“Manoomin, or wild rice is a gift given to the Anishinaabek from the Creator, and is a centerpiece of the nutrition and sustenance for our community. In the earliest of teachings of Anishinaabeg history, there is a reference to wild rice, known as the food which grows upon the water, the food, the ancestors were told to find, then we would know when to end our migration to the west. It is this profound and historic relationship which is remembered in the wild rice harvest on the White Earth and other reservations-a food which is uniquely ours, and a food, which is used in our daily lives, our ceremonies, and our thanksgiving feasts.” from www.saveourwildrice.com.
Wild rice is a nutrition super-star. (Side note: Isn't it amazing how God created foods on every continent that feed and sustain its people?) It contains protein, B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. It also has the amino acid lysine and plenty of dietary fiber. This is not necessarily a complete list, nor is it in order, just showing you what this "American idol" offers. It's also gluten-free naturally. No wonder the Native Americans considered wild rice, or manoomin, a staple in their diet.
Wild rice just feels like Thanksgiving food. I love to make it during the holidays and the following recipe is always a hit, even with young people.
Wild Rice with Cranberries
1 cup wild rice
2 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup chopped, sauteed onion
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
salt, pepper and butter to taste
Bring the rice, onion and water to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer until rice is soft, 35-45 minutes.
Drain if rice is soft but water remains.
Pour rice into serving bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir.
Serve hot or room temperature. It's probably even good cold.