Paddy rice is the individual rice kernels that are in their natural, unprocessed state. Sometimes referred to as rough rice, it is harvested directly from rice fields or paddies and transported to a processing site. As part of the processing, the protective hull is removed, leaving only the actual rice kernel for consumption.
Unlike some of the protective hulls found in many natural foods, the hull on rice is not edible, and so is usually removed during processing. Some producers parboil the rice with the hull on before milling it, which increases its nutritional value and makes it more durable. The hulls themselves can be used as animal feed and pet food, fertilizer, and as a building material.
All types of rice begin life as paddy rice, including the highly nutritious brown rice varieties. The harvested rice kernels begin processing with the removal of the hull. Every brown rice product is simply rice that has been harvested from the hull and has not been subjected to intensive processing. White rice products go on to a more comprehensive processing in order to obtain the bright white appearance that is enjoyed by many consumers.
While paddy rice is not considered good for human consumption, it is not unusual for the harvested rice to be left intact for an extended period of time. By leaving the sturdy hull on, it is possible to store the kernels for several months without incurring any product losses due to spoiling or infestation. Most manufacturers of rice products prefer to wait until the actual processing to remove the hulls, ensuring the freshness of the finished product. There are a few places around the globe where it is possible to purchase rice with the hulls on, however, and perform the threshing process in a home environment.