The pulses were first roasted and then stored. Today we are used to cleaned and packed grains and pulses so much that we rarely have the time to dry and clean them.
Eating organic is a symbiotic process where the consumers cannot just be buyers. They also have to work with farmers and suppliers be ready to consume the produce that is local and seasonal. That is not all one has to work on preserving non-perishables and understand the challenges of growing storing and transporting food without using chemicals.
At various stages these grains are repeatedly dried cleaned and natural control mechanisms such as neem leaves vasambu or red chillies are used to control pest infestation. Of course this does not guarantee 100 per cent protection. A few organic brands use nitrogen packing to prevent infestation. Yet the grains become infested and sometimes pretty quickly. Organic grains and pulses are attractive to pests as well. This is proof of authenticity.
More importantly these pests are not as dangerous as the chemicals used to prevent infestation. Pest problems increase during the monsoons due to moisture in the air. It is also difficult to dry them during this season.
Pests can be sassily managed. When you see a few weevils in your organic grain/pulse/millet jars you can re-use them after winnowing and cleaning or washing and drying. In the case of flours putting it through a sieve is the only way. In the pest attack hierarchy the flour gets attacked the earliest then the broken grains [rava] and then the whole grains. Among the pulses those with skin are more vulnerable to attacks than the split versions
Buy your provisions in smaller quantities and transfer them into containers preferably glass.
If it is an item you will use infrequently pop it into the refrigerator.
Drop a few shade dried neem leaves or dried red chillies into the grain or pulse bins.
Another method is to use castor oil. Warm the oil and rub it on your hands. Run the grains through your hands lightly coating the grains.
Courtesy The Hindu Sree Devi Lakshmi Kutty.