Whole Leaf Tobacco

Pressure Canner Cavendish v2.0

ChinaVoodoo

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I wanted to try this technique because I was concerned I was losing desirable elements of the tobacco with the other steaming techniques I had tried. More importantly, I was reading about the maillard reaction and discovered in a more in depth discussion of it that this reaction is possible to achieve in a pressure cooker.
The setup: I took 5 samples of Whole Leaf Tobacco tobaccos and packed them tightly into five 6oz canning jars.
56g Izmir, 58g water
50g Lemon Flue Cured, 50g water
70g Bright Flue Cured, 75g water
56g Prilep, 56g water
50g Organic Burley, 50g water

I packed the jars, and lightly tightened the lids. I then put them in the pressure canner, sealed it, let it vent for 5 minutes, then brought it up to max pressure, which at this altitude was 13.5lbs which has a boiling point of around 247F. I boiled for 4 hours and removed it from the heat and let it come back to atmospheric pressure gradually before opening the canner.

There was no discolouration in the water, so the contents of the jars had stayed in the jars. I put the tobacco on pie plates and put them in the oven in order to dry them out on the convection setting at 240F. This took about an hour.
IMG_20151013_084414.jpg

The tobaccos all taste different. Least impressive is the Burley. The nicotine is high and it is rich and earthy with no sweetness. The Lemon is interestingly fruity and sweet with a hint of tongue bite and harshness, but not bad at all. The Izmir is mildly sweet and spicy. The Prilep is quite sweet and fruity with some spice to it and I will definitely do it again. But the Whole leaf tobacco, Bright Flue Cured is incredible! It is quite possibly the best tobacco I have ever smoked. It tastes like fruit, Virginia, and is so sweet it makes me want to brush my teeth after smoking. Wow! Unreal. You must try this.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I believe the photo in the original post to represent the tobacco as darker than reality so I edited the photo to show a more realistic representation.

IMG_20151013_084414~2.jpg

I tried to quote the reference on the maillard temperatures, but it screwed up the post. I think it was the degree symbols that were in it. Here it is
Above 400F (200C) - mostly caramelization, with the possibility of burning with prolonged heating
~330-400F (165-200C) - increasing caramelization with higher temps, which uses up sugars and thus inhibits Maillard at the high end of this range
~300-330F (150-165C) - Maillard progresses at a fast pace, causing browning noticeably within minutes
~212-300F (100-150C) - Maillard gets slower as temperature goes lower, generally requiring many hours near the boiling point of water
~130-212F (55-100C) - Maillard requires water, high protein, sugar, and alkaline conditions to advance noticeably in a matter of hours; generally can take days
Below 130F (55C) - Enzymatic browning is often more significant in many foods than Maillard, but Maillard will still occur over periods from days or months to years, with progressively longer times at lower temperatures
 

SmokesAhoy

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How dry was the tobacco before adding water? Was it all absorbed?

I was thinking of something similar but crock pot temp, and ensuring alkaline conditions prior to cook, as that will force age leaf independent of enzymatic conditions I think. Mine would be for a different use though. But I like the idea of jarring the tobacco to keep everything in the jar and none lost to the discard water.
 

Jitterbugdude

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A few questions.
1. You cooked these as you would a conventional pressure cooker? ie, a few inches of water in the pot?
2. Why did you choose 4 hours for the cook time? You think more or less would make a big difference?
 

ChinaVoodoo

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How dry was the tobacco before adding water? Was it all absorbed?

I was thinking of something similar but crock pot temp, and ensuring alkaline conditions prior to cook, as that will force age leaf independent of enzymatic conditions I think. Mine would be for a different use though. But I like the idea of jarring the tobacco to keep everything in the jar and none lost to the discard water.
The amount of water that was in the tobacco was the same, finished as it was going in. In the jars I placed approximately equal parts tobacco and water. They were packed tightly in the jars, and filed to the same level you would when canning any vegetable. I had to dehydrate the tobacco afterwards. I chose an oven temperature that was lower than the canner temperature and used convection to ensure no scorching. A regular oven, even on a lower temperature setting is using maximum power and simply switching it on and off. I believe that would be bad. The tobacco was in smokable case before I packed the jars so I'd guess it was already 12-14% water before adding the equal weight in water to the jar.

I was thinking about the alkaline conditions too as something to play around with in concept.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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A few questions.
1. You cooked these as you would a conventional pressure cooker? ie, a few inches of water in the pot?
2. Why did you choose 4 hours for the cook time? You think more or less would make a big difference?
I chose 4 hours because I had a suspicion that without the leaching which occurs with regular steaming, I would still get lots of darkening, and the goal of being black wasn't as important as trying to learn about what it happening to the tobacco. I also didn't know how much water loss to expect after such a long time and didn't want to run it dry. I had the canner water level about two thirds of the way up the jars. After 4 hours it hadn't quite gone down to half way up the jars.

I think more time would certainly have an effect, but not understanding the complex reactions occurring, I really don't want to speculate on the results other than that it would be darker. It's worth trying. I would use larger jars so I could have a deeper water level.

If I could get it up to 15lbs, I would try that too.
 

deluxestogie

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What I find interesting about this approach is that you can process a moderately large quantity each of a number of different varieties simultaneously. The amount of water in each sealed jar seems excessive. Was there freestanding water in each jar, or just very soggy tobacco?

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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What I find interesting about this approach is that you can process a moderately large quantity each of a number of different varieties simultaneously. The amount of water in each sealed jar seems excessive. Was there freestanding water in each jar, or just very soggy tobacco?

Bob
It was just really soggy. Not as much so as you might think, though. I am sure it could even hold more water. When I emptied the jars, there was nothing left inside except for about the same amount of liquid you expect with a freshly emptied wine glass.
 

Jitterbugdude

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Ha! Good question. I just put a load into the pressure cooker using your method. I was afraid the Sharpie might not make it so I used a UV resistant marker instead. If I had to guess though I'd say that a Sharpie would survive a pressure cooker.
 

ProfessorPangloss

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China, if I ship you some of my color-cured Perique leaf, would you process it for purposes of experimentation? I don't have a pressure canner and I don't know when I'd get around to making cavendish. Bob mentioned to me once that he didn't think anyone on here had tried Perique (var) as cavendish and he thought we should try it for science.
 

ChinaVoodoo

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China, if I ship you some of my color-cured Perique leaf, would you process it for purposes of experimentation? I don't have a pressure canner and I don't know when I'd get around to making cavendish. Bob mentioned to me once that he didn't think anyone on here had tried Perique (var) as cavendish and he thought we should try it for science.
I'll do that for you. Do me a favour though and keep it as whole leaf. Label it "raw leaf tobacco". The duty difference is crazy. I would send 60g. That'll do a small jar. I'll pm you the address.
 

Jitterbugdude

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China, if I ship you some of my color-cured Perique leaf, would you process it for purposes of experimentation? I don't have a pressure canner and I don't know when I'd get around to making cavendish. Bob mentioned to me once that he didn't think anyone on here had tried Perique (var) as cavendish and he thought we should try it for science.
I think you are going to be disappointed. ChinaV already did Burley (which is what Perique is) and found it to be very unimpressive.
I just completed a bunch of tobacco yesterday using his method. One of the tobaccos I processed was a VaPer. I'll start trying the samples today.
 

deluxestogie

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The Perique variety that I've grown (seed originally from New Hope) appears--as a growing plant--to be nearly identical to Hickory Pryor, and not at all like any burley that I've seen. Its taste and aroma after only color-curing, were unique and smokable, and did not even vaguely resemble burley. Its taste and aroma after kilning were also unique.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the tobacco grown in St. James Parish, Louisiana has been derived from different (and not necessarily pure strain) varieties over the years. Since we have discovered that most tobacco varieties will make pressure-processed Perique that is quite similar to SJP Perique, the designation of a "Perique variety" may be meaningless.

Bob
 

ProfessorPangloss

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The Perique variety that I've grown (seed originally from New Hope) appears--as a growing plant--to be nearly identical to Hickory Pryor, and not at all like any burley that I've seen. Its taste and aroma after only color-curing, were unique and smokable, and did not even vaguely resemble burley. Its taste and aroma after kilning were also unique.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the tobacco grown in St. James Parish, Louisiana has been derived from different (and not necessarily pure strain) varieties over the years. Since we have discovered that most tobacco varieties will make pressure-processed Perique that is quite similar to SJP Perique, the designation of a "Perique variety" may be meaningless.

Bob
I ordered mine from New Hope as well. All I could add is that it is very very sticky in comparison to the Maryland leaf I grew alongside of it. You've seen my photos - I don't know what Hickory Pryor looks/grows like, but I'm sure you could say whether you thought I had the same stuff you did. The best plants reached about my eye level, planted late. The only other observation I could offer, is that when I had a pretty substantial amount of leaf drying in the shed, the Perique in particular smelled a little like a sweet humidor (that's the only way I can think to describe it).

Edit: So, Bob, does that mean you've done everything with the Perique variety except make cavendish?
 

Jitterbugdude

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What we need is some FTT diagnostic equipment. A GC would be good for starters. The Perique I grew (maybe 10 years ago) came from New Hope and it looked, grew, tasted like Burley. I think the problem is that there is no "St James Perique" variety that the farmers use. Mark Ryan (of Daughters and Ryan fame) says that since the '50's the Perique from St James has been a mix of several varieties that are subject to the Perique process. so, I might actually have a Burley and someone else a Flue Cured.
 

deluxestogie

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Below are photos from the 2012 season. Hickory Pryor to the right and Perique to the left (with the stretched, triangular bud bag.





I have not done "everything" with anything. I have not even made Perique from Perique.

Bob
 

ProfessorPangloss

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That looks about like mine, except yours is healthier, bigger, and better in every respect. Still, growth habit, leaf shape/texture, and color are the same. Was it sticky?
 
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