Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

rolling stones gather nothing but grind the grain

here is a look at our upcoming food processing center.

as we grow more grains and spices, we need to process them (de-husking, powdering, etc).
and to be reliant on our muscle power is the way to go.

so here is the line up. tamil name in bracket.
from left - idli batter grinder (aatu kal aka oral), grain grinder (enthiram), another design of idli batter grinder (aatu kal), wet masala grinder (ammi) and dry spices grinder (enthiram).



and we did the experiment with grinding wheat on the enthiram yesterday and here is the simple comparison between shop bought atta (left) and home ground atta (right) - ultra superfine shop atta vs micro fibrous home ground atta.


as a gentle aside on the benefits of home grinding, i quote from a research in rajasthan.
2 villages - one had an atta mill and the other did not, so they used the manual chakki.
comparing the delivery of babies, it was found that all the women using the manual chakki had a normal delivery and the women from the atta mill village had a majority of C-sections.
go figure.

20 comments:

Arvind said...

These grinders are fun, but don't they take a lot of time? There are mechanised stone grinders as well, I saw one here in Bangalore for around 7k. The folks at Navadarshanam http://www.navadarshanam.org/ have been using one for years and it's served them well.

csm said...

hi arvind,
mechanised = using electricity?
if yes, then we would pass on that.
also this is only meant for our own requirements. and we have all the time in the world.
even 1 hour per day gives us all the atta we need. and that is a good routine to have in the group.

am sure that ND sells a lot of flour under their brand name. which we will never do at any stage.

ChoxBox said...

whoa. what a difference.

we go the middle way - buy wheat and get it ground in a chakki. But yeah nothing like the manual stuff I bet.

Sangi said...

Came here through Choxbox. Plan on visiting regularly. Am writing an article for The Alternative (thealternative.in) on organic food.

Would you be interested in answering a few questions? If so, please send me contact info to sangithak@gmail.com.

My humble organic attempts in the city are at www.lifeandtimesinbangalore.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Flour products are considered to be not good for health, when compared to whole grains, since the sugars in the flour get absorbed quickly by the body. Health-wise coarsely ground whole grains in manual mills, eaten right after grinding, is probably the best. Next would be electric stone mills, although i haven't found a electric stone (dry) grinder so far. There are grinders with ceramic stones, but you wouldn't want to bite into the small pieces of ceramic that flake off while grinding.
If you don't have time, flour from Navadarshanam is the next best, provided the flour is what they say it is, and is reasonably fresh! But for the "common" man, bleached or bromated and sifted flour, ground on who knows what, and sitting on the shelves for who knows how long, is probably good enough. Can't understand why wheat flour is cheaper than whole wheat!

Kedar said...

Use of Oxytocin on vegetables and fruits....I think now it is time for every home and society to grow their own food...but can they grow everything???

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Alarm-over-chemicals-in-veggies/articleshow/6224569.cms

csm said...

anon - agree.
flour is cheaper becos it is made from the lowest quality/grade of wheat.

kedar - growing everything is not possible and was never possible ever.
people always ate what was available and that is what is seasonal eating is all about.
thats why communities are important. together as a group of X families, most of the basic needs are covered. village swaraj by gandhi explains this in great detail.

Arvind said...

csm, yes I meant electricity. Manual grinders are awesome, no questions. However, the electric stone grinders are great even for urban homes with little time. Anon, there are many dry stone grinders. You can usually find them in shops with industrial kitchen supplies. Navardarshanam uses two grinders. The smaller one (which is not used as often as the bigger one) is available for just under Rs. 7k if I remember right.

csm, I'd like to talk to you about something offtopic here. Could you email me arvindg at gmail? Thanks!

csm said...

arvind - i would recommend the grinder you mention for city junta. makes sense.
the gujju community still swear by that (the few i had a chance to know in bombay). in fact they have some innovative techniques for storing which invovles castor oil.
they know that the ready made atta is from the worst quality wheat and will not compromise on their rotlis :-)

sent you my number by mail.

SurveySan said...

since you are dodging me forever, i am going to have my readers list down specific questions that they would like you,karpagam and DV answer.

will consolidate and send it your way.

hope you wont mind :)

http://surveysan.blogspot.com/2010/07/blog-post_28.html

csm said...

ss - dodging is a bit stiff :-) never got your mail id.
but this process is just as fine. read your post.
will await your consolidated comments.

SurveySan said...

my apologies then.

surveysan2005 at yahoo dot com

will gather questions and send it your way soon :)

Jellicles said...

i am glad to have stumbled upon this blog.

a slightly off topic question: is there a recipe for panchagavya preparation?

csm said...

jellicles - welcome aboard.
pachakavya why?
we have not tried to make/use it yet.
hear a lot on how people use it for pest repellence and improving fruiting.
my general sense is that it is like a placebo.
a recipe i found online is here - http://www.agricultureinformation.com/forums/organic-farming/15995-panchagavya-how-make.html

Jellicles said...

oops..sorry. i thought you used it as i saw a photo of cow urine being collected for said process. also, i thought i saw a nammalvar interview from one of the earlier blog post where he refers to a modern reworked recipe for panchgavya which eliminates the ghee and curd etc. brain fart..sorry!

thanks for the link..:)

csm said...

jelli - nammalvar is at vanagam(http://vanagam.com/) these days. you could write to them for the new recipe.
we collected cow urine for the amrut paani/mitti system that is also documented.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Comments like this :
mechanised = using electricity?
if yes, then we would pass on that.
also this is only meant for our own requirements. and we have all the time in the world.
even 1 hour per day gives us all the atta we need. and that is a good routine to have in the group.

and this:
growing everything is not possible and was never possible ever.
people always ate what was available and that is what is seasonal eating is all about.
thats why communities are important. together as a group of X families, most of the basic needs are covered. village swaraj by gandhi explains this in great detail.

loved them.

Excellent work. Please keep it up. It needs lot of courage to take different path.

Vijay

csm said...

thanks vijay

Arjun said...

Well, if you guys ever get tired of grinding flour by hand, you could think of using the windmill as a wind-MILL. Though I guess even the simplest system would not be justifiable for the small quantities required for the current 4-5 people.
Maybe on a later day....

csm said...

yes arjun - plans are there for using the wind power for grain processing. like pounding and threshing.
for this specific app, a cycle type system would be more appropriate.