Whole Leaf Tobacco

Firecuring action of smoke of fresh leaf

chillardbee

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May 29, 2013
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Chilliwack BC, Canada (south western Canada)
When I was smoking my leaf to make latakia, I had already started with cured leaf. This is obviously not a firecure leaf at this point in that the leaf was not fresh when the proccess started. Through other observations of other things I've done, I think I have a theory which I'd like to present and ask the members to make note of the next time you firecure fresh leaf and I will be testing this next year too.

1st observation: When I was attemping a fluecure at one point, I had the humidity rather high. Without a fan to circulate the air, the condensation built up on the still living tissue of the leaf.

2nd observation: when smoking anything, I (as any of you who've smoked food) will of noticed that a build up of smoked condensate on cold metal racks.

This is where the difference between a fresh leaf and an already cured leaf comes in. I believe that slow fires as used in firecuring will deposit a condesated smoke on the fresh leaf faster and more effectively and that of an already cured leaf. I think there are 2 reasons for this, temperature and surface absorbtion.

Temperature of a fresh leaf can still be cooler through transpiration than the surrounding enviroment. While the leaf tissue is still alive, whether firm or wilted, allows a surface for moisture and particulate to condensate on to. Through time, a built up on the surface of the leaf should be noticable and as it dries should turn rather glossy in appearance.
The question is what happens as the leaf dries/cure? either the smoke will stay as a film over the surface of the leaf with a little absorbtion into the tissues, or, if the leaf was brought in to a high case, I think it's possible that a great deal of absorbtion could take place but yet might still leave a glossy finished looked to the leaf.

In making latakia, if the initial proccess is started by the firecuring proccess, then I think that those first 2 weeks are the most crucial to fix the leaf for the subsequent treatments of smoke through the following months. Since the leaf has already aquired a surface sheen, more particulate can easily be deposited on to it.

We know latakia was a proccess out of disperation to keep a farmers crop from spoiling over moist winters by lighting fires whenever the leaf got into too high of case. Apart from the fact that smoke is already a good preservative, the fires would eventually dry the leaf again. But if we think of what the action of smoke has on a high moisture, relativly cold, glossy leaf, I think we can reasonably assume that a great deal more smoke will deposit onto the leaf even though the tissue has long been cured and dead.

So, I put forth to any of you who are willing, as I will next year, to keep notes on observations if your going to firecure and also if you'll continue the proccess through the winter to make latakia (or a version of it).

In light of this way of thinking, I would suggest, as I will try as well, that when starting with an already cured leaf (air, sun, or flue) that before smoking/fireing it, that the leaf be brought up into an extremly high (sopping wet) for the first 2-5 treatments. Using wood with a bit of a moisture level in it might also be beneficial too.

Look forward to posting and reading the results. Thank you.

Will.
 

Chicken

redneck grower
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Aug 28, 2011
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4,605
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FLORIDA
I got 2 deep freezers of the same size...small freezers...maybe 3'x4.5' and about 4' deep...

I'm thinking of mounting both of them side by side.about 4' off the ground.and running my exhaust to my grill into both of them.(after gutting them of course)...to use to smoke meat and fish on.

But also to hang some bacca in for.fire.curing...
 
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