Wild rice is sacred in American Indian cultures, and as a member of the Ojibwe nation, I have harvested this rice by canoe on lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Because of its nutritional value and great taste, it is a favorite for entertaining. Cooking wild rice takes a little longer than white rice, and it is more expensive, but this native North American crop is now more available because it is grown throughout the world. Wild rice has more protein than other rice and 30 times more antioxidants than white rice, according to a 2009 study at the University of Minnesota.
One of my friends decided to help in the kitchen while I prepared a dinner that included my Wild Rice Saute. All was well until it came to sauteing the carrots, celery and shallot. The recipe states coconut oil, but my friend wanted canola oil because coconut oil "is bad for you." Canola oil has never been in my kitchen and never will be. There is no such plant as a canola.
Canola is a rapeseed oil that has been modified to have fewer toxic fatty acids than rapeseed oil. Why is it called canola? CAN = Canada, O = oil, LA = low acid. Putting rapeseed oil into processed foods and margarine would not sell, but the American public has readily consumed canola oil.
Coconut oil has many nutritional benefits provided from lauric acid. Coconut oil is not a fad, and numerous peer-reviewed studies can be found describing its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral effects. We do not grow coconuts in North America, so soy, corn and rapeseed oils get the advertising and use in processed foods. Hydrogenated coconut oil in nondairy creamers and toppings is not recommended because processing changes the chemical structure of the fat.
Wild rice has a chewy, nutty flavor and can be enjoyed with many foods. Any leftovers make a great breakfast.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.