The species most commonly harvested as grain is the annual species Zizania palustris. Native Americans and non-Indians harvest wild rice by canoeing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, so as to thresh the seeds into the canoe.They are not making this up. Minnesota Statute 84.111 provides
The size of the knockers, as well as other details, are prescribed in state and tribal law. By Minnesota statute, knockers must be at most 1 inch in diameter, 30 inches long, and one pound in weight. The plants are not beaten with the knockers but require only a gentle brushing to dislodge the mature grain.
According to the 2010 MINNESOTA HUNTING REGULATIONS "Any person violating any of the laws or rules pertaining to wild rice is subject to a fine up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail."It shall be unlawful to use, in harvesting wild rice in any public waters in this state, any watercraft other than a boat, skiff, or canoe propelled by hand, which boat, skiff, or canoe may have a top width of not more than 36 inches and a length of not more than 18 feet, or any machine or mechanical device for gathering or harvesting the grain other than with flails not over 30 inches in length nor over one pound in weight, which flails must be held and operated by hand.
From a Healthy Bread standpoint, the Wikipedia article notes that "wild rice is high in protein, the amino acid lysine and dietary fiber, and low in fat. Like true rice, it does not contain gluten. It is also a good source of the minerals potassium and phosphorus, and the vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and niacin." Of some interest, at least to me, is the fact that, according to the USDA database, one cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories, compared to 216 calories for a cup of cooked long grain brown rice.
Wild rice can take a long time to cook, which is where my rice cooker comes in handy. I just threw 3/4 cup of wild rice and 2 cups of water into the cooker and set it on the brown rice cycle. I went about my business and it beeped at me when it was done.
As I recall, which is getting to be an iffier proposition each year, my first exposure to wild rice was in college (I went to one of the many "Harvard[s] of the Midwest"--Lawrence University in Appleton Wisconsin). My good friend Court was from a farm in Iowa, and he would bring back all sorts of good food from the farm--fish, duck, pheasant, and homemade wine. To take advantage of this bounty we commenced to having the Sunday Night Epicurean Society™. We hosted not only young ladies we were hoping to impress but also friends and favorite professors. Court's Mom & Dad supplied several recipes, including one for a Wild Rice Casserole. It had ground beef, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, almonds, wild rice and several cans of cream of something soups. It was very rich. And wonderful.
Being older, if not wiser, I went a little lighter direction with the extra wild rice I had after making the Wild Rice Pilaf dough. I made a Wild Rice Salad.
The bread was pretty tasty, too. In addition to the wild rice it had sautéed onion and mushrooms--the "pilaf" part. I made the first loaf using my 1x2 couche. I set the 1x2s on some drawer liner to keep them from sliding apart as the dough rose.
The bread baked up beautifully, if I do say so myself.
I used my perforated Italian bread pan to bake the rest of the dough, making 2 loaves.
Next up was the Lentil Curry Bread. This bread was in the chapter Breads with Hidden Fruits and Vegetables, and the lentils were certainly hidden. You cooked them until soft and then pureed them in their cooking liquid. As the recipe notes, lentils are high in fiber, protein, folic acid and B vitamins. In fact, according to Healthy Eating: All About Lentils "one serving [of lentils] will give you 37 percent of your daily iron and more than half your daily fiber." They are also one of the quickest cooking legumes--no soaking. According to the All About Lentils article "dating as far back at 7000 B.C., lentils are one of the oldest cultivated crops." The article notes that "[l]entils come in a variety of colors, including green, brown, red, yellow and black" and that "[l]entils have a sturdier texture and more peppery flavor than beans, peas or other legumes." Also, "[w]hen you eat a combination of grains and legumes (such as rice and beans or bulgur and lentils), you create what's called a 'complete protein.' These power combos contain the same protein building blocks as meat, which makes them a great way for vegans and vegetarians to get protein." To that end, here is a recipe for a good and healthy soup using lentils and brown rice, but I do not remember where I got it
Lentil Brown Rice Soup
1 T olive oilAlthough I made a half batch of the Lentil Curry dough I used a full dose of (sweet) curry powder. As my trophy wife said, "if you are going to use it, you might as well taste it." She is pretty nice and she is pretty smart. And pretty pretty, too.
3/4 c celery ,chopped
3/4 c onion, chopped
6 c water (+ 1 can chicken broth to make it "soupy"? Add toward end of cooking)
3/4 c lentils
2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t pepper
3/4 c brown rice
1/2 t rosemary
1 T Worcestershire
1/2 c carrots, shredded
Sauté celery and onion in oil in a Dutch oven. Add water and lentils. Cook 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except carrots. Simmer 45-60 minutes. Add carrots. Cook 5 minutes more.
I posted a tip from Cooks Illustrated on the Discussion Board which suggesting using a pan a lava rocks (like those for a gas grill) to create steam. My home improvement store did not have lava rocks, but had ceramic briquettes, which I got.
I also baked this bread in my perforated Italian bread pan, and it baked up beautifully.
As you can see, the combination of the curry powder and the lentils lent it an interesting color. The crumb was good too.
So that is 40 done, just 2 to go. Tune in next time for the penultimate post (absent a green-white-checker finish).