Coming up we’ll be up the creek without a paddle as we learn the secrets of wild rice before we turn it all around at the end of the show with hex key Elle wrenches see you after the break welcome back the grains of wild rice are long slender and black with a distinctive nutty flavor but you may be surprised to learn that wild rice is not a type of rice that’s all it’s actually the grain harvested from four species of semi aquatic grasses that grow in the lakes of the US Canada and some regions of Asia for centuries these grasses have been highly valued by the Native American people as a plentiful and nutritious source of food these glorious grains were also often exchanged with fur traders who travel by canoe and needed portable nutritious food that didn’t spoil today even though cultivated varieties are also produced beds of wild rice growing in the shallow areas of lakes and rivers are still harvested by traditional means from a canoe using two cedar flails and winnowing baskets the baskets are made from pieces of bark laced together with the dried roots of black spruce trees the rice is usually.
Harvested in early September when the plants are protruding from the water by at least half a meter paddling through the rice beds would uproot the plants so the boats is slowly propelled with a forked pole allowing the plants to be held in position using one flail before the second is used to gently knock off the mature kernels the harvesting process is a delicate operation the NOC must be just hard enough to dislodge the kernels while not breaking the plant stalks each kernel is comprised of a fibrous husk which encases the seed back on dry land the kernels are transported in winnowing baskets or grain sacks the next step is to spread them over birch bark sheets a tarpaulin or smooth bedrock to allow them to cure in the Sun rice plants typically house a few worms and insects and as the kernels dry these tiny inhabitants crawl out it’s essential to regularly turn the pile on to ensure all of the kernels get enough sun exposure and dry out if left damp that soon go mouldy sun curing can take a matter of hours to several days depending on the weather the next step is to parch the Colonel’s over an open.
Fire this evaporates any remaining moisture enabling the rice to be stored indefinitely without spoiling it also gives the rice a roasted nutty flavor for centuries the traditional technique was to parch the kernels on a woven willow rack above the fire letting the rising heat and smoke permeate the rice later cast-iron kettles were used heated by placing them directly above the flames fresh Weis grains are green and flexible but after parching become brown or black and snap cleanly into when burned the next step is threshing which removes the grains from the husks the kernels are 1st cooled in a basket before being poured back into the parching part before cast iron implements were readily available the threshing took place in a hole in the ground lined with wood or animal hides for the threshing itself the traditional equipment is still used to this day a pair of feet the pressure of each step forces the rice grains out of their husks this is what the rice looks like before rushing and after the last step is winnowing which separates the grains of rice from the now empty husks there are two traditional techniques.
Repeatedly flipping the rice in a single winnowing basket like this or pouring it from one basket to another the movement allows the feather-light husks to simply blow away eventually only the grains remain in the basket today instead of deerskin pouches wild rice is stored in modern containers such as these plastic backs the grains range in color depending on the body of water from which they were.
Harvested and how long after harvesting they were parched wild rice is high in protein and fiber while being low in calories and fat so if you’re looking for inspiration for that next nutritious dish now you know how it’s made you could be onto a winner where I thank you.