How to Grow Tobacco

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 Post subject: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 10
Location: San Antonio, TX
My first year growing. Most all of my harvest is tied in hands and piled in cardboard boxes in the closet, at 70 degrees/ about 50% humidity (air conditioned). This seems to be working fine, though very dry. I wanted to try something else, and due to the contention about dry vs moist aging, I decided to play with science :idea: I took some cased VA and packed half into an Altoids tin, let it sit out and dry for a day, and placed it in the humidor with my store-bought tinned pipe tobacco, cigars, etc. The other half I packed (though not as tightly) into an 8 oz mason jar with a "pouch moistener" button with a few drops of propylene glycol in it.

I left these for a month, mostly forgotten. I had more faith in the humidor, so when I tried some cavendish using the recipe for steaming on this forum (which worked wonderfully), I made two more Altoids tins and put them in the humidor. It's a bit moist in there- 75-78% sometimes, but the cigars and such are all fine. I figured in the Altoids tin (with wax paper so they didn't get metallic tasting), they would breath enough. I let them dry out for two days before putting them in the humidor.

Comparing the 'specimens':
-The boxed tobacco is still unmolded and crispy. Seems fine, but not much different from when I packed it all in there back in June.
-ALL the Altoids tins molded badly, within a week. Bad enough that when you open them green puffs of mold dust flies around. This was very frustrating, as I had high hopes and also spent 10 hrs steaming the cavendish! Lame :evil: . Also, I'd hoped that the smells and flavours from the surrounding awesomeness in the humidor would rub off on the tobacco.
-HOWEVER, the sealed jar of VA smells wonderful :!: I opened it up and there is no comparison between that and the boxed 'baccy: it clearly aged and had some kinda magic goin on in that jar. No mold and not crunchy.

I plan on using the mason jar method for the rest, but in bigger jars obviously, as I have 15 plants' worth of 'baccy.

So my questions :?: :
Why did the fresh 'baccy in the humidor mold but not the cigars & commercial tobaccy? Was it just moister? Is there an anti-fungal that the Big Guys add? was it packed too tightly?


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 Post subject: Re: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5539
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
IMO

Color cured leaf must be brought up to a sufficiently high temperature at low humidity for complete stem drying.
After this stem drying period, it should be aged or stored a low humidity, or mould growth will begin.

Apparently your humidor with freshly color cured leaf is a prime environment for mould.

Altoid tins are dandy for carrying a small amount of tobacco for daily use, or some rollies.

That's what comes to mind first off.
Hope it helps!
rc


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 Post subject: Re: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:16 am
Posts: 798
Location: near Rising Sun,Maryland USA
All pipe tobacco has mold inhibitors added to it. Your mason jar probably did not mold because you added propylene glycol (PG) to it. PG is a mold inhibitor. Additionally, the sealed jar would not have allowed any gases to escape as the tobacco leaf aged. The gases themselves might be a potent mold inhibitor by excluding oxygen. The cigars did not mold because (1) they were probably already at the perfect moisture level and (2) they are fumigated against the tobacco beetle, maybe the fumigant also contributes towards being an anti mold agent? I would guess that your Altoid tobacco was just too moist to begin with.


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 Post subject: Re: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 10
Location: San Antonio, TX
"Color cured leaf must be brought up to a sufficiently high temperature at low humidity for complete stem drying."
Thanks, RC, that's a detail that I need to observe. How high of temp though?

This particular batch was one that was cured in my back car window, where it probably reached 130 degrees- probably too hot if anything. (I need a better way to get up to temp- I want to do crockpot method, but for now I'm literally at a zero budget for these projects.) Anyway I color cured this way and then stored in a box in the closet for two months before bringing back to case and storing in the humidor. SO... I realize that this is high temp (but high humidity), and then dryness (but moderate temp). So do I need to move cardboard boxes from the 70 degree closet to a hotter area, like the attic, for final drying of the stems? Or perhaps some kind of pasteurization process, like a quick trip in the oven? Another thought- this tobacco in the humidor was also de-stemmed.

Jitterbug, I think you're right. After some dissection, I may have found the problem. I cut through to the middle of the tiny moldy Altoids bricks and found that it was still far too moist; I guess I need to leave it to dry first for a much longer period that two days before the humidor. I guess it's that simple, so maybe I'll try again.

In any case, my tentative conclusion is that cool, dry box storage is the safest. Storing with moisture may be better for flavor, but has to be *just so*.


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 Post subject: Re: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:16 pm
Posts: 1572
Location: West Central Fl.
hi
Boy lots to think here. First if temps get over 130ยบ it kills the leaves. does not ferment right. next if leaf is dried to point of crumbly it is killed also. and does not ferment right also. Next saw stems drying while stored ? was not completely color cured. if there is any green there is moisture and danger ( danger will robinson) of mould. Ovens are for toasting tobacco not curing. changes flavors but does not really age it. My guess is it was not completely color cured and had moisture in it. Stems take a while to cure. Lee


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 Post subject: Re: storing, aging, molding: experiments & failures
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5539
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
There you have it, spaceman!
Limit to 120F !

Oven?
Image

Be cautious with ovens!
:-)
rc


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