Contrary to what most people think, wild rice is not a variety of rice, but a part of the grains family. Wild rice is extremely versatile. It can be a side dish, used in salads and soups, mixed into muffins and pancakes and even used as an ingredient for mouthwatering desserts. Gourmet chefs love the flexibility of wild rice and use it whenever they have the opportunity. The good news is you can have wild rice and eat it too!
Facts about Wild Rice
Wild rice grows in marshes, shallow lakes and streams. It is grown from the seeds of tall blooming water grass called Zizania Palustries. Wild rice is still harvested the traditional way from boats in open water; matured grains are knocked into the holding containers using beating sticks.
Because of its fragility, wild rice is difficult to harvest commercially. The stalks are very delicate which makes it nearly impossible for the use of motor boats and other harvesting equipment. The patience and hard work required to harvest wild rice makes it even more special.
Nutritional Benefits of Wild Rice
When it comes to nutritional contents, wild rice is packed full of them. It has high levels of protein, B vitamins, minerals, folic acid and it is a very rich source of carbohydrates. For a one-half cup of wild rice, its protein content measures 3.3 grams. Although it may have a high carbohydrate content of 17.5 grams with the same measurement, it only has 83 calories when cooked. Wild rice has more folic acid than brown rice and half a cup of cooked wild rice provides 48 percent of the RDA for men and 53 percent for women.
Niacin is another nutrient that wild rice is a good source of and can help to increase your HDL cholesterol level and in turn lower the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. It can reduce your risk of developing hypertension and other health related diseases associated with high cholesterol levels. The niacin in wild rice is also good for your digestive and nervous system and keeps your skin, eyes and hair healthy.
Apart from the stated nutrients, wild rice is also known for its fiber, calcium and iron contents. It is one of the most nutritional in the grains group of foods.
Wild Rice in Your Dinners
Due to the difficult harvesting process of wild rice, it is more expensive to buy. However, weighing the cost versus the nutritional value it provides makes it worth purchasing. In the past, only professional chefs could easily obtain wild rice, but it is now more accessible to most people.
There are plenty of ways to include wild rice to your meals. Use it in casseroles, as a stuffing or as a side dish in tandem with your favorite meat or fish. What you can be sure of is that you will gain plenty of its nutritional benefits while having 100 percent enjoyment with its unique taste.