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Curing/drying/finishing help needed!!

Stradders

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First attempt at growing tobacco, so bare with me

Sowed the seeds end of March, put outside in polytunnel in May. Some of my plants have started to flower, but for a few months now I've been picking off the lower leaves on my plants when they've been going yellow.

IMG_20210903_201724.jpg

These are my smaller outdoor plants that I removed from the polytunnel as the others got too big

I've also been priming the odd leaf inside the polytunnel, basically any leaf that starts to yellow or go pale green. Then I rinse the crap off under the tap, and hang them individually for the water to evaporate.

Then I've been hanging them in my living room in bunches of 6 on some string I knotted, using a jumbo paperclip.

IMG_20210903_201808.jpg
IMG_20210903_201816.jpg

Some have gone a nice light brown and smell nice too, so I've picked one, shredded it and tried to smoke it. It doesn't roll very well at all, not very strong, tastes like a garden leaf and the rolled cigarette burns out really quickly.

IMG_20210903_201845.jpg

To enhance the taste I've mixed some water, vodka and honey and sprayed the shreds, but doesn't make a difference? What am I doing wrong?

I've just read on here the humidity needs to a certain percent but how do you know what your humidity is? The weather is mild over here in the UK, and is forecast to rain soon, but I don't have a shed or anything so they can be placed outside in the humidity?

I've just been hanging the leaves until they go as dark and dry as possible, isn't that tobacco?!! The browned leaves have been very dry when I've shredded and tried them. Am I right in thinking that you pick the leaf and hang dry it, then put it somewhere humid when it's gone yellow/brown?
 

Hayden

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Its all right what you did. You air cured it now its time to age or better kiln it.
What sort did you grow ?
You will need a small isolated box with an heating element to ferment it by heating it to about 50-55 celsius (the leaf needs to be somewhat moist) for about a month.
You can also put it in a plastic bag spray it a little bit with wather and put it in your car and park it in the sun.
Or you just let it hang but that will take the longest time.
 

Knucklehead

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First attempt at growing tobacco, so bare with me

Sowed the seeds end of March, put outside in polytunnel in May. Some of my plants have started to flower, but for a few months now I've been picking off the lower leaves on my plants when they've been going yellow.

View attachment 38702

These are my smaller outdoor plants that I removed from the polytunnel as the others got too big

I've also been priming the odd leaf inside the polytunnel, basically any leaf that starts to yellow or go pale green. Then I rinse the crap off under the tap, and hang them individually for the water to evaporate.

Then I've been hanging them in my living room in bunches of 6 on some string I knotted, using a jumbo paperclip.

View attachment 38703
View attachment 38704

Some have gone a nice light brown and smell nice too, so I've picked one, shredded it and tried to smoke it. It doesn't roll very well at all, not very strong, tastes like a garden leaf and the rolled cigarette burns out really quickly.

View attachment 38705

To enhance the taste I've mixed some water, vodka and honey and sprayed the shreds, but doesn't make a difference? What am I doing wrong?

I've just read on here the humidity needs to a certain percent but how do you know what your humidity is? The weather is mild over here in the UK, and is forecast to rain soon, but I don't have a shed or anything so they can be placed outside in the humidity?

I've just been hanging the leaves until they go as dark and dry as possible, isn't that tobacco?!! The browned leaves have been very dry when I've shredded and tried them. Am I right in thinking that you pick the leaf and hang dry it, then put it somewhere humid when it's gone yellow/brown?
As Hayden says the leaf will need to be aged by natural fermentation over time or “speed aging” in a home built kiln. Natural aging can take a year or years depending on variety and the intersection of the correct humidity and temps for the natural fermentation to occur. Kilning can accomplish that in 4-8 weeks.
Threads on fermentation:

https://fairtradetobacco.com/forums/fermenting.35/

Your leaf looks good, it will just have a raw grassy flavor until it has aged.

”Case” is how we describe how much moisture is in the leaf. Store in low case so that it continues to age and to avoid mold. Post # 7:
 

Stradders

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Thanks for the replies.

I bought Amber Leaf seeds off eBay, but to me the leaves look like golden Virginia. I've googled the different types and by the flowers and leaves it seems to be Nicotiana Tabacum.

It doesn't sound like I'm going to be able to build a kiln, and the weather is already turning very Autumn like here, so won't have much sun to put them in the car to ferment. Any other ideas?
 

Oldfella

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The leaf stems as in your pictures appear to be be fairly white, this leads me to believe that they are one of the white stem burly varieties. I've only grown a few of these and the only one I found that was smokeable straight away was Yellow twist bud. I don't know if you're law's allow import of tobacco leaves but if they do I would suggest that you get some leaf from WLT that would enable you to play around with blending. When you find what you like check out NWS,The owner Skychaser is a member of this site and supplies Seeds to members at a very reasonable price.
Oldfella
 

deluxestogie

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@Oldfella makes an interesting observation. If this is a white-stem burley, then the color of the lamina is not a good indicator of when the leaf has fully cured. White-stem burleys have a genetic hiccup that impacts its chlorophyll, so when curing they lose their green before the other necessary chemical changes of curing have completed. Also, this seems quite early in the season to have smokable burley. Here in southwest Virginia, mid-to-late November is about the earliest for burley to start to become smokable. Even the whitest of white-stem burley will ultimately color-cure to a medium-to-dark brown.

Bob
 

Stradders

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If this is too early to smoke the leaves, do I need to be leaving them on the plant for longer or air curing them for longer?

Also what's WLT and NWS?

When I put the leaves in a plastic bag with a spray of water in my car, won't they stick together and go mouldy? If I build a kiln, do I hang them in there of put them in piles? If so won't they go mouldy?
 

Oldfella

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I would say that you are probably smoking them too early, looking at your pictures they don't look reddy for smoking yet. You can leave them on the plants longer but as you've already picked them just let them hang longer. The leaf stems need to be dry and crisp before attempting to try smoking them, Even then they will probably need ageing.

NWS = Northwood seeds.

WLT = Whole Leaf Tobacco.

This one's found in the Wiki in the menu bar.
As for putting the leaves in a plastic bag and putting it in your car, I've never done it so I don't know. In a kiln I hang them but other members put then plastic tubs. Check through the forums on curing Tobacco and see if you can find a method that works for you.
Oldfella

[links added by @deluxestogie]
 
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Hayden

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If this is too early to smoke the leaves, do I need to be leaving them on the plant for longer or air curing them for longer?

Also what's WLT and NWS?

When I put the leaves in a plastic bag with a spray of water in my car, won't they stick together and go mouldy? If I build a kiln, do I hang them in there of put them in piles? If so won't they go mouldy?

They will not stick together if you put them into a plastic bag. The danger of mold depends on the moisture level and temperatur. Over 50 celsius you wont have mold so kilning them is mold free.
If you do the car plastic bag methode you want to have an low moisture level so spray it with just a little bit of water and aim for low case.
 
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