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General Curing/Drying Question

Tobaccofieldsforever

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After talking to my dad about his tobacco curing techniques I am slightly confused about curing vs. drying now. I guess I am most confused about where curing ends and drying begins or are they happening at the same time? My dad says that curing and drying are two different processes and after leaves are completely cured (he cures his in stacks wrapped in burlap) you are then just drying them. So how do I know when leaves are completely cured because even his tobacco doesn't always cure to the same color every season so it can't only be based on color. Does a leaf need to be drying to also be curing or can a leaf be curing while gaining moisture?
 

Tobaccofieldsforever

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I have a few more questions I didn't address. I've heard the term "over-cured" used before. Can you over-cure leaf? That leads me to my next question. Can you stop the curing process when a desired color is reached? For example I know my father's tobacco will turn yellow and reddish orange before it finally turns brown while curing. Could you pull the leaves at the yellow or reddish stage for drying and would they possess different smokable qualities than the brown leaf or is this just simply "under-cured" leaf?
 

deluxestogie

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The leaf needs to be alive in order to cure. Curing is a metabolic process. Once it has dried, it is dead.

Any variety that does well with sun-curing or flue-curing can be immediately dried after fully yellowing. If you do that with cigar varieties or burley or Maryland or other seedleaf/broadleaf varieties, and you end up with garbage, uncured leaf.

Bob
 

Tobaccofieldsforever

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The leaf needs to be alive in order to cure. Curing is a metabolic process. Once it has dried, it is dead.

Any variety that does well with sun-curing or flue-curing can be immediately dried after fully yellowing. If you do that with cigar varieties or burley or Maryland or other seedleaf/broadleaf varieties, and you end up with garbage, uncured leaf.

Bob
Thank you sir. So when people say tobacco X cures very quickly, does that mean the primed leaf reached a certain color while retaining moisture and will no longer "change color" for lack of a better term? Sorry if I'm making this unnecessarily confusing. I don't have a lot of hands-on experience with all the different curing methods so I'm just trying to grasp the basic ideas behind the methods to better understand how to get the most out of the tobacco I grow. So something like flash drying is when the leaf completely dries before it is cured and can no longer be cured at all, even if moisture is added back to the leaf, because the leaf has officially flatlined and all attempts to bring it back to life are futile....ok, I think I may have the general idea here. Is it worth experimenting with the earlier color stages of some air dried tobacco (yellow versus the final brown stage) or will it just yield a product inferior in taste to the fully cured brown colored stage? (only with any variety that does well with sun or flue curing like was mentioned before)
 
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deluxestogie

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Experiment as much as you like. That's how we learn. Fully cured leaf has metabolized most of its starches, and most of its albuminous proteins. With most varieties, this coincides with breakdown of all of its chlorophyll, and the color turning a nice, rich brown. So when the leaf is "color-cured", it is considered cured.

By contrast, white-stem burleys have a "white" stem because of a defect in chlorophyll metabolism, and color to brown quite easily. It still needs to finish the other work of curing (carbs and proteins), before it fully dries.

Bob
 
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