The word cereal is derived from ceres, the Roman Goddess of grain. The common cereal crops are rice, wheat, corn, oats and rye. The term cereal is not limited to these but also flours, meals, breads and alimentary pastes or pasta. Cereal science is a study concerned with all technical aspects of cereal. It is the study the nature of the cereals and the changes that occurs naturally and as a result of handling and processing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wild rice (Zizania spp.)

Wild rice, technically not a rice and since the era of paddy production mostly not wild, is the only cereal native to North America with well documented food uses. Wild rice has been a successfully crop in California because production economics have been favorable; the crop adapts easily to basins that have been used for production in the Sacramento Valley.

Wild rice is a grass belonging to the family Gramineae, the genus Zizania, and the species aquatica (or palustris). One can easily distinguish Zizania aquatica from Oryza sativa or common white rice, the Asian staple.

There are four species of wild rice:
Northern wild rice (Zizania palustris)
Wild rice (Zizania aquatica)
Texas wild rice (Zizania texana)
Manchurian wild rice (Zizania latifolia)

This wild rice has come into modern American diet as a delicious, though expensive, substitute for true rice. Or as an additive to give true rice a special flavor and texture.

Wild rice is primarily wind pollinated, a process that ensures genetic diversity through outcrossing, In addition, the plant has some capacity for self pollination.

It is an annual plant that grows form seed. Seed germination is evident when the coleoptiles that covers the leaves breaks through outer layer of the seed.
Zizania latifolia

The stem diameter of the wild rice plant varies from ¼ to ½ inch. Internodes are hollow and divided by thin, porous partitions that allow the diffusion of gasses up and down the stem. Up to 50 additional secondary (tillers) can originate from the basal nodes.
Wild rice (Zizania spp.)

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