Did you know that over 450 million tons of rice are consumed every year? It's a daily staple for millions of people, and after maize, it is the second most consumed cereal grain in the world. Our gallery of rice harvest photos yesterday made us curious about how rice actually gets from plant to plate. Here are a few photos that show the threshing and winnowing process up close.
• Top image: Freshly threshed rice seeds. Notice how different the rough brown grains look - they're aren't the pearly beads we're used to seeing. By Flickr member IRRI, International Rice Research Institute.
• For an up-close look at rice threshing (getting the grain off the stalk) we found these images from a Japanese kindergarten and their rice project. Here a child is using an old-fashioned comb to rake the rice seeds off the stalks. Image by Flickr member daedrius.
• The rice comes right off, but the outer hulls and bran are still intact. Image by Flickr member daedrius .
• Here the rice is being machine-polished of its bran to make gleaming white rice. Image by Flickr member daedrius.
• Here's another way to remove the rice from its hull, demonstrated by a woman in the Philippines. Image by Flickr member Keith Bacongco.
• And another - this time in Nepal. Image by Flickr member ah zut.
• Mounds of unmilled rice in Thailand. Image by Flickr member IRRI, International Rice Research Institute.
• The hand harvesting and milling of rice is very labor-intensive. Even small farmers in China and India now often use threshing machines. Image by Flickr member zrim.
• Image by Flickr member Carolincik.