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  1. #1
    Senior Member Orson Carte's Avatar
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    Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Could someone please explain why the traditionally air-cured varieties (burley/ Maryland) cannot not simply be flue-cured? It would seem to me a greatly quicker and easier way of doing it.
    Is there something inherent in the physiological make-up of burley that means it cannot be simply treated just like brightleaf?
    Or is there some desired quality that can only be achieved by the much lower heat and slower drying in the atmosphere?
    Time flies like an arrow. Horse flies like a ripe tobacco leaf.

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    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Quote Originally Posted by Orson Carte View Post
    ...burley/ Maryland...cannot not simply be flue-cured?
    Is there something inherent in the physiological make-up of burley that means it cannot be simply treated just like brightleaf?
    I've never tried flue-curing a Maryland variety. Flue-cured burley tastes awful and burns poorly. And there is a physiologic reason for that--at least for the white-stem burleys that I've grown.

    While a (living) leaf is yellowing in the shed, it is also metabolizing its starches and albuminous proteins. The two separate processes (turning yellow, and breaking down the non-smokable compounds) usually occur simultaneously. Once the leaf is yellow, then dies (on turning brown), both processes are fairly complete.

    But that's not the case with white-stem burley, which suffers from a genetic defect in its chlorophyll production. The leaf yellows long before the leaf actually dies, since it already has a head start on the chlorophyll degradation. So the fully yellowed leaf still hasn't died, and hasn't finished the other job. When you flue-cure it, you abort the oxidation of starches and proteins. Thus, unsmokable leaf.

    Some Orientals flue-cure well; other don't come out so nice.

    The basic idea of flue-curing isn't the color, so much as capturing the high sugar, before it breaks down. Flue-cure varieties have relatively high sugar content to start with. Burley and Maryland both have very low sugar content.

    Bob

  3. #3
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Do you have an Auto advancing thermostat Orson ? I thought you had the same cheap digital stat as me ? Air curing seems much easier to me, baby sitting the stat has caused me a lot of head ache.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Orson Carte's Avatar
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiGrown View Post
    Do you have an Auto advancing thermostat Orson ? I thought you had the same cheap digital stat as me ? Air curing seems much easier to me, baby sitting the stat has caused me a lot of head ache.
    No, I'm afraid I don't. However, next year I hope to install a programmed control.
    Once you've got the flue-chamber sorted out it's a helluva lot easier, less time-consuming and makes a great finished product with brightleaf, the likes of which I certainly haven't achieved in the past with air-curing.
    Time flies like an arrow. Horse flies like a ripe tobacco leaf.

  5. #5
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    What sort of programmable control are you planning on using ?

    I can't really find anything for Auto advance.

    I'm looking into using a Raspberry Pi (it's a single board computer about the size of a business card) people have used them for meat curing, house climate control etc. Looks like you could repurpose there software for our purpose.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Orson Carte's Avatar
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiGrown View Post
    What sort of programmable control are you planning on using ?

    I can't really find anything for Auto advance.

    I'm looking into using a Raspberry Pi (it's a single board computer about the size of a business card) people have used them for meat curing, house climate control etc. Looks like you could repurpose there software for our purpose.
    When I said I was going to install it next year I was cutting myself a bit of slack.
    I don't really know what I'll use - I'll be relying on a mate, who tells me it's simple. But that remains to be seen.
    Anyway, you're the electrician. When you figure it out I'll be waiting.
    At the moment, adjusting the controller manually is no problem for me. I just happen to be around home a lot.
    From what I've learned in here lately you certainly wouldn't want a too rigidly controlled program. At the various stages you'd want to be able to easily vary it, where necessary. (eg. Those prescribed first 'two' days of yellowing aren't necessarily always exactly two days, etc).
    What I think I want is just something that will handle each day. The most critical element (I believe) are the gradual increments as the temperature climbs up to the next plateau, and then settles there. The next day the next set of increments could be dialled-in.
    I think that a totally automated program, where you switched-on and then went awol for six days, would be just a little bit too risky.
    Time flies like an arrow. Horse flies like a ripe tobacco leaf.

  7. #7
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Controls is almost it's own specialty, most us electricans are capable of wiring it but designing it is another kettle of fish.

    I've not much experience in control gear, your brother would have a better idea of what's available but it would probably be quite expensive I would think, what I was thinking of might cost around $100 dollars but it would require a bit of playing around and would be unknown how reliable it would really be.

    I don't want full automation I just want to program the 4 stages and you manually switch to each stage with manual override of course.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Orson Carte's Avatar
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    It would seem to me what you're looking for here is a 'simple' program that would advance the temperature at the rate of 1.0 degree C each hour, then hold indefinitely until manually stopped or programmed for the next set of increases.
    (The 1.0 degree per hour approximately conforms to all three gradients on the graph).

    Compared to rocket science it should be simple but, then again, I'm no rocket scientist. Next season, okay.

    ps. Then there's the humidity factor. But what I've found, so far, that in a well-insulated chamber, it pretty much takes care of itself (with a very small amount of occasional vent-tinkering).
    Time flies like an arrow. Horse flies like a ripe tobacco leaf.

  9. #9
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Exactly right, I think I've found a program that can do it to and could regulate humidity even if you have dampers with solenoids, all I need is an appropriate sensor, relay and the time to set up the software. Probably a total cost of $100 NZD.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Orson Carte's Avatar
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    Re: Flue-Curing Versus Air Cured

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiGrown View Post
    Exactly right, I think I've found a program that can do it to and could regulate humidity even if you have dampers with solenoids, all I need is an appropriate sensor, relay and the time to set up the software. Probably a total cost of $100 NZD.
    Well, that sounds like a pretty cheap enhancement, to me.
    Especially when you consider it's about the same cost (to NZers) as two ounces of store-bought RYO tobacco.
    Time flies like an arrow. Horse flies like a ripe tobacco leaf.

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