Although fermenting rice might seem like a bit much, when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, fermenting anything is well worth it. Generally speaking fermented foods always have more vitamins than their un-fermented counterparts, and naturally fermented foods also have a healthy variety of bacteria that build immunity and aid with digestion. These “probiotics” or live cultures can only be found in fermented products such as pickles and yogurt, and some high quality natural supplements. Grains, nuts and beans all contain phytic acid, and when this is active in a food it inhibits mineral absorption and wreaks havoc on your digestive system. (I often use sandpaper as an analogy. You eat healing foods to coat your digestive tract, while “fiber,” whole wheat, bran and most “super foods” just blast your system. It not only scratches the surface, but prevents vital mineral absorption leaving you malnourished and uncomfortable.)
Soaking nuts and most grains really helps with this problem, and it really is easy to do. I have a variety of things fermenting, soaking or simmering at any given time. Wild rice and brown rice are much less straight forward when it comes to proper preparation. Brown rice and soy in particular are really only great sources of nutrients when they are fermented, with soy that means a really long fermentation usually for over a one year period. (This can only be found in the best quality miso’s and soy sauces.) Without properly preparing brown rice you could be eating a “super food” that in fact is doing more damage than good.
Fermenting rice is super-duper simple and it can even be consumed entirely raw if you so choose. Live food encourages life, and some people really like raw fermented rice. In my opinion I have found that for the best taste and digestion, cooking is ideal. Since the rice has been soaked/fermented the cooking time is much, much shorter. (Down from approximately one hour to around twenty-five minutes.) The texture is much more pleasant and the taste is pleasantly nutty.
Fermented Wild Rice-
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups Wild Rice
- Cold Water
- Place rice in a glass (non metallic) jar and cover with cold water.
- Loosely tighten the lid.
- Allow the Rice to ferment for 3-4 days at room temperature.
- Drain, rinse and refill with cold water once per day. If Desired- (see note)
Note: Some say that rinsing and draining away the liquid can reduce the amount of nutrients. It is assumed that along with the reduction of phytic acid , the beneficial minerals also are degraded. Without rinsing the rice becomes mushy and the water becomes very murky.
Fermented Wild Rice Salad-
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
For The Salad-
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups fermented wild rice, cooked if desired (see note)
- 2-3 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons mint, minced
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 to 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1-2 carrots, diced
- Combine Dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
- Combine dressing with all remaining ingredients.
- Allow to marinate 20-25 minutes.
- Serve cold or room temperature with lots of extra parsley and mint.
Note: Fermentation creates beneficial bacteria and enzymes, the rice becomes a nutrient dense carbohydrate when the phytic acid is neutralized. Once soaked and/or fermented wild rice CAN be consumed entirely raw. It is simply a matter of taste. Without boiling the fermented wild rice is much chewier like a farro or wheat berry.
Cooking Instructions- Rinse fermented wild rice and place in a medium sauce pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. (medium to low heat setting) Simmer and stir occasionally for 20-25 minutes. The cooking time is drastically lower than usual since it has soaked for three days! Once tender enough to your liking rinse the rice under cold water to stop the cooking and prevent clumping. Do not over cook it! Check it after about 15 minutes to see if it is to your taste. You can’t un-cook mushy rice.
Try These Idea’s for Variations- Add or leave out whatever you desire!
- Curried- Use 1-2 teaspoons of Curry Powder, Sultana’s (golden raisins) & Pistachios
- Goji Berries & Toasted Almonds
- Walnuts & Dried Pears or Pecans & Apples
- Toasted Sesame Seeds with lots of Green Onions, Tahini and Ginger
- “Tabbouleh”- Add TONS of Parsley, I mean TONS. Use tomato and cucumber instead of celery and carrot. Use lemon juice instead of vinegar. (Even add feta if you’d like!)
- Spring Salad- Use shaved asparagus and split peas in place of celery and carrot. Add Parmesan or Goat Cheese.
- Autumn Salad- Roast cubes of pumpkin or squash to toss in. Substitute Apple Cider Vinegar with Balsamic Vinegar. Be sure to add a drizzle of maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon!
- Cashew Chicken- Use A tablespoon or two of toasted sesame oil instead of olive oil, Add Cashews, Cooked Diced Chicken, and Ginger. Use snow peas instead of celery and use lots of Green Onions ! (use gluten free soy sauce, maybe a bit of nut butter if you like)
- Try a Miso Dressing with lots of snow peas and whatever fresh greens you have.