Wild rice (also called Canada rice
, Indian rice
, and water oats) are four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania, and the grain which can be harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eaten in both North America and China. While it is now a delicacy in North America, the grain is eaten less in China, where the plant's stem is used as a vegetable.
Wild rice is not directly related to Asian rice (Oryza sativa), whose wild progenitors are O. rufipogon and O. nivara, although they are close cousins, sharing the tribe Oryzeae. Wild rice grains have a chewy outer sheath with a tender inner grain that has a slightly vegetal taste.
The plants grow in shallow water in small lakes and slow-flowing streams; often, only the flowering head of wild rice rises above the water
. The grain is eaten by dabbling ducks
and other aquatic wildlife, as well as humans.
Three species of wild rice are native to North America:Northern wild rice is an annual plant native to the Great Lakes region of North America, the aquatic areas of the Boreal Forest regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada and Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the US.Wild rice, also an annual, grows in the Saint Lawrence River and on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Texas wild rice is a perennial plant found only in a small area along the San Marcos River in central Texas.
Wild rice is a gluten free food. It does not contain sodium: good news for your blood pressure and your heart. It does take about an hour to cook, but rewards you with a lovely nutty flavor. It contains twice as much protein as brown rice. Wild rice can be eaten by diabetics, since it is actually a grass, and the grains are not polished or refined. Of course, small quantities are recommended. It is very rich in antioxidants—containing up to 30 times more than white rice! Which means regular consumption of wild rice protects you from disease and ageing.
Because of its high fiber content, wild rice keeps your digestion smooth and helps lower cholesterol. Wild rice is a good source of essential minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and folate, which give you energy and nurture your bones. Vitamins A, C and E are essential for overall health and immunity. Wild rice contains these vital vitamins. A serving of wild rice is lower in calories than other rice varieties, so you can enjoy it without worrying about weight gain.
Also see Basmati Rice, Red Rice
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