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Curing for chew help requested

fieldtester96

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So early spring I got the itch to grow my own tobacco, and honestly I didn't think it would work so well, but now I got about 12 plants that are about 7ft tall and I need to start harvesting.

So the plants are a mix of Virginia, Louisiana and Tennessee. They all have some significant bug damage but I figured they would still make decent chewing tobacco. So right now I need some help coming up with what to do next.

Most of the plants are starting to lighten and the leaves are starting to curl, so should I just go ahead and harvest them all? I think I want to air cure them and skip fermenting since it's only for chew. Now should I air cure them in my wood shed? Or should I do it in my poly shed that allows sun to come through and would stay a bit warmer than the shed during the day?

I've read through quite a few posts and it seems like there is a lot of verity in how to proceed so I'm just trying to get an understanding of what you definitely not to do and what is worth a try. Since I really didn't put a lot of thought into this I'm not upset if I loose this harvest since I plan to go all out next year since I know the tobbacco grows well at my house. Any advice is welcome also if you have any ideas that you want me to try out I'm open to being a guinea pig.
 

deluxestogie

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Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum.

Not knowing the specific tobacco varieties you are growing, not knowing your specific climate zone, and having no history or photos of your plants, I will have make generalized suggestions.

If the upper leaves are showing signs of maturity, then you can consider stalk-harvesting and stalk-curing your plants. The wooden shed sounds better to me than the sun-exposed, poly shed. In many parts of Virginia, it's getting fairly late for stalk-curing (lower temps now, and average 1st frost in 2-3 weeks).

Even just for chew, you will find that either aging (a year or more) or kiln fermentation will significantly improve the quality of the leaf and its taste. Plan B would be to just air-cure it, then cook it into Cavendish, for chew.

Bob
 

fieldtester96

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Joined
Apr 14, 2022
Messages
6
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Location
Virginia
Welcome to the forum. Feel free to introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself forum.

Not knowing the specific tobacco varieties you are growing, not knowing your specific climate zone, and having no history or photos of your plants, I will have make generalized suggestions.

If the upper leaves are showing signs of maturity, then you can consider stalk-harvesting and stalk-curing your plants. The wooden shed sounds better to me than the sun-exposed, poly shed. In many parts of Virginia, it's getting fairly late for stalk-curing (lower temps now, and average 1st frost in 2-3 weeks).

Even just for chew, you will find that either aging (a year or more) or kiln fermentation will significantly improve the quality of the leaf and its taste. Plan B would be to just air-cure it, then cook it into Cavendish, for chew.

Bob
Thank you for your input, I'm in Virginia specifically the shenedoah valley. To get around the cold would putting some kind of heating element in the shed be preferable? Also would just picking the leaves and stringing them up be the best option. Again thank you for your help hopefully next year I'll have everything ready.

Also I think cooking is going to be my best bet. Its not the prettiest looking tobacco so I don't want to put to much time in it. I'd rather use it as a test batch to figure out what works best for me.
 
Last edited:

furryfreek

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Since your main aim seems to be figuring things out, my advice would generally be to experiment as much as you can. Not only to learn more but to spread your bets. Oh and [hypocrisy alert!] label things and ideally take notes before you lose track of what's what.

I'm not sure it'd be economically viable to heat a wooden shed, not to mention the fire risk. If it gets too cold to color-cure in the shed, another option would be to pile-cure leaves indoors. Once everything but a leaf's stem has yellowed/browned, temperature by itself isn't really critical, so it'd then be good to go in the shed. Periods of cold, wet weather could present a mold risk though, so it'd definitely be worth getting a few hygrometers to keep an eye on the humidity (the cheap digital ones are far more reliable than the analog equivalents, IME.)
 
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