Hand Harvested Wild Rice- (Manoomin)
Hand-harvested wild rice in the lakes and rivers of northern Wisconsin or Minnesota. This rice is parched over a wood fire and has a flavor superior to paddy grown wild rice. The flavor difference is primarily due to handling and processing practices.
Our wild rice is the real thing: hand harvested in the ancient traditional fashion, by poling a canoe through natural rice beds and using cedar sticks to knock it into the canoe. It is harvested in Wisconsin by Sam, Melissa, Melissa’s brother and father, one of our employees; or in Minnesota by tribal members. Our rice is kept meticulously clean during harvest. It is sun-dried as soon as possible after harvest, then parched over a wood fire before having the hulls rubbed and winnowed off.
There are numerous ways to enjoy wild rice. For cooking, first rinse the rice, then use about two parts water to one part rice and boil, covered, until tender. Some of our favorite ways to eat wild rice include in soup, stir-fried with vegetables (mushrooms, cabbage, and onions is a simple and delicious combination), or as a breakfast cereal with nuts and maple syrup. It is often traditionally cooked with duck or chicken broth and seasoned for use as a side dish.
The flavor of real wild rice is mild and delicate, the texture is tender, and it cooks in 25-40 minutes. This is completely unlike the farm-grown, blackened, and hardened “wild” rice sold in most grocery stores. Most cultivated wild rice is left wet for a week or more to soften the hulls through decomposition; the grain responds to this by hardening and darkening its seedcoat. This is how wild rice becomes uniformly black. It is considered desirable by the industry because the harder kernels are less likely to break in processing, and because the darker grains are more visible when mixed with other foods. However, blackening (also called curing) has a negative impact on the flavor, makes the grain tougher, and lengthens the cooking time.
Because the terminology is confusing—the plant is called “wild rice” whether it is paddy-raised or wild—many harvesters use the Anishinaabe word manoomin (also spelled Mahnomen, menomin, etc) to identify their product as the truly wild, traditional food that was the staple of this region for thousands of years.