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Wild Rice is a not a raw ingredient. But it comes with many health benefits. Wild rice is high in potassium and phosphorus, it compares favorably to the nutritional content of wheat, corn and oats. It is gluten-free, high in fiber, high in protein, folate, B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin and thiamin), calcium, iron and vitamin E. Wild rice is actually the seed of aquatic grass and considered a pseudograin, similar to quinoa.
What do I mean by blooming? What I mean is that the rice kernels open up like a beautiful flower, which makes them more palatable. If you have a compromised digestive system, I recommend actually cooking the rice, breaking it down even further. Bloomed rice is fluffy and chewy – very similar in texture to the cooked “grain”. It may be used in a salad or for a pilaf. Mix or match it with your choice of fruits and nuts, or take it in a savory direction by adding grated or chopped vegetables, seeds and your choice of dressing.
From the research that I have done, wild rice is not considered a “raw” product due to the processing stage that takes place. Below I have pulled together from various companies, the heating procedure that takes place after they harvest it. For more details, I included their web links so you can delve deeper into it.
“…Real Wild Rice is parched by Ojibwa native Americans. They take the wet,green rice and put it into a stainless steel drum that they turn over an open fire. It is heated to 280 degrees Fahrenheit for one to two hours.”
“…Most commercial rice processors parch rice in big tumblers heated by gas or LPG. Cathy Chaver hand-parches the rice over an open fire.”
“…Parching destroys the rice germ, which prevents the seed from sprouting, allowing the rice to be stored for long periods. Parching also hardens the kernel and loosens the hull (to be broken off and discarded in the hulling part of the process).”
“….Parching over a wood fire imparts a unique, slightly smoky taste to the already nutty flavor of wild rice.”
“…Once the rice is harvested it looks just like large green grass seed. These seeds are then parched to remove the husk. We currently offer 2 types of wild rice. There are several different types of parching and there is some natural variation in the size of the grains:
The first type of wild rice uses a method that gives you a nice even dark grained “rice”. It has been parched with modern equipment giving a high quality grain. The largest of the wild rice kernels we call, “Canadian Jumbo,” because it only grows in Canada and we consider it the “cream of the crop.” It is the largest and the plumpest of all wild rice in North America. It takes approximately 70-80 minutes to cook. The second type of wild rice we offer is a “Hand Parched” wild rice which has been parched by Ojibwe Indians in a wood fired parcher using their traditional methods. This wild rice results in a lighter colored wild rice than the Canadian Jumbo above. This rice also cooks much faster (15-20 minutes).”
“…After the rice was cleaned of extraneous material-twigs, pieces of stalks, small stones, and worms-it was spread out on sheets of birchbark, blankets, or canvas to dry in the sun. When it was dry enough, the women put several pounds of rice in a big iron kettle or galvanized iron washtub and parched it over an open fire. To keep it from scorching, they stirred it constantly with a wooden paddle. This parching process cured the rice and also helped loosen the outer husks.”
“…This is second key to getting high quality rice. There are very few people left who do the wood-fire hand processing. We take it to a older White Earth Ojibway fellow called Sunfish. His skill and care is beautiful to watch – constantly monitoring the wood fire, sniffing and feeling the rice as it parches. (Parching is the slow heating of the green rice until it is separated from the husk and thoroughly dried.)”
Yield Measurements: 1 cup = 3 1/2 cups bloomed