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Whole Leaf Tobacco

My latest Perique Press

Jitterbugdude

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#1
Before I show you my latest one, here's is what I've been using for the past few years. It's an old apple press that I original modified to press plugs for chewing tobacco. I now use it for small boutique perique. I use a small stainless steel mug for doing small batches. This year I'm doing something a little different. I shredded the tobacco before pressing. So far this seems to be working well. When I un-press, the tobacco breaks apart very easily. This particular batch is Lemon Flue Cured.

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This is what I started with for the new one. The clamp was $3.00 at Harbor Freight. The metal was scrap I had laying around. Total time to make including metal cutting, welding and painting was about 30 minutes.

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The finished product- total cost $3.00

DSC01998.jpg


I'll be using this one to make Semois Perique.
 

deluxestogie

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#2
Your "old" Perique press looks truly industrial. Now you can use it to crack a whole bag of Brazil nuts at one time.

The new one should be less prone to inadvertent tipping than the "Y" clamp that I'm using. [It gives me the idea to epoxy a standing base onto mine. I had never thought of that before.]

Bob
 

Jitterbugdude

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#4
I don't know what the clamping force is but typically 35 psi is about average for making Perique. If I can't get enough force with this set up I'll weld a little handle on top of the threaded rod to give me more torque. I got the idea from Deluxestogie. He uses a similar bar that has the feet already built in. As for pressure, I figure if I see bubbles within a day or two I have enough.
 

deluxestogie

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#5
Rotation of the clamp screw generates sufficient pressure to rupture the cell walls of the leaf lamina. (This is evident in the translucency of the wet leaf.)

I suspect that the materials from which the threads are manufactured on these cheap clamps would fail if a torque arm is added. But you don't need it.

Bob
 

CobGuy

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#6
Very nice ... I like a simple, cheap design for home projects.

How long do you press it for and is anything added besides enough water to cover?
 

Jitterbugdude

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#7
I have a routine I use. Not based on science, just on what works for me. I spray water onto the tobacco till wet. I then press it. If a little bit of water does not come up to the rim of my wooden plate I unpress and add a little more water. I press for 2 weeks, unpack, repress and pack for 4 to 6 weeks. I repeat the process but third time around I press for about 2 months. It is done at that point but if I'm in no hurry to use it I'll leave it in the press until I'm ready.
 

Smokin Harley

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#9
20161126_142449_001.jpg
Let's see if the pic comes out ...I have found a perfect vessel and press for my freeze thaw experiment. Simple stainless steel cup from a summertime root beer vendor .2 circles of plywood .the bottom of a Greek yogurt cup that fits like a glove and a block of 2x4 to help out the inside height.
Turned down enough leaf that filled the cup more than half .squeezed it down to just about an inch thick when it squoze out juice. Stopped there.I'll give it a turn tomorrow and so on until i can't squeeze anymore. And then I wait. Leaf went in green but very limp and cell ruptured.
 

Smokin Harley

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#11
Right now I just have it standing up in a plastic milk crate that i keep my smoking chips in so its supported by the bags ,but I could probably just rest it between 2 pieces of 2 x 4 .
Exactly . yes the cup is from the refillable rootbeer wagon guy. I have 2 of these and I see them from time to time at the thrift stores so I could buy a few for an ongoing batch. perfect size for one clamp I think. one circle of plywood inside the plastic yogurt cup (which is already food grade plastic and a follower ,it fits very close the sides of the metal cup so keeps any squish out to a minimum,one circle of plywood on the bottom of the cup to keep the cup from being dented during clamping. . One bar clamp from Menards has plenty of force .
 

Smokin Harley

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#12
I took the clamp off just a minute ago to see whats going on under the plastic cup bottom. The juice that came up is dark brown and smells like a fresh pouch of cavendish ,mild aroma of vanilla-like sweetness. But the leaf below is still green like limp spinach. I rearranged the leaf and put it back under pressure. Today is supposed to hit 58 somehow...yesterday we had most of a day of rain and barely 40 degrees. But today I plan on getting a few big things moved from the garage to the barn to make room...I'm such a pack-rat and I need the space to rebuild the whelping box for the labrador to have her pups in in next few weeks.
. Might bring in a big bunch of this seasons color cured Perique leaf while its had yesterdays all day cool moisture to case up naturally to press in another one of my rootbeer cups . They seem to be the right size for a small batch and I have 2 more available. Just need to cut more wood circles.
 

Smokin Harley

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#13
Did a rootbeer cup worth of the sucker Perique leaves. The leaf in the barn today is high case ,very soft ,almost too wet to roll if it was cigar wrapper. At first I just put it in and pressed it without adding water, nothing pressed out. So, I pulled it back out and added some water and rolled the leaf around in a bucket making sure it was all wet. put it back in the cup and added the plastic , a wood round oak block and a couple pieces of 2x3 for inside height . Pressed it down and got the juice back. I bottled it up to save for when and if the liquid level gets low ,I'll top it off.
Ok, so thats 2 batches going now,just days apart, same method. One green hard frost bit mixed variety , one color cured rehydrated pure Perique suckers.
 

Smokin Harley

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#14
I checked the frost bit green leaf being pressed in the cup. I have them in the garage where it is now in the low 30's...the juice that presses off is very dark , molasses colored,smells sweet and vanilla-like but a bit raw yet. The leaf is still very green. rearranged the leaf and repressed . I'll let it go another week . If the leaf is still green by then I'm wondering if it will ever go brown.
 

Smokin Harley

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#17
I thought as much too, Bob.
Trying to figure out a spot in the house that won't get snuffled out by a curious labrador or get spilled, stuff set on, etc...
 

Smokin Harley

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#19
Since it had started to get sub freezing temps out ,the garage is no longer simply a big walk in cooler , rather a walk in deep freeze. So, I have brought the periques inside ,press and clamps nestled inside a dedicated 5 gallon bucket to prevent any drips or spillage. and are now safe from harm in the rolling room ,which happens to be across the hall from our bedroom and adjoining bathroom. Wife asks me yesterday morning what smells like poop in the hallway and was about to scold the dogs ,looking for the source of said aroma. I immediately went to check the perique. Its bubbling and thats what the smell was. I told her and she asks if its ok or needs to be thrown out. I assured her this is the expected smell during the fermentation. Today ,however I will turn it out and add the other leaf puck taken from the cup . Same leaf ,just a bigger amount now that I built the oak container.
Not much else to do today but stay in the house. Play with tobacco , drink coffee until its time to switch to whiskey or scotch... I'm kinda flexible like that.
 

Smokin Harley

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#20
the freeze/thaw leaf is now more brown than green, still raw smelling ,back under pressure.

the color cured Perique leaf that went in the oak box I just took out , reshuffled it and included the tin cup puck that was also Perique but sucker plant leaf. It is definitely changing since I started it. Took me a little grunting to get the oak top plug out since it swelled up quite a bit . I took it to the chop saw and made it 1/4 inch smaller than it was . The leaf is medium brown at this point. I took it out of the box , took most of the leaves and expanded what was crumpled and pressed . Let it air out as I did it, then put it back in . The aroma of the Perique at this point reminds me of the smells one experiences after a soaking rain walking through the woods , like sycamore tree leaves...its a sweet smell similar to allspice . I added just a little water to the leaf about every 1/3 portion back in the oak box. Then after I re-pressed it. I'll let this go as is until close to February .
 
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