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Does vacuum sealing tobacco leaf stop aging?

jmg362

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Hi all, I am not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but I just wanted to ask if aging still occurs in vacuum sealed leaf. Over the last few months I've been able to acquire some different types of tobacco from various parts of my country. Most of these are cigar leaf, but I was recently able to get my hands on some virginias and burley, and these were recently harvested and will need some time to age.

My main concern is that because of the warmth of our climate, tobacco beetles are now appearing in my raw cigar leaf, and I cannot freeze them all in one go given my limited freezer space. I am also afraid that the beetles will move to my other leaf. So I am thinking of vacuum sealing them so that the beetles will not be able to migrate to my other leaves, and I will be able to freeze them in batches. However, will my leaves continue to age when vacuum sealed? I suppose leaving a bit of air and not totally vacuuming it out will help?
 

deluxestogie

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I can't really answer your question about vacuum sealing. I have never tried that. Aging does require some oxygen, though a vacuum sealed bag may contain enough for oxidation to occur.

If you simply close the bags containing tobacco, then tobacco beetles cannot migrate from one container to the next.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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The oxidation that is required for aging also requires water because its not a mere passive chemical reaction like rusting steel. During curing, it is enzymatic and involves breaking a water molecule. Therefore it is technically hydrolysis and not oxidation. According to Leffingwell
Basic Chemical Constituents of Tobacco Leaf
and Differences among Tobacco Types
(1955), during curing hydrolysis is responsible for release of amino acids, ammonia, breakdown of starches, and formation of aromatic flavour compounds. Although this research was done with curing tobacco, the fact that these very same changes appear to be continuing with tobacco after curing (at a slower rate) is evidence that may support the idea that its still the same reactions.

Edit: While this isn't conclusive science, the idea that tobacco passively oxidizes like steel is also naive. (you don't even need oxygen to rust steel, given the right conditions)

Tobacco clearly ages without air, but it doesn't produce the same results. I wouldn't say the difference is good or bad. At the extreme, consider andullo, carottes, and various forms of plug where tobacco is aged inside wood blocks or bamboo. I have my own anecdotal evidence of airtight ropes stored in plastic coming out with significant age related changes.

Re. Beetles
You don't have to freeze it. Refrigerator temperatures work too. Approximately one month at 5deg C will also work.
beetles.jpg
 
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GWLee

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I was thinking closely about the same thing about sealing bags, but I have no problems with beetles. I have a several bags of various leaves that I will not be able to get to as quickly as I thought I would, so instead of rushing to strip, shred and store the various leaves, I was just now thinking about vacuum sealing a portion of the leaves and see how they do. My thought process is that I'll open the bags and check the casing and add a bit if they appear dry. Then I would vacuum seal the bag, stopping the vacuum just before the bags collapse on the the leaves, thus leaving some air in the bags.

Then I hope to store the bags over in my storeroom where the temps tend to be relatively steady dependent upon the season. There are no rapid temp changes and the temps tend to be steady, plus it is dark to mitigate any issues from light.

I was wondering how long leafs can be held onto for storage purposes as well? I mean I see where we are buying leaves from a few years ago, so wouldn't you think this would be equivalent?

Any thoughts on this? Sounds logical in theory, but as we all know, theory and reality sometimes part ways in action.

Cheers
 
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