Fall means its soup weather! And my hearty wild rice and corn chowder really hits the spot.

You may be surprised to learn that wild rice isn’t a rice at all. Wild rice is harvested from a long grain marsh grass often referred to as an aquatic cereal grain. Cereal grains are members of the grass family and harvested for their seeds. Wild rice holds the title of the only cereal grain native to North America.

Tips for cooking wild rice


The reed-like wild rice plants are found in isolated lakes and river beds where they grow in low, swamp-like areas. Most wild rice available today is not wild at all, but grown in man-made paddies that are machine harvested. Marketed as cultivated wild rice, the kernels are darker, almost black in color and tend to be a bit chewier than wild rice grown naturally. Cultivated wild rice also lacks some of the traditional earthy flavor. However, it is less costly and more widely available.

Remember to precook the wild rice when making my soup recipe. Cultivated rice will take between 50 to 60 minutes of simmering to cook while traditional hand-harvested wild rice takes only 30 to 35 minutes. And remember that the wild rice will expand when cooking. It only takes about ⅓ cup of raw wild rice to make 1 cup cooked wild rice.

October 13, 2021 — Mary DiSomma