Wild rice is a native of North America, growing wild along river banks and in marshes west and north of the Great Lakes as well as in pockets on the East Coast from Florida to New Jersey. The acquatic grain is also cultivated along the Pacific Coast from California to Washington.
Because it is being cultivated in more areas of the country you can find wild rice in most grocery stores. However, if your local grocer doesn't carry wild rice you may be able to find it at health food stores. If you are planning a few days out, you can also order wild rice from Amazon.com. Amazon carries several brands of pure wild rice as well as brown rice/wild rice blends which are often less expensive than wild rice alone.
How to Cook Wild Rice
The most common way to cook wild rice is by boiling the grain in water or broth. This method is very similar to cooking long grain white rice, except cooking times will vary.
Wild rice can also be added to baked casseroles. Make sure you have enough liquid in the pan to allow for both absorption by the rice and evaporation, otherwise cooking times will be very similar to those for boiling.
Another unique way to cook and serve wild rice is popped. Simply add 1/4" of vegetable oil to the bottom of a heavy pan and heat the oil until one rice grain will sizzle and expand when dropped into the oil. When the oil is hot enough, carefully add 1/4 to 1/2 cup wild rice and let it expand. This will take less than 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop the popped wild rice out of the pan and drain on a plate covered with a paper towel.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese and pepper on the popped rice while it is still hot. You can eat the popped wild rice immediately as a snack or save it for a garnish on tomato soup or green salads.
You can find more information on cooking with wild rice at the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council's website.
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