Whole Leaf Tobacco

Curing cigarette tobacco

Bramleyjordan

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For long term storage, the tobacco should be either:
  • bone dry (easily crumbles to dust, and won't age at all)
  • low case (just barely flexible, will slowly age at temp above 60°F)
The duration needed to adequately age, under natural conditions, varies with the variety of tobacco and priming level. It can range from several months to several years. That's why a tobacco kiln is helpful--to dramatically shorten the aging process. For Virginia type tobaccos, you can go the primitive route, though the product from flue-curing is dramatically better.

Bob
Okay, all I know is the tobacco seed i grew is Amber Leaf which is a known UK brand of tobacco - i am not sure what this falls under regarding types.
Overall, I am looking to smoke my own as soon as possible but understand they need to age for a period of at least 3 months (correct me if this is incorrect info I have gathered)
I have harvested leaves as they become yellow, hanging them in my tent until they go completely yellow / brown and then am putting them in a vacuum bag (not sealed, just folded over a few times).
I would say they are medium case at the moment, based on everything I've said, am I doing the process correctly? Maybe I should let them dry to low case and put them back in the bag?
 

deluxestogie

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Wikipedia said:
In 2012, Amber leaf released "Amber leaf blonde" in the United Kingdom. Amber leaf blonde was made to provide adult smokers with a smoother taste by using a premium quality Virginian blend of tobacco.
Amber Leaf is a brand of commercial tobacco, rather than a variety of tobacco. So seed claiming to be Amber Leaf could be anything.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Okay, all I know is the tobacco seed i grew is Amber Leaf which is a known UK brand of tobacco - i am not sure what this falls under regarding types.
Overall, I am looking to smoke my own as soon as possible but understand they need to age for a period of at least 3 months (correct me if this is incorrect info I have gathered)
I have harvested leaves as they become yellow, hanging them in my tent until they go completely yellow / brown and then am putting them in a vacuum bag (not sealed, just folded over a few times).
I would say they are medium case at the moment, based on everything I've said, am I doing the process correctly? Maybe I should let them dry to low case and put them back in the bag?
As part of my curing process I dry the leaf until the stems are crispy, crunchy dry and then bring the leaf back into low case for storage, handling, or kilning. If the stem is not fully dried out first it may still be alive and can rot. It will first become soft and then turn black. I make sure it is dead. Also, in my experience, the stems seem to hold more moisture and can mold, even if the lamina seems fine. Something to watch out for, and one reason I slowly bring the leaf up to low case so I don’t overshoot my mark.
 

Bramleyjordan

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As part of my curing process I dry the leaf until the stems are crispy, crunchy dry and then bring the leaf back into low case for storage, handling, or kilning. If the stem is not fully dried out first it may still be alive and can rot. It will first become soft and then turn black. I make sure it is dead. Also, in my experience, the stems seem to hold more moisture and can mold, even if the lamina seems fine. Something to watch out for, and one reason I slowly bring the leaf up to low case so I don’t overshoot my mark.
Okay that sounds good. In this case, I will open the bag to completely dry them out and then will try to make them low case. Do they stay in the bag, low case, for 3 months and then ready to smoke?
Thanks so much for your help so far!
 

Knucklehead

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Okay that sounds good. In this case, I will open the bag to completely dry them out and then will try to make them low case. Do they stay in the bag, low case, for 3 months and then ready to smoke?
Thanks so much for your help so far!
Naturally aging the leaf may take years of testing and sampling until it tastes nice. We use home built kilns that “speed ages” the process in two months. Here is mine, others use different materials to arrive at the same place.

 

Bramleyjordan

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Naturally aging the leaf may take years of testing and sampling until it tastes nice. We use home built kilns that “speed ages” the process in two months. Here is mine, others use different materials to arrive at the same place.

This is my leaves right now, they are very small but I wanted to use these to test the curing process. They are a little crunchy bit flexible. I know a little green is on them :). What do you think?
 

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Knucklehead

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I saw this site earlier, the virgina gold, do you think this will be best choice for me, in the UK?
There’s that rabbit hole I mentioned. Everybody has their own preferences.
Pipe or cigarette? How much room do you have for growing?
From the list in the UK site, Cherry Red is in my top three favorites of the flue cure varieties I have grown. Great for pipe and cigarette and an amazing producer. The production could be a factor if you are tight for space.
 

Knucklehead

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This is my leaves right now, they are very small but I wanted to use these to test the curing process. They are a little crunchy bit flexible. I know a little green is on them :). What do you think?
They look great. I would trim the green out, once they dry green there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. It will have a grassy chlorophyll-y flavor and will influence your blend. It happens.
 

Bramleyjordan

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There’s that rabbit hole I mentioned. Everybody has their own preferences.
Pipe or cigarette? How much room do you have for growing?
From the list in the UK site, Cherry Red is in my top three favorites of the flue cure varieties I have grown. Great for pipe and cigarette and an amazing producer. The production could be a factor if you are tight for space.
When growing outside, ill be looking to put them in pots (due to potentially moving house this year) and will probably grow 5 or 6 in pots. Okay, ill go for cherry red as I am clueless :)
 

Knucklehead

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When growing outside, ill be looking to put them in pots (due to potentially moving house this year) and will probably grow 5 or 6 in pots. Okay, ill go for cherry red as I am clueless :)
It’s subjective. You could grow half of each, compare, and decide what you prefer. There are probably threads here asking what’s the best flue cure variety and the resulting answers will be all over the map. One of the reasons for growing my personal favorite is because the plant itself is just gorgeous! Lol. :D Have fun.
 

Bramleyjordan

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It’s subjective. You could grow half of each, compare, and decide what you prefer. There are probably threads here asking what’s the best flue cure variety and the resulting answers will be all over the map. One of the reasons for growing my personal favorite is because the plant itself is just gorgeous! Lol. :D Have fun.
Thank you for all your advice, its really helped! Enjoy the rest of your day
 

Bramleyjordan

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It’s subjective. You could grow half of each, compare, and decide what you prefer. There are probably threads here asking what’s the best flue cure variety and the resulting answers will be all over the map. One of the reasons for growing my personal favorite is because the plant itself is just gorgeous! Lol. :D Have fun.
I have just purchased insulation etc to make a homemade Kiln. I should be able to have it built and ready in the next few weeks. Just a few questions on this, at which temp and humidity level should be kept inside? Also, while I build and get the Kiln ready, how should I store my already cured leaves? Shall i let them dry out completely or keep them low case until it arrives? Should the leaves go in the Kiln low case to begin with?
Thanks
 

Alpine

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The “mantra” of home kilning is 4 weeks at 52 (or 54)C and 75 (or 70)% relative humidity. Of course, you can leave the tobacco in the kiln for longer (and with some strains it is beneficial) but a month or so of kilning and a couple of weeks of rest is usually enough. Put the leaves in the kiln at whatever moisture content you want since it will equalize with the kiln humidity in a day or so. Always store your tobacco in low case: better have some unaged tobacco than some moldy rotten trash only good for the compost pile!

pier
 

Bramleyjordan

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The “mantra” of home kilning is 4 weeks at 52 (or 54)C and 75 (or 70)% relative humidity. Of course, you can leave the tobacco in the kiln for longer (and with some strains it is beneficial) but a month or so of kilning and a couple of weeks of rest is usually enough. Put the leaves in the kiln at whatever moisture content you want since it will equalize with the kiln humidity in a day or so. Always store your tobacco in low case: better have some unaged tobacco than some moldy rotten trash only good for the compost pile!

pier
Amazing! Thanks so much for the solid advice!!!
 

Knucklehead

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I have just purchased insulation etc to make a homemade Kiln. I should be able to have it built and ready in the next few weeks. Just a few questions on this, at which temp and humidity level should be kept inside? Also, while I build and get the Kiln ready, how should I store my already cured leaves? Shall i let them dry out completely or keep them low case until it arrives? Should the leaves go in the Kiln low case to begin with?
Thanks
A thread of Deluxestogie’s kiln build using different joinery than mine and with the wood on the inside. Naturally it has more of the science behind the whydunnit. Good read.

 
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