.
Wild rice or black rice as it’s sometimes called, comes from the seeds of wild aquatic grass found in the clear lakes of northern Minnesota and North America. This rice was a favourite of the Chippewa Indians, who used to gather it by hand.
This unique rice has far more protein than white rice. It’s rich in all the B vitamins, except B12 and contains lysine, the amino acid absent from most grains.
Canadian Wild Rice
This natural “organic wild rice” grows wild in North America. It is not genetically modified or changed in any way. The grain has a darker hue, longer than the American variety, the flavour is thought of as far superior. The rice is still collected and harvested by the first nation of north America.
Wild rice is high in protein, the amino acid lysine and dietary fibre. It is also low in fat, which makes it an ideal carbohydrate to eat along with vegetables for a sensible diet.
Canada’s first nation still gathers the grain by beating the grass stems with the paddles of their canoes. They keep all the grain that tumbles into their canoes, but the rest is left in the water for the next year’s harvest.
Wild rice behaves like ordinary rice, in that it does not contain any gluten. Wild rice is healthy because it is also a good source of certain minerals and B vitamins.
On the down side wild rice seeds can be infected by the ergot fungus. This is highly toxic and dangerous if eaten. In order to recognise infected grain, look at the seed, Infected seeds have pink or purplish blotches or growths of the fungus.
Wild rice continues to gain in popularity, partly due to the amount of vitamins and minerals not found in ordinary rice. Many of Canada’s and America’s first Nations, such as the Ojibwa, consider wild rice to be sacred.