What is Wild Rice?

From its name, one would naturally assume that wild rice is a type of rice or just a regular cereal grain. However, this is not the case, because contrary to what its name suggests, wild rice is actually not rice at all. Yes, this “rice” that is full of nutrients is, in fact, the seeds of aquatic wild grass. Wild rice can any of four different species of grass from the genus Zizania. Three of these species are native to North America, while the other one is native to China, Asia. As an aquatic food, it thrives in freshwater lakes, ponds, or even rivers.

How does wild rice compare to White and brown rice?

White rice is usually produced after milling. This process removes the bran, germ, and husk, leaving a refined product with a polished appearance. However, removing these layers has a direct effect on not only the appearance but also the texture and flavor of the rice. This, in return, gives it a longer shelf life. Besides that, milling also greatly affects the nutritional value of the rice, and due to this depletion, white rice is often enriched with nutrients such as niacin, iron, and thiamine.

Brown rice doesn’t undergo milling. This means that the only layer that has been removed is the husk while the endosperm, bran, and germ are intact. This removed husk is the reason why there is a wide difference in the nutritional value between white rice and brown rice; with brown rice having a significantly higher nutritional value. Even if white rice is enriched, some nutrients such as magnesium are not added back. Therefore, while white rice has only 19mg of magnesium per cup, long-grain brown rice contains more than 84mg of magnesium per cup. Brown rice also has more nutrients in terms of phosphorus, potassium, folate, and zinc. It also has more fiber and protein content as compared to white rice.

Even though wild rice is not really rice, its nutritional value is comparable to both white rice and brown rice. From starters, wild rice has a very high nutritional value since it is richer in proteins, potassium, folate, zinc, and most of the other vitamin B complex. It also has more fiber as compared to white rice. However, its fiber content is almost equal to that of brown rice.

Quick and easy ways to use Wild rice?

The most obvious way to use wild rice is to replace rice in soups and salads. Due to its high nutritional value, wild rice comes with a myriad of benefits. It promotes good heart health due to its high fiber content. Moreover, it is also easy to prepare wild rice. The basic ways of cooking wild rice are by either boiling, steaming, baking, or even cooking it in a microwave.

Other benefits of wild rice

Wild rice can boost energy and increase bone mass. It is also good for boosting your immunity as this makes your body stronger enough to fight diseases and infections. Wild rice might help reduce birth defects due to the high content of B vitamins that are also available in green leafy vegetables. It is also noteworthy that wild rice is gluten-free.

Foraging

Because wild rice is a native food and can still be found in abundance in the wild, wild rice is a nutritious food which can be gathered and stored to add real value and nutrition to your families meals.

The Juniper Shrub

Juniper Shrub
Juniper Shrub

I have very distinct memories of Juniper shrubs from my youth in Eastern Oregon where we just called hem Junipers. It was not until I arrived in Texas, where everyone calls Them Cedars that I even realize they were cedars. Junipers shrubs are ubiquitous across the arid regions of the United States.

Description Of A Juniper

  • The Juniper (Juniperus communis ), also known as cedar, this treelike shrub which , depending on variety, can grow to a height of 20 feet or more and a width of 20 feet,
  • Junipers have tiny, scaly evergreen leaves that are densely crowded on the branches. A Junipers berrylike cones are usually blue and whitish wax coated.

Where Do Juniper Shrubs grow?

  • Junipers grow in open, semi-arid, places throughout the throughout North America, Europe, and Southwest Asia.

Juniper Berries
Juniper Berries

What Are The Edible Parts Of A Juniper?

  • The berries of juniper are edible raw.
  • Juniper twigs can be consumed as a tea.
  • Dried and crushed berries are good for seasoning meat.
  • The seeds can be roasted as a substitute for coffee.

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Bamboo a less likely perennial food

bamboo shoots boil in hot water
Bamboo shoots boil in hot water

Bamboos is a member of the grass family and is one of the largest members of the grass family. There are about 1,000 species of bamboo, of which more than a hundred are edible.

Life Span

  • Bamboos are a set of woody-evergreen that’s perennial.

Growth Habit

  • Succulent plants – herbaceous or herbs (succulent seed plants possessing self-supporting stems)
  • Vine – a climbing or trailing herbaceous plant (Liana – a climbing or trailing woody plant)
  • Trees – having a single central axis
  • Shrub – having several more or less upright stems

Hardiness

bamboo can be found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to tropical climate. However, in the United States, geographic locations best suited for bamboo would normally be determined by your geographic locations hardiness zone.

What exactly is a Hardiness Zone?

Where can Bamboo be grown in the United States

They are found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to tropical climates. In the United States bamboo can be grown from hardiness zone five and above.  Basically, this means US hardiness zones 5 through 10.

Appearance

Bamboo is a tall treelike grass with woody ring-stems, called culms, which grow in branching groups coming from a thick rhizome underground stem.  Among the edible species, the size and shape of the shoots vary.

Bamboo used as food

Yes, bamboo may be eaten. Bamboo shoots and young tips are the most commonly eaten portion of the plant and are eaten as cooked vegetables. However, the seeds may also be eaten like a grain in those rare time in which bamboo flowers.   The seeds may be boiled, ground, or mix in cooking foods like other seeds. If you are looking for creative ways to use bamboo shoots in your cooking please see Asian cuisines, because bamboo shoots are frequently used in their recipes.

How to prepare bamboo shoots for eating

bamboo shoots must be thoroughly cooked before being consumed regularly. To prepare your shoots for eating they must be peeled and cooked, normally, boiled for 20 minutes or more.

Caution: if you’re going to use bamboo as food please make sure that it is cooked thoroughly to prevent unintended poisoning.

Bamboo Uses in the Kitchen

bamboo can be used in the kitchen and a number of ways which is only limited by your creativity. Among the common ways of using bamboo in the kitchen are:

  • as utensils (e.g. chopsticks)
  • as cooking utensils (e.g. steamers)
  • as food wraps to cook food in, normally, this is where the leaves are used.

 Bamboo used as paper

Pulped-fibres of a little bamboo species, mainly Dendrocalamus strictus and also Bambusa bamboos, are widely used to make fine quality paper.

Use Of bamboo as wood, building and construction material

The jointed stems of bamboo have many possible uses that are numerous the biggest stems provide planks for houses and rafts, while both large and tiny stems tend to be lashed collectively to make the scaffoldings used on building construction internet sites.

How to obtain bamboo as food

Commercial availability

Bamboo is readily available in the marketplace and can be readily obtained online, in your local Asian market or the specially second section of most local grocers.

Bamboo shoots as forage food

However, it is also a forage food if you happen to have a stand of bamboo freely available to you of the correct type. Actually, there are two or three stands here in Texas near where I live, which with the landowner’s permission could be forged in the spring for bamboo shoots.

Grow your own bamboo for food

Growing your own bamboo for food may well be the best way to ensure you have the correct variety for eating, but may take some management to ensure that they don’t spread too far.

How to start A bamboo

while bamboo may be grown from seed, bamboo seeds are not normally readily available. Therefore, it is much easier to obtain a living plant from a friend or from a commercial source and plant that in your prepared area. Once established, bamboo will provide a perennial source of food year after year, provided it is suitable for your geographic location.  I would avoid planting it too close to structures such as your house or outbuildings. Bamboo does and will spread and planting it too close to other structures you care about could cause problems later.

Bamboos is a fast-growing in some species can grow as much as an inch in a day. To grow grown bamboo:

  • Bamboo should be spaced less than six feet apart to create a screen or a small dense cluster.
  • Use garden compost or manure to your workplace into the earth around your new bamboo growing.
  • water regularly during the first growing season, this includes winter while the ground is still not frozen.

Related References

What Are Forage Foods?

Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens in bowl

Forage foods, are foods which grow wild, or have escaped into the wild and are readily found along roadsides, in the fields, forests, and Meadows. They are an excellent way to supplement the foods you put on the table and/or preserve for winter, or later consumption. Forage foods can also be used to supplement foods raised in your home garden and backyard fruit and nut trees.  These food include the food long use in subsistence living and others.  Forage may also include animals (e.g meat) and animal produced foods (e.g. Honey). 

I have many fond memories of my youth where we forged in the forests fields and roadsides where we lived. These could range from wild berries to apple trees found in an old homestead on our property or neighbor’s property with permission.

Here is a quick list of forage foods that I can think of off the top of my head. Some of these foods, especially mushrooms, will require some special handling and special knowledge to be safely eaten.

Quick List of Forage Foods

  • Acorns (Nut)
  • Alpine Strawberry
  • American Persimmon
  • Autumn Olive
  • Bamboo (Shoots)
  • Barberry
  • Beechnut
  • Black Walnuts
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberry
  • Butternut
  • Cattail (Typha latifolia)
  • Chamomile
  • Chickweed
  • Chicory
  • Chili Peppers
  • Curly Dock
  • Damsons
  • Dandelions
  • Dewberries
  • Duck-potato (Sagittaria latifolia)
  • Elderberry
  • Epasote (Spanish Bean Herb)
  • Ferns
  • Fox Grape
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Gooseberry
  • Hickory Nut
  • Juniper Shrub
  • Kelp / Seaweed
  • Kudzu
  • Lingonberry
  • Mesquite
  • Mulberry
  • Mullein
  • Muscadine Grape
  • Mushrooms
  • Nettles
  • Paw Paw
  • Pecan nut
  • Persimmon
  • Pine Nuts
  • Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Rose Hips
  • Salmonberry
  • Sassafras
  • Sheep sorrel
  • Sloes
  • Sumac
  • Tepary Beans (Phaseolus acutifolius)
  • Watercress
  • Wild Asparagus
  • Wild Cherries (Prunus species)
  • Wild Onion
  • Wild Rice (Zizania Aquatica)
  • Wood Sorrel

Related References