The Authentic Wild Rice Experience™
Most consumers think of wild rice as hard, black kernels that take a long time to cook and taste rather bland. While this is generally true of mass-produced paddy-grown rice, truly natural wild rice can vary widely in color — from light green or brown to dark brown — and, when properly prepared, delivers a deliciously rich, nutty flavor and delightful texture that can make it the centerpiece of a meal, not just an afterthought for the holiday table. Nett Lake Wild Rice® cooks up quickly, usually in just 15 to 20 minutes, which makes for an easy dish anytime, including breakfast! Some aficionados even enjoy popping the hand-parched rice for a tasty, healthy snack.
Natural Wild Rice from Pristine Minnesota Waters
Nett Lake, a 7,400-acre lake located on the Bois Forte Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, is the world’s largest and most prolific wild rice lake. Its remote location, far from urban areas, near the top of three major North American watersheds, naturally isolates it from sources of pollution. The Bois Forte Band allows no fertilizers, pesticides, or outboard motors on the lake, and never has. The Bois Forte Department of Natural Resources continuously monitors water quality and regulates access to prevent both premature harvesting and over-harvesting of rice.
All rice from Nett Lake is harvested by hand in the traditional way by two persons in a canoe. One person uses a long pole to push the canoe slowly through the rice beds. The other person, seated in front of the poler, uses a pair of smoothly-carved “knocking sticks” to pull the rice stalks toward the canoe and gently knock loose the ripened grains of rice. This technique ensures that only ripe grains fall into the canoe while unripe grains can continue to ripen for later harvest. Some grains – knocked loose by the wind – settle into the bed of the lake as seeds for the next year’s plants.
Processed for Optimum Quality
The high quality of Nett Lake Wild Rice® is the result of both the natural quality of the rice and the method used to process it. Soon after the green rice is harvested it is parched (roasted) to remove moisture. Nett Lake Premium Hand-Parched Wild Rice is processed in the traditional way, by hand, using wooden paddles to gently stir the green rice in parching pans over a wood fire. These methods reduce the cooking time for finished rice and preserve the distinctively robust natural flavor that sets it apart from the inferior paddy-grown, machine-harvested products that dominate supermarket shelves. After the rice is parched, it is winnowed to remove the dry outer hull, called Mazan in the original Ojibwe language.
Nutritious and Heart-Healthy
In addition to its distinctive flavor, versatility, and ease-of-preparation, Nett Lake Wild Rice® is one of the world’s most naturally-nutritious foods, low in fat and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Nett Lake Wild Rice® has been a staple of the diet of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa for centuries. Once you’ve enjoyed the authentic wild rice experience, you’ll never again be satisfied with paddy-grown counterfeits!
Because Nett Lake Wild Rice® is an uncultivated, natural product, quantities vary from year to year, depending on water levels and weather conditions. Only members of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa are permitted to harvest rice from Nett Lake. In addition to harvesting rice for personal use, individual band members market wild rice through a variety of outlets.
Some rice is purchased each year by the tribe and is available for purchase through select outlets, including this website.