Wild Rice has a bold, dark color and a slender, elongated shape – and like all grains, it can also be ground into flour.


Harvesting Natural Wild Rice

In the Great Lakes region, Native Americans still harvest wild rice in the same traditional ways their ancestors have done for thousands of years. Wild rice is deeply respected as a sacred gift from the earth.


Wild Rice Hulls, Close-up

This photo shows four wild rice seeds, or kernels, still in their inedible hulls, and one seed removed from its hull. 


Wild Rice Grains

This photo shows wild rice before it’s cooked. See below, for more photos.



Quick-Cook Wild Rice

Like most other slow-cooking whole grains, wild rice is now available in quick-cooking versions, making it convenient no matter how much time you have to cook. Because it’s partially pre-cooked, Quick-Cook Wild Rice can be ready and on the table in as little as five minutes.


Wild Rice, Cooked

Cooking makes the slender grains burst open, showing the lighter-colored interior. 


Wild Rice Flour

Yes, wild rice can be ground into a delicioius gluten-free flour and used to bake other foods. (Yes, it’s right there on Amazon. Who knew?) A warm tan in color, wild rice flour is best used when mixed with other flours, in breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles and cookies.

Photo credits above (from top):
USDA (Native harvest and grains close-up); Lundberg Family Farms (wild rice grains); Goose Valley Wild Rice (Quick-Cook Wild Rice, Wild Rice Cooked, and Wild Rice Flour)


Wild Rice makes the Grade

In California, where 70% of the wild rice eaten in the U.S. is grown, a system is widely observed for grading wild rice that has been cured, parched, hulled, and cleaned. Three main classifications are used – Grade A/Black, Grade B/Black, and Grade C/Black – based mainly on the width and length of the kernels. Grade A has the largest kernels and is divided into two groups: Jumbo and Premium. In all three grades, the rice kernel is dark brown to black in color and has a glossy sheen on the bran layer.


Grade A Black Jumbo California:
Average kernel length: 20/64” to 3⅚4”
Average kernel width: 3.⅚4” to 4.⅚4”
Average broken: 5%


Grade A Black Premium:
Average kernel length: 16/64” to 20/64”
Average kernel width: 3.0/64” to 4.0/64”
Average broken: 5%


Grade B Black
Average kernel length: 16/64” to 18/64”
Average kernel width: 3.0/64” to 3.⅚4”
Average broken: 5%


Grade C Black
Average kernel length: 12/64” to 16/64”
Average kernel width: 2.⅚4” to 3.⅚4”
Average broken: 10%


Scarified Wild Rice

Sacrified wild rice has hairline scratches on the bran layer.  These scratches are the result of the scarification process, which allows the rice to absorb water faster and thereby reduce the cooking time. Scarified Rice is also divided into Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C, but this time the grades are determined by cooking time:

Grade A: most lightly scarified; 5% brokens. Completely hydrates (cooks) in 30 minutes.
Grade B: more scarified; 12% brokens. Completely hydrates in 20 minutes.
Grade C: most scarified; 12% brokens. Completely hydrates in 15 minutes. (Photo at left is Grade C.)



During the milling process, wild rice can crack and broken kernels are created. Broken wild rice is usually ½ — ¾ of a whole kernel. Brokens are removed during the milling process to less than 5% to for premium wild rice and to <12% for standard wild rice. Broken rice absorbs liquid faster than whole kernels, which results in a faster cooking time. This rice is primarily used for blending, soup mixes, as flour, or as feed stock. Broken rice is primarily sold as a food ingredient to the beer, dog food, and rice flour industries. A small percentage is also exported. 

All photos and descriptions of wild rice grades courtesy of Goose Valley Wild Rice. Thanks also to SunWest Foods.