Oct 10, 2019

Can you count the number of times you have eaten rice this week? use your fingers. By my calculations, everyone must have eaten rice at least twice this week, well not necessarily everyone but the point is, humans consume rice a lot, Nigerians love rice on another level; we will talk about this some other time. 

Have you ever taken a moment to think about how the rice on your plate came to be? Lemme guess; No! read further to get an insight into the processing of what is harvested on the farm into what you see in bags around you. Harvested rice from the farm is threshed (that is why you see farmers that beats rice on their farm) and dried, it is called paddy at this point. The rice is partially boiled (Parboiled) to toughen the rice so as to avoid breakage and make milling easy. Threshing is advised to be done immediately after harvesting.

1.Pre-cleaning: Removing stones, sands, shafts, and silts from the paddy at this stage is necessary or you may not like it very much by the time you chew. Beliefs in the past are that Nigerians avoided locally grown rice because they were perceived to be unclean but the fact is that the cost of destoning the rice with destoner has contributed to the price hike when compared to rice not from our nation. Findings reveal the cost of acquiring a destoner to be in the range of millions (naira) in case you are wondering why local farmers sell rice with stones, toothpick, stalks.

2. Hulling not hauling is the separation of the husk (the leafy outer covering of the rice grain), think about the prominent maize husk. Just like you can't eat your maize with the husk, you can’t eat paddy also. Thanks to technology, there is now a hand-operated machine for hulling only, which allows farmers to reduce several hours of work to a few minutes.The hulled rice is referred to as Brown Rice.

3. Milling: the most popular is milling because the rice is moving closer to what we eat already, the basic objective of a rice milling system is to remove the husk and the bran layers; also to produce an edible, white rice kernel free of impurities. milling can alter the flavor, texture, and appearance of the rice and helps prevent spoilage and extend its storage life.

4.Polishing: The core of rice grain is rich in starch, while fats, vitamins, and proteins are concentrated near the surface, is done to remove the husk, bran, and varying amounts of the nutrients contained in them, leaving a starch-rich grain. So the surface of the rice is smoothened and it is given a shine by passing it through a series of rollers making it attractive to the eyes and throat.

5. Grading: is the process of sorting and assigning rice into its classes or grades. Dead rice, broken, defectiveness of any form, thickness are graded at this point. It plays an important role in the determination of rice quality and its subsequent price in the market. If you do not like the flavor, texture, taste, aroma, appearance, cookability, or processability of a  variety of rice, it may have not been properly graded.

6. Packing: The pouches and bags are brought to filling machines where rice mass is filled, sealing machines are then responsible for the air-tight and secure sealing of the pouches/sacks. Customers see the fanciful bags and brand but before rice got into those, it has gone through alot. 

Now take a moment to appreciate the people involved in this process, let’s chow.

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