Rice - Post Harvest Processing! March 15 2015
What goes into the conversion of the freshly harvested rice grains (paddy) into the fragrant rice that we consume daily, without probably a thought about this process? We learnt a great deal in our search for a method to dehusk our rice perfectly :
- The rice can either be just de-husked and polished OR “Boiled” and polished to create the boiled rice (Ukade Tandool as we know it)
- Once the rice is processed, unless you put some boric powder or some chemicals, it lasts only for a couple of months without getting weevils or the small black mites in them. On the other hand, the paddy can last a whole year without any problems.
- Polishing the rice removes the nutrients from the bran layer, but ensures that the rice lasts longer.
- The local mills – (there are at least 5 of them within a 3 km radius!!!!!) will accept your paddy, but will mill it with the all the other rice that is waiting to be milled on that day. Each mill has capacities in the range of 20 to 25 quintals. So if you want a miniscule quantity like 50 to 75 kgs milled, you have to watch your lovingly grown organic paddy being poured into the giant chutes along with all the other inorganically grown rice........(sob). Besides, when such a huge quantity is being mass produced, you cannot have a wee bit of it unpolished........tch, tch tch.......
Sun drying the paddy before taking it to the Rice Mill
So we were stuck in a strange situation. We even contemplated buying our own dehusking machine, but that wasn’t so easy either. And after a lot of asking around, we finally located a Rice mill whose owner agreed to dehusk our rice without polishing it. So 75 kgs of our paddy was loaded into the car and taken to the mill. The mill owner was a very friendly guy who assured us that our rice would be done separately. And indeed, only our paddy was poured into a huge pit and he switched on the giant machinery. At the other end, the dehusked rice started falling into a channel with a sieve at the base. The fragmented grains were separated and the whole grains were all collected into another bag. The weight of this bag came to approximately 55 kgs. The 20 odd kgs of husk and fragmented rice was packed separately and we could use it for our bovine family. As we walked out of the mill, the friendly owner warned us that this brown unpolished rice has a very short shelf life. We assured him that we were aware of it and came back home with our precious booty.
The Rice Dehusked and unpolished - just as we wanted it !
And what can I say about the taste of our own home grown, organic brown rice? That the flavour as Wikipedia puts it is indeed mild, nutty with a chewy texture? And it tastes heavenly with just salt and a generous dollop of ghee in it? Or that the very humble rice-gruel or conjee as some may call it , made with a sprinkling of freshly grated coconut accompanied by some papad can hold its own against a gourmet meal? And the dosas made with this rice have a crunch and flavour that sets it apart ...........
So now we have a neat stash of paddy that we can dehusk, as and when we want, and yes our harvest is much more than what we can consume so if any of you would like a taste of this rice, you can visit our online store by Clicking on 'Products' above or drop a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till then happy reading!