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TikToker Offers Fascinating Look Into How Wild Rice Is Harvested—And It's A Lot Of Work

Foraging expert Samuel Thayer showed his traditional technique for harvesting wild rice in an eye-opening TikTok video.

TikTok screenshots of Samuel Thayer harvesting wild rice

A man on TikTok has gone viral after posting a fascinating video showing how wild rice is harvest.

The video, which has been view 12.7 million times so far, gives viewers a glimpse of the rigorous and careful work that goes into making just one 20 pound bag of manoomin.

Foraging expert Samuel Thayer chronicled the entire process.

He first showed how kernels are collected. The rice stalks growing in lakes or streams are basically beaten with two sticks over the side of a canoe, separating the kernels from the stalk and ultimately collecting the kernels in the bottom of the boat.

Once back on land, Thayer walked us through the process:

"I spread the rice out evenly to dry. Stir the rice periodically. Clean out grain heads and leaves."
"Once the rice is dry i stuff it back in the gunny sacks."

He then began the parching process:

"I find the ideal-sized batch to parch at once is a little more than half a bushel."

Thayer then shared the three purposes to parching the grains:

"The first one is to make the kernels hard and still."
"The second one is to drive off the moisture in the chaff [the husk] so that the chaff becomes extra brittle and rubs off more easily."
"The final purpose is to burn off the small irritating barbs that would make the rice dangerous and uncomfortable to stand in."

Thayer continued parching in his cast iron and copper pots:

"Keep the rice moving over high heat. We tilt the kettle so that gravity does half the work while we're stirring it."
"When the batch is done, you'll see a nice toasted color to the rice, and you'll also see a black dust that appears in the bottom. And the black dust will be smoking as you stir it."
"Then you know you're just about ready to pull that batch off."

Thayer then described the "dancing" process:

"I dance my rice in a 15 gallon white oak barrel with the top cut off."

As he poured the rice in the barrel, he stated that you should do this step while the rice is still warm.

Thayer flashed his handcrafted buckskin leggings he uses to protect his feet, but stated that you can easily make your own by just cutting of a pair of jeans at the knee, sewing the end shut, and duct taping them at the top to your pants.

Then, Thayer began his dance:

"You start out gently so you don't kick the rice out of the barrel."
"If you think you're almost done, you're not even halfway done. When you're positive you're done, then go for about five more minutes like this."

He braced himself by holding a tree and then began to dance furiously, essentially running in place.

Upon finishing this dancing, Thayer showed a handful of smaller, powder-covered rice.

Next, Thayer walked through the process of winnowing, using the wind and shaking the rice in a tray to get rid of the remaining chaff.

"The downward snapping of the tray creates suction that pulls the chaff out of the end of the tray."

Thayer proudly held up his finished product:

"20 pounds of manoomin, the best food in the world."

Check it out below.


Harvesting and processing wild rice the traditional way.#foraging #wildrice #manoomin @alexisnikole @chaoticforager @mnforager @feralforaging

Viewers of the video were absolutely fascinated.











After seeing all the hard work, dedication and love poured into each batch, we will never eat wild rice again without thinking of this video!