How to Grow Tobacco

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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet
Caliginous, or Roy, someone who has stored tobacco for at least a year!

Would you please define cool, dry place?
How cool? And how dry?

I live in a hot, humid climate, so cool and dry may not be the same to me, as to some one in a cool, dry climate. How about some numbers here? Even if estimates.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:01 pm 
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I have stored tobacco for about 10 years.

Ideally, tobacco should be stored at 70°F/70%RH

Every time tobacco dries out it looses flavor, (fine) cigar manufactures never let tobacco dry out and cigarette manufactures are also located in humid areas. Anytime the temperature is above 70°F tobacco beetles may hatch. Beatles hatching depends on whether or not one flue cured at 160°F (this high of temp should kill the eggs).


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:13 pm 
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet
Thanks, Johnson.

With 70 degrees and 70%rh will mold be an issue also? So are we better off with airflow like a fan and hanging the leaves?

Is there an indicator of having beetle eggs, that one can look for in deciding whether to take the temps up to 160 or not?

I would really prefer to let the tobacco age naturally, no kiln, beyond the color curing stage, but I simply may have to go with a kiln.

Or hit Lonnie up for some of his seeds off those plants that were good smoking just dried.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:15 pm 
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There is no mold issues at 70/70, if the container is air tight it should be opened like once a month for some air exchange. If you smell ammonia this is usually from not enough air exchange if at 70%RH. You can compact tobacco and store it, this is how the big boys do it.

Tobacco beetle eggs are in all tobacco. This is the pop you hear occasionally while smoking cigars (they don't all pop). Production cigarettes are flue cured, so the eggs are dried up and won't pop (or hatch). They need two things, moisture and heat to hatch. You could store crispy dry to avoid beetles, but you will end up with some tasteless tobacco. Not to mention tobacco does not improve with age while it's in a dry state of storage, microorganisms need moisture and air. Also, flue cured tobacco does not improve with age, the high heat kills the microorganisms.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:39 pm 
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Hi --

Ozark lady, since I know where you are, I can tell you that you could store your tobacco on a picnic table under big trees as long as the rain didn't get to it. And the wind didn't blow it away. Oh, and dust, animal hair and other detrious. I mean to say, open to the environmental temps and humidities without misting it. Hang it in your garage if you don't worry about exhaust fumes from the truck adding flavor to the smoke. (I assume you only drive trucks) Unless you like truck fumes....

This is after you have dried it crispy first, of course, although you might could color cure out in the open too where you are. You have more humidity than I have here. And the east coast has even more, so they can easily hang it outside for color cure.

Johnson, you said "if the container is air tight it should be opened like once a month for some air exchange."

I dunno about that. I've had bad mold problems in an air-tight tote I am using for natural time aging tests with a sponge for moisture. I think I'd open it daily for a while until I got the feel of it, then every 3 days. Then maybe once a week after I saw or smelled no fungus growing and that would probably be a little too long.

You are right, the flue-cured tobaccos don't age gracefully. Once you've reached 160F, all enzymes are destroyed too. They use it as the base and add other tobaccos as flavors.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:55 pm 
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Bob, I would have to say if you had issues with mold that your humidity was too high. I have tobacco stored in this manner for ten years and have never had a mold issue (sometimes months between aerating). Salt check your hydrometer and you could drop the RH to 65%. Remember RH is relative humidity, if you are storing it hotter than 70° your hydrometer will read lower. Example; If you have an air tight container at 70/70 and you raise the temperature inside to 100° your RH reading will be something like 28%.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Ozark

I have plenty of the Virginia seed so if you want some your welcome . Have Havana to . I like the smokability of the Virginia , do not like how the plant ripens up . Mines had a slight hint of yellow for 6 weeks and still no more except the top leafs .

That has me puzzled because I understand it should ripen from the bottom and go up . It has to be good ripe though as the leafs use to point straight up . Now they slowly swagged to the ground LOL I think they so heavy ripe they just drooped big time . Not sure really never fooled with this dark tobacco before .

Anyhow if you want seeds just pm your address and I'll send you some .

Lonnie


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:32 pm 
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Location: Nashville TN
Much of my last year's crop has been up in the attic for a year, and it hasn't done nothing but got better. The temperature ranges from the 50's-90's °F depending on the season. Humidity will range from the 40%-70%. Basically, all you want when you are storing tobacco is a place where it won't be disturbed, catch fire, mold, and the like.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:13 am 
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Hi --

Cameron, are you storing the leaf in air-tight containers? I have been storing my leaf waiting for the kiln in materials that breathe, like paper bags pinned shut.

Johnson, it could be that my first cut leaves were contaminated by mold and never got hot enough or dry enough to kill off the spores. I have the second batch in the kiln now and it smells a lot better than the first batch. I'm also holding the subsequent batches in my garage loft in the air (protected by plastic tent with plenty of holes for ventilation) where it stays crispy almost all the time except when it rains and haven't have mold in it.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:06 am 
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Cameron, Your humidity is high enough that it will improve. There is a good chance that you have tobacco beetles storing at those temps. The tobacco beetle is the size of a pinhead and would be difficult to notice in bulk tobacco. They eat like pigs and multiply like bunnies.

The RH limit is for mold growth (with aeration) and the temperature limit is for tobacco beetle hatching.

Bob, That sounds like a likely scenario.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:40 am 
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet
I researched tobacco beetles and found that the major tobacco manufacturers use fumigants and freezing to get rid of them.
They also do a super clean of the entire factory, all scraps of tobacco and even dust is removed prior to the new crop coming into the facility.

They set sticky traps to catch beetles, these have an attractant in them. They check these traps daily, and can monitor the severity of a beetle outbreak.
Now, the bad news, tobacco beetles aren't only in your tobacco: They also like- paprika, coriander, rice, seeds, dog food, books, leather, coffee, beans, furniture, yeast, upholstery and peanuts. And I bet you have one or more of these in your home at any given time!

Many cigar sellers have freezers large as a semi-truck. They just pull a load of cigars in there and freeze them for 3 days. Then move them to the refrigerator for one day, then to be really safe freeze them again for 3 more days. Then refrigerate them again for one day. The refrigeration is to keep the cigars from splitting their wrappers. Once you remove them, you have to watch condensation until they get back to room temp. In cigars they use cedar strips to absorb the moisture.

Freezing kills the beetles and their eggs. However, adult beetles can fly and they will return. Some manufacturers say freezing affects the flavor and others maintain it is like freezing foods and preserves the flavor.

I wonder, if the tobacco enzymes would also be killed and then no matter how well you store the tobacco it will cease aging?


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:27 am 
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I'd really like an answer to my post if you all could. seems that johnson is saying that you want to store your dried tobacco BEFORE FERMENTATION in a condition of 70/70. this is how I store cigars but they are already fermented. I am planning on storing my dried tobacco before fermentation in coolers with humidification beads that will keep the cooler around 65% humidity. Is this alright?


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:41 am 
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While freezing is the way to kill beetles, most only do one cycle (or should). Freezing degrades the tobacco and is done as a last resort. Fine cigar warehouses are climate controlled, mainly because they have millions of dollars of product to protect. Cycling warehouses worth of product though freezers on a regular bases isn't cost effective. Climate control is the simplest way to stop these pests. Climate control also promotes ideal aging conditions.

sptcigars, The RH limit is for mold growth (with aeration) and the temperature limit is for tobacco beetle hatching. Neither one cares if tobacco is fermented or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:51 am 
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Hi,

In the very first post of this thread, Roy said,
"Store uncured dried tobacco in a cool dry place. Mildew will detroy your tobacco if there is much moisture so it is best to place it into containers that can "breath". Use tupperware containers or plastic trash cans with fist sized holes cut-in to be sure air can circulate. Be sure to store it out of the reach of children, animals and thieves.
Properly stored tobacco can last a lifetime and will improve with age."

Cool to me is 60-70F. Dry to me is 40-60% rh or maybe a little less. Dry in West Texas is 1%! Cool in Alaska is 10F! (lol)

sptcigars, Roy was referring to uncured/unfermented tobacco. I have to believe Johnson when he says that 70F/70% is OK since he's done it for 10 years. Since I don't intend to to put any heat or chilling to it at all while I'm storing it and I'll be done fermenting within a few months, I'm planning on just keeping it hung in my garage where it will have the current temps/rh. Unless it freezes, then I'll bring it in the house. After I ferment, I think I'll shoot for the 70/70 rule.

Unless of course I see a good reason to change....

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Tobacco Storage Basics - How to Store Tobacco
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:56 pm 
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Location: Nashville TN
bob_kemp wrote:
Hi --

Cameron, are you storing the leaf in air-tight containers? I have been storing my leaf waiting for the kiln in materials that breathe, like paper bags pinned shut.

Johnson, it could be that my first cut leaves were contaminated by mold and never got hot enough or dry enough to kill off the spores. I have the second batch in the kiln now and it smells a lot better than the first batch. I'm also holding the subsequent batches in my garage loft in the air (protected by plastic tent with plenty of holes for ventilation) where it stays crispy almost all the time except when it rains and haven't have mold in it.

Bob


No, I just keep it in a big cardboard box. They are tied into hands of 20 or so and carefully laid on top of each other. I check on it every so often especially when I bring some down to prepare and light up.


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