Whole Leaf Tobacco

Input on my curing strategy.

TheZman

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I am new to this Forum but I have to say it is just an incredible source of knowledge. My tobacco is growing great and leaves of some my plants are starting to yellow some plants more than others. So I have been trying to get a strategy together for curing them. I am going to build a curing box/kiln for my Virginia bright leaf and Samsun because the climate is so cool here I don't think sun drying is a good idea. For my Golden Burley I have a small 6x8 greenhouse I am thinkng about using I have some of them leaves already in there for a week or so and they are half yellow half brown already. I have another option for the Burley a metal carport like structure with walls open at both ends and will only get as warm as the outside temperature is and where I am at avg day is 65 degrees 70% humidity that would be slower but would it be better? What I am aiming for is cigarette tobacco to stuff into tubes. My favorite cigarettes are Benson & Hedges(I know additives) and Winstons (non additives) I am not aiming for anything like American Spirit they like Winstons are non additive but taste too earthy too me. I use to make my own cigarettes for years I would use mix this and that i bought. My favorite was Peter Stockkebye Danish and mixed it with other stuff but the best was I mixed it with some whole leaf Turkish and Virginia I bought. The Peter Stockkebye was too sweet not mixed something else although smooth and no after taste. Anyhow with what I am aiming for any thoughts on my curing strategy? Any input or different recommendations would be appreciated.
 

deluxestogie

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For your Virginia Bright Leaf, build your chamber as a flue-curing chamber (can go up to 165°F). Follow the flue-curing chart in the Flue-Curing threads (see Index of Key Forum Threads). If it's yellowing, build it now. It's a weekend project to build a flue-cure chamber.

Sunlight, rather than the temp per se is key to sun-curing. Humid and steady sunshine is ideal for the Samsun. It can also be flue-cured.

For burley, slower is better. Most burley needs to air-cure for several more weeks after it has fully browned. The issue with air-curing over two or three months is the 24 hour average temperature (warmer the better) and 3-day average relative humidity, which should not be allowed to hover above 75% for more than a few days. 70% RH that ranges between 60 and 90°F is ideal.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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For Buley should I stake the entire plant like farmers do or prim the leaves?
Either is fine. Your available curing space and layout, and which method you find easiest is a bigger concern than whether to prime or whole stalk. Also, your climate over the course of the year will determine whether you can leave the cured leaf or whole stalk hanging from the rafters or if you have to bring it in the house for storage. Some members can whole stalk and hang the plants in their shed year around. Mine would mold or rot in different seasons if I tried that, due to humidity swings.
 

deluxestogie

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I've found burley way easier to stalk-cut. With the stalk present, the living leaves die more slowly (good), and are not subject to drying green. But as @Knucklehead observes, once leaves have turned brown, which means they are dead, they may be more subject to mold if you experience persistently high humidity (above 70%).

Bob
 

TheZman

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Is it right to kiln the tobacco after flu curing? Or is kilning more for tobacco that has been air cured or does it matter is it good for both? From what I have researched and read I think it is good for both to rapidly age can someone verify that? My strategy is to use my curing box to cure most of my Virginia, Samsun and air cure the Burley then store it until done with all curing in the box then use my box for kilning all of it in batches. Do I have the right idea?
 

deluxestogie

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In general, you are correct. It's worth noting that once tobacco is flue-cured, there is no more "rapid" aging for it, since the primary aging enzyme has bee destroyed. There's still a slow poke enzyme, so flue-cured leaf will show changes from kilning, but they are more subtle. A month in a kiln will change lemon colored leaf to more of a reddish tan.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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Personally, and some may disagree with my preferences:
Flue Cured Varieties (Virginias): Flue cure process best, Sun cure second, I didn’t really care for air cured Virginia’s.
Orientals: sun cured
All others: air cured then kilned
 
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ChinaVoodoo

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Personally, and some may disagree with my preferences:
Flue Cured Varieties (Virginias): Flue cure process best, Sun cure second, I didn’t really care for air cured Virginia’s.
Orientals: sun cured
All others: air cured then kilned
I agree with everything. I might add that flue cured varieties that have been air cured make good cavendish that is different but at least as enjoyable as flue cured cavendish.
 

deluxestogie

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You can wait longer on the burley.

The bright leaf is ready to go now. The Samsun is not. I would remove the Samsun, until the bright leaf run is completed, then do the Samsun as a separate run. If you sufficiently yellow the Samsun with the bright leaf in there, the bright leaf will come out brown.

Bob
 

TheZman

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You can wait longer on the burley.

The bright leaf is ready to go now. The Samsun is not. I would remove the Samsun, until the bright leaf run is completed, then do the Samsun as a separate run. If you sufficiently yellow the Samsun with the bright leaf in there, the bright leaf will come out brown.

Bob
So just pull the samsun rack and put it like in my shed to air dry?
 

deluxestogie

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The Samsun still needs to yellow. So move that leaf out of the chamber, and move it somewhere that will allow it to yellow slowly. With luck, in three days, when the Virginia is done, the Samsun will just be yellowed, and not already browning.

The underlying issue is that if you load the kiln with the same variety leaf, but from different priming levels, the different leaf will not yellow synchronously. The same is true when placing different varieties in a single kiln run. One remedy (other than a homogeneous batch of leaf) is to load the kiln only with leaf that has already yellowed. Then, equally yellowed leaf from different primings or even different varieties won't matter, since you will be skipping the yellowing phase in the run.

Bob

EDIT: The yellowing phase of the flue-cure chart is the only part that benefits from experience or artistry. The rest of every flue-cure run is just following the same schedule (and not opening the chamber to peek).
 

jm10

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Hey, wow like Zman said great information! For curing burley for another 3 months after it browns, is that a separate thing from aging? Like you wouldn't want it to go out of case in that time or it would lose that part of the curing process?
 

deluxestogie

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Once leaf browns, the color-curing is mostly over (though white-stem burley varieties need a few weeks longer). It can then go in and out of case. During intervals when it is out of case (completely dry), no aging occurs. But aging resumes as soon as it goes back into case again.

Before color-curing is complete, the leaf should not be allowed to dry.

Bob
 
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