Did you know that rice is the most consumed food on the planet? Millions of pounds of rice are boiled each day around the world, and in some parts of the world, rice is as common a meal staple as bread is in western countries. In parts of Asia, South America and Africa, rice is a part of almost every meal- even breakfast!
Most people are familiar with short grain white rice, which they know as typical rice, but there are a number of other varieties available. Jasmine rice, long grain rice, and wild rice are all used in specific dishes, and we want to talk here about wild rice.
This grain is considered very hardy, so it takes longer for water to seep into it and make it soft and edible. If you tried to cook wild rice the same way you cooked other kinds of rice, you probably would have partially cooked wild rice. That wouldn’t make for a very pleasant meal, so let’s discuss what it takes to cook wild rice and the different ways you can cook it.
What Is Wild Rice?
Before we get into how long does it take to cook wild rice, let’s explain a bit about this rice first. The first thing you will notice about this rice grain is that it is long and black.
Compare that to traditional rice types that are either white or brown and you can see how wild rice tends to stand out. It’s not your typical rice, by any means, so you won’t be preparing it exactly the same way as you would other rice types.
Wild rice is considered to be semi-aquatic, so it needs wetland areas to grow or somewhere that has lots of water. A lot of the rice produced around the world comes from Asian rice paddies, but black wild rice is native to Connecticut and its River Basin region.
One of the most interesting facts about wild rice is that it isn’t a rice at all- it’s a grass! That may explain why the taste is decidedly different from conventional rice. Even when cooked, it doesn’t have the same texture as regular white or brown rice thanks to its tough, rigid outer hull. The flavour can be described as nutty and earthy.
Should you be eating this “rice” since it is really grass? Well, you may be delighted to know that wild rice is packed with nutrients and has more nutritional benefits than your average grain.
It is a great source of zinc, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, folate, and niacin. So yes, you should be eating it and making it a regular part of your diet in order to enjoy a number of health benefits that conventional rice doesn’t offer you.
There are a bunch of recipes online for wild rice that take into account it’s different flavour and texture. So, if you are interested in trying a dish or two and seeing how you like this grain, you have some great dishes to start with, and there is no shortage of wild rice recipes online.
How Long Does Wild Rice Take to Cook?
You can cook wild rice in a few different ways, but if you are familiar with cooking brown rice, then the cooking method is similar. The real difference, though, is in how much longer wild rice takes to cook.
Remember, we said earlier that this is a hardy, tough grain, so it is going to take longer for rice to soften it up to where the wild rice can be pleasant to eat.
How long does it take to cook 1 cup of wild rice on the stovetop? For wild rice, you want to use plenty of water, so for one cup of wild rice, we would use four cups of water. That’s a very large ratio difference, and we think that perfectly illustrates the difference in hardiness between wild rice and white or brown rice.
Be sure to rinse the wild rice before you cook it. You want to make certain it is clean and that you are not cooking any contaminants or inedible bits. When cooking on the stovetop, you can put the water and rice in the pot at the same time. You can cook it uncovered and cook it at a high heat until the water comes to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, you can lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. The rice will need about 45 minutes to cook, but it may need a few minutes more than that, in some cases. You should check the rice occasionally to see if it is tender and soft yet. Once it is soft, then the rice is finished and is ready to eat.
How long does it take to cook wild rice in a crock pot? Crock pots are designed for lengthy cooking times. Using the crock pot can be a great way to seep more flavour from the food and fill your entire kitchen with the smell of what you’re cooking.
Since crock pots are slow cookers and wild rice takes a long time to cook, you may wonder just how long does it take to cook wild rice in a crock pot. If you set the crock pot on high, the rice will cook in 3-4 hours. If you prefer a low setting, then expect it to take anywhere from 6-7 hours.
How much water should you use for wild rice in a crock pot? The ratio is just 3:1 for crock pot cooking, so it’s not quite as much as if you were cooking on the stove.
Be sure to rinse the wild rice thoroughly, as sometimes small pebbles and other unwanted bits of detritus may be included in your bag of rice. You can run the rice under some water to wash it and let it sift through a colander to get rid of the unwanted items that may be in the bag.
How Long Does Minnesota Wild Rice Take to Cook?
You may notice a couple different kinds of wild rice on grocery store shelves and wonder if there are different cooking times involved. We have covered how long it takes to cook wild rice, which we said typically comes from Connecticut, and the wild rice grown in Minnesota is no different.
You might notice some slight differences in the way the grains look sometimes, but that’s just because there are some short and some long grain varieties of wild rice.
The long grains are preferable, because that rice tends to with a more pleasant texture, whereas the short grain wild rice will be mushier and closer to oatmeal in texture.
Minnesota wild rice and Connecticut wild rice cook the same way, though, with the same cooking times. You don’t have to worry about adjusting cooking time or method to accommodate the Minnesota version.
How to Store Wild Rice
Now that we have answered the question of how long does it take wild rice to cook, let’s talk about storing the rice after you cook it.
Once you have made some kind of dish with the wild rice and it has been cooked in water or stock, you should refrigerate it. You can store it in a plastic container or an airtight plastic bag. Cooked wild rice will store in the fridge for 4-6 days before it starts to go bad. Be sure to eat it before then and not let it go to waste.
If you are storing uncooked wild rice in your pantry, then you won’t have to worry about an expiration date. As long as the bag doesn’t open and the rice doesn’t come into contact with water, it should last indefinitely. Try to keep the rice in a dry, cool place, free of pests.
You can keep uncooked wild rice in your fridge, freezer or pantry for as long as you like.
What to Do with Wild Rice
There are tons of different dishes you can make with this food. The most popular one is probably pilaf, which is essentially just rice and stock, which you can add cooked vegetables or meat to.
You can also make casseroles, salads, and even desserts from wild rice. The options are endless, and once you give wild rice a try, you will probably come up with some ideas for how to use it.
One of the simplest ways to have wild rice is with some sort of beans or peas, and it pairs well with most legumes. You can cook them together on the stovetop, or if the legumes are uncooked, they can be cooked with the wild rice in a crockpot as well. Add in your favourite seasonings, and you have a great dish for lunch or dinner.
How long does it take to cook wild rice? You know the answer you know is that it’s a bit longer than typical rice, but once you try wild rice, you might find it is well worth the extra effort.