Whole grains contain much more nutrients as compared to processed grains. Conversely, the processing of grains helps to remove inedible and indigestible parts. As a result, the refined grain ends up having only key digestible nutrients free of contaminants and inedible parts. Ultimately, processed grains still retain their nutritional benefits and are healthier for kids.
1. Cutting, Cleaning, and Separation
The initial step occurs at a time when processing grains is to cut the grains from the top of the plant. The cutting can be done manually using a hand or mechanically using a combine-harvester. Once cut, the grains are ready to be taken through the primary processing. The grains are cleaned, graded, sorted, and dehusked in this processing phase.
Grains are usually covered by non-edible cellulose fibers called husks or hulls. So, the grains are passed through cleaners and graders. This helps to remove the non-edible husk cover and grade grains into various quality portions. The removal of husks can be done by advanced mechanical methods or hands.
At this point, the grains are edible and available for consumption. Alternatively, you can convert the grains into value-added products through secondary processing.
2. Dry and Wet Milling
Dry and wet milling can be explained using corn as an example. In dry milling, corn is ground and cooked. It is then allowed to ferment, resulting in ethanol, alcohol, and CO2 formation. This is done on a large scale for commercial and industrial use.
On the other hand, wet milling uses water to separate the bran from the kernel. This is mostly used in the food industry. The vital byproducts of wet milling include palatable cornstarch and corn oil.
3. Drying of the Grains
Processed grains must be dried before storage in a warehouse waiting for consumption or further processing. Drying helps to obtain optimum moisture content as recommended. Drying grains can be challenging as they require sufficient space and heat.
Usually, grains are dried in the sun, especially for smaller farms. However, large agricultural farms will have to use large-scale industrial dryers. This ensures the grains are dried within the shortest time possible to prevent spoilage. More importantly, grains should be dried evenly.
4. Storage of the Processed Grains
Dried grains should be packed with care in suitable packaging material in readiness for storage. One of the advanced techniques for grains storage is by use of silo. Silos are huge, with capacities to store up to 100 tons of grain. During storage, you should check the condition of your silo to prevent spoilage of the grains.
In addition, to protect the grains from environmental factors that could damage the grains, you must take care. Such factors include rodents, moisture, temperature, and more.
Grain processing has two main phases. Primary processing converts grain to ready for eating or secondary processing into value-added products. Additionally, you should understand that the shelf life of grains depends on factors like moisture content. Thus, you must store dry grains under optimum conditions.