harvesting rice; a Philippine staple food


Rice is a staple food in the Philippines. We eat rice on breakfast, lunch and dinner, everyday.

once you are in the countryside, you can see ricefields almost everywhere; not as much as it used to, but still quiet plenty.

In one of our trips going to Dumaguete City, we spotted these farmers harvesting the grain and I took some shots.  The scene triggers some memory from childhood and i felt i should share it.

Harvesting it requires a special kind of knife with a curved blade. you grab a handful of the stalks and cut at the base. just be careful not to cut your hand or finger because those blades are sharp. I cut a finger when I tried it before, and luckily i did not sever it.

After cutting it, the grains need to be separated from the stalks and this is the dusty and itchy part.  Traditionally, you grab a handful and smash it on a surface with a catch at the bottom and around your area to catch all the grain and minimize waste. you smashit until all the grains are separated.

There’s a machine that’s available for rent for separating the grains we call “thresher” if you prefer not to do it manually.  it however will cost the farmer some.

Here’s a picture of the area:

Here’s a another picture of a farmer in action.

After all the grains are gathered, it will be dried.  This is how we used to do it; spread a traditional blanket “or banig” by the side of the road and let it dry.  We usually do this for a few days until it is completely dry and we bring it to a refinery to remove the husks from the grain.  Traditionally, people would use a stone grinder, but I hardly see them anymore. I saw one once when I was a child, but I have not seen one lately.

After the husks are are removed from the refinery, we would have the white grains ready for cooking.  We usually cook it steamed by the fire and whatever is leftover from the previous day, we make it into fried rice.

Yum!

A little more information:

Tagalog Cebuano/Bisaya
cooked rice kanin kan-on or luto
rice grain palay humay

Thanks for visiting and reading.

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