Whole Leaf Tobacco

How do you achieve the proper moisture to age tobacco without mold issues

GreenDragon

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Something else to think about is where you're processing your tobacco. For instance, if you're processing your tobacco in a basement with even the slightest bit of mold this could potentially introduce mold spores into your tobacco. If this is the case I would recommend processing your tobacco in a completely mold free area. Just a thought.
No such thing except in a clean room. Mold spores are everywhere.
 

deluxestogie

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I believe you can safely assume that ample mold spores are everywhere that has not been sterilized.

Bob

EDIT: The score looks like 2 votes for "mold is everywhere".
 

ChinaVoodoo

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No such thing except in a clean room. Mold spores are everywhere.
I agree with @MysticMapacho . I know it's anecdotal, but I used to grind my barley in the same place as where I would hang my deer. The meat would quickly be colonized by white mold. When I bleached the area and moved my grinding outside, this ceased to happen, but my live peas started growing white mold very early in the season.
 

MysticMapacho

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It’s a fact, mold spores are everywhere. That doesn’t mean they’re in abundance everywhere. Where you find a higher concentration of airborne spores you’ll find a higher probability of contamination. This is a fact as well.
 

deluxestogie

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Mold is a significant issue for home-growers (and home-rollers) of tobacco. Understanding which of your handling and storage choices make a significant difference in mold growth is important, and not a subject that benefits from inaccurate information. It's straightforward mycology.

Contamination is not the determinant of active, vegetative growth of mold on cured tobacco. It will always be contaminated. The humidity, or more specifically, the moisture content of the leaf stem or lamina, will be either sufficient for vegetative growth of mold or insufficient for vegetative growth of mold. If the moisture content of the tobacco is sufficient for vegetative growth of mold, then the tobacco will mold.

The extent of spore contamination may, if only slight, slow the spread of mold growth by a reproductive cycle or three. Once there is vegetative growth, the sporulation cycle explodes the growth exponentially. What this means is that if the contamination is slight, then the minimal duration of a span of high relative humidity that might present a risk for significant mold growth may increase from a 3 day average humidity to maybe a 5 or 6 day average humidity. That might or might not make a difference.

Bob
 

davek14

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Thread is moving and informative. Guess I started a good one.

When the made me, the mold was already broken.

Seriously though, are the other ideas as to methods to avoid mold besides humidity. Alcohol was mentioned.

What about canning? You wouldn't want a ton of heat, maybe, but would canning like tomatoes avoid mold due to the lack of air?
 

Moth

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I know it's anecdotal, but I used to grind my barley in the same place as where I would hang my deer. The meat would quickly be colonized by white mold
Could it be a fine film of barley dust causing the mould?
I agree with Bob re:spore count being largely irrelevant due to exponential growth in ideal conditions.
Just a thought...
 

GreenDragon

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Canning.... yes and no. Canning works by killing mold and bacterial spores through high heat and pressure (above 212F). The resulting vacuum created through the cooling process is only great enough to seal the jar. There is still plenty of air remaining. However, the temperatures you would need to kill the mold spores will also denature the enzymes you want that contribute to the aging of tobacco.

You could, however, try a variation. It's possible to sterilize samples by long exposure to elevated heat levels. For example, you can sterilize specimen jars by high temp and heat (canning, or in the sciences an autoclave), or you can expose them to 160F heat for 8-12 hours. You might want to try some experiments with the latter technique. I do something similar when fermenting my cigar tobacco by storing it in the attic in large Tupperware tubs. High moisture plus attic heat prevents mold and accelerates the fermenting (aging) process. Living in Texas my attic frequently gets in the 130's in the summer. Try wrapping your jars in a heating pad set on medium for a few days, etc.

Also, take comfort in the fact that even the big boys have occasional trouble with this. I believe it was C&D that had quite the mold problem in a few of their blends a couple years ago.
 

tullius

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No heat vacuum sealing works, low-temp oven bake in jar works, and hot water canning works. These are the three I've personally tried with good results of all. Obviously the oven and hot water bath canned tobacco will take on a different kinda stoved/baked flavor, which is not undesirable and doesn't destroy the individual character of the leaf.

All three types still do age, but differently and with different flavor profiles. GD brings up a good additional method to try if you have sous vide/other apparatus/conditions to maintain the steady lower heat as described.
 

tullius

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OP, consider distilled vinegar as casing too if you enjoy that taste profile (I do): it's very commonly used commercially and privately especially with red virginia.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Adding 1 part vegetable glycerin to 40 parts tobacco by weight allows you to keep the tobacco softer at a lower hydration level.
 

burge

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Vacuum pack the tobacco it will slowly dry out but will age. Ie Dons I have one more bag getting on 6 years now and its fine no mold issues at all. Moisture is what causes the mold
 

davek14

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No heat vacuum sealing works, low-temp oven bake in jar works, and hot water canning works. These are the three I've personally tried with good results of all. Obviously the oven and hot water bath canned tobacco will take on a different kinda stoved/baked flavor, which is not undesirable and doesn't destroy the individual character of the leaf.

All three types still do age, but differently and with different flavor profiles. GD brings up a good additional method to try if you have sous vide/other apparatus/conditions to maintain the steady lower heat as described.
Interesting. 212 degrees destroys the enzymes for aging but there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that some form of very slow aging continues. I used to stove all my tobacco, but my tastes changed and I don't like that as much now. Still, it's not exactly bad. It would be an interesting long term experiment to can a jar or two to put up for a year and see what happens.

Have you canned like tomatoes, as in a hot water bath for 40 minutes, with success? Could the tobacco be pretty moist?

Stoving for that long, 40 min at 212 degrees (boiling water) isn't *too* bad.
 

tullius

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Have a sealed jar of my blend no. 1 aging: label says hot water bath (not pressure cooked) 90 min. The other jar from the same batch is almost gone, it's very good: the more it ages the better it gets. The sealed jar is at 3 months, no mold.

I vac seal before immersing so the jars don't float. They'd seal normally like canning jars from the thermal expansion and contraction too, but then you gotta weight them down.

Think you could get away with more moisture, but then you're basically making cavendish I think. The tobaccos were in good case for shredding, so I just shredded and stuffed in jars.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I can't comment on aging processes which might occur inside pressure cooked tobacco which has not been opened. 40 minutes pressure cooking with 50:50 tobacco to water does create a nice cavendish which is not entirely different tasting from the original tobacco. It's safe to experiment this way. I have my doubts about aging having much of an effect though. Most of the changes with pressure cooked tobacco appear to occur post exposure to oxygen.
 

burge

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I can comment on tobacco that is pressed and it can be heat or cold pressed in relation too pipe tobacco. Heat press from what I read is used to seal the tobacco flavour while a cold press ferments and ages as it is pressed. Virginia is most often cold pressed as it gains a more fruity flavour.
 
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