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When to Harvest Tobacco Leaves?

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    Anybody have any idea what steam curing is?


      Originally posted by justintempler
      Pasteurization is not curing. Pasteurization is to kill the microbes.
      But it does darken the tobacco as curing does. Additionally, (and I haven't tried this yet either) for those who say one can use tobacco dried green, pasteurization MUST have some similar properties as curing.

      Originally posted by justintempler
      A curing chamber is compromise if you have the time and the space to let your leaves dry naturally then of course that would be preferred but using a curing chamber isn't nearly as bad as using smoke or propane exhaust the the tobacco companies used to use in high volume production.
      Really that depends more on the type of tobacco and what you plan to do with it. A Virginia won't have sweetness if air-cured, if one wishes to smoke it.

      Originally posted by justintempler
      Tobacco curing operations that do not expose the curing tobacco to exhaust gases (e.g., heat exchange curing methods) eliminate this source of TSNA formation....
      Wikipedia defines flue curing as using heat (but not fire) to cure tobacco, as is done with a curing chamber. "heat-curing the tobacco without exposing it to smoke," And I swear I remember reading this method of fermentation was first discovered as tobacco went back and forth across the oceans on ships. The heat and humidity fermented the leaves while shipping.

      Originally posted by justintempler
      Barns, and attics are curing chambers too. :wink:
      Air curing chambers yes, but not flue or heat curing chambers (ok I suppose they could be in the summers as far as temps, but not necessarily with respect to humidity, which varies).

      Originally posted by justintempler
      Curing chambers ≠ flue cured.
      Check the above link on methods of curing.


        Originally posted by RRK
        Anybody have any idea what steam curing is?
        I am confused on that as well. Isn't that the same as pasteurization?

        "Snus is steam-cured moist powder tobacco product that is not fermented, and does not induce salivation."Source

        "use of steam-cured chewing tobacco (snus), avoids the carcinogenicity by not generating nitrosamines"

        If my understanding is correct, the methods of curing which involve heat, whether fire or flue, DO ferment the tobacco. As far as curing chambers as found on coffin nails, it takes four weeks for the exhaust to begin smelling 'sweet,' and the exhaust stinks prior to that point, as fermentation is taking place.

        Correct me if I am wrong.


          I have been reading through the patent for starcured tobacco process. It is pretty interesting.


            I'm too lazy to look it up right now :O( but an exploration into the different ways tea is prepared might shed some light. A couple of years ago I read about the differences in black tea, green tea, and white tea.

            I may look around later, but I need to get off the forum and do realspace stuff. I've read the term "steam pasteurized", so maybe one can steam a mass of plant material to kill microbes, without beginning a fermentation process. Seems like this rings a bell with me WRT "white tea".

            Oh, screw it, there is this:


            And from my days of crawling Usenet and the Web about tea, I seem to remember that "fermentation" was a misnomer for tea, and what was really being talked about was "oxidation". That's a couple of years ago, so I'm not certain about that now. I wonder if that might be the case with tobacco? Help! I can't catch up with you guys in the space of one morning I'd love to find out, though. Hope any of this helps.


              Some of the Virginia leaves are now drying brown. I don't know how this happened, given the heat has been on, which dries out the air. It could be the recent, heavy rains raised the humidity level high enough to get the leaves to go brown.

              Jesus! I just checked the leaves again and several are VERY yellow.


                Seems like you could make a little box with one of those heated fans with a thermostat and you could take tobacco from green to cured in about 7 days with the starcured method. You would also get the very low tsna levels desired.


                  Originally posted by snupy
                  And I swear I remember reading this method of fermentation was first discovered as tobacco went back and forth across the oceans on ships. The heat and humidity fermented the leaves while shipping..
                  Right, a months long voyage with bales of tobacco packed into an enclosed area exposed to moisture.

                  Fermentaion comes from bacteria. When they want to encourage fermentaion on purpose they create the ideal atmosphere for the bacteria to do their job. For tobacco that's 20-25% humidity at a maximum temp of 135°-140°F.

                  We want to speed up the chemical process without encouraging the bacteria to take over and run the show. It's a balancing act between, heat, humidity and ventilation.


                    Just to add my small knowledge:

                    The different methods of curing reflect what works best for the single tobacco species in order to get rid of unwanted protein, of which tobacco contains relatively much. The protein would make cigarettes smell like burned hair and I guess it also wouldn't taste too good in smokoless tobacco. The fire also gives the tobacco a fine smoke taste which cannot be found in snus.

                    The fermentation indeed starts with the curing/drying of the tobacco. The decomposition of protein works relatively fast with the air-cured varieties, so there's no additional fermentation needed, just a slow curing process in a not too hot place with constant air-supply and enough humidity.

                    Fire curing and fermentation aren't devilish production-methods used by irresonsible manufacturers. They're just traditional and also used for many types of food. On the other hand, fire cured and fermented smokeless tobacco rarely is spitless and it's generally more harsh - we all know why we love our snus.

                    The steam curing IMHO is just another word for pasteurization. Curing is not meant in the sense of 'drying' but 'processing' the tobacco. I assume that it also helps to make the nicotine more easily accessible. I once saw a tv-report about the last German chewing tobacco manufacturer and in an interview a worker said that they were thinking about an additional steam-treatment to give their products even more kick.

                    Last year I raised a few tobacco plants in a garden-bed and in buckets. They're not too delicate but certainly not the easiest plants to grow. The small harvest unfortunately went moldy. This year I didn't plant tobacco but plan to try again next year. The plants have ornamental qualities and can often be found in botanical gardens and parks. I recommend to everyone who has a garden or enough space for a big flower-bucket to just try to grow some tobacco. It's fun.




                      Sorry - haven't been on in a few days.

                      My time frames for transplanting are from memory - it was a long time ago (like 35 years!). I do remember transplanting in June, but that was considered "late" if past the first week. May was generally the appropriate time in Kentucky. A lot depended on how wet May was.

                      I don't know if this is still done, but preparing the beds was done by covering them with plastic and setting off cans of methyl bromide under the plastic to kill any weeds and sterilize the soil. We seeded the beds by mixing the tobacco seeds into buckets of fertilizer and using a standard lawn fertilizer hopper to get an even distribution of seeds in the beds.

                      You are correct about the term "topping". You are also correct about "bringing into case" - tobacco had to be damp enough that it wouldn't crumble while you were stripping the leaves from the plant and/or dropping it out of barn. I had actually forgotten that term - thanks for reminding me. It generally had to be done in very cold weather when the cold had dried the plants out in the barn.

                      I was never able to get two crops in one year. I know I saw suckers in the fields after harvest, but we never went back for them (primarily because it was generally time to start getting ready to harvest corn after the tobacco went in).

                      As for how long tobacco aged, again, I'm going from memory. There may be more detail on some of the tobacco companies websites. I'm sure the aging process varies according to the type of tobacco and what they plan to use it for. I do recall years ago going to one of the big companies and seeing warehouses full of hogsheads of tobacco aging.

                      And as a final side note: You mentioned hand-blending tobacco at parties. I used to work with older guys that had been smoking for years - primarily non-filtered Camels, Lucky Strikes, Pall Mall, etc. Almost every one of them lived well into their 90s. All the old time tobacco farmers swore up and down that putting filters on cigarettes ruined them. They all firmly believed that filters allowed the tobacco companies to dump all kinds of junk into the tobacco that was harmful. I know it is anecdotal, but it sure was weird seeing all these old guys live a very long time, smoking non-filtereds like crazy and all apparently pretty healthy. I wouldn't defend smoking (and am glad I've quit and taken up snusing!) but it has always made me wonder .

                      Sorry to take so long to reply.



                        Originally posted by snupy
                        If any would like to see the pictures, please PM the moderators and ask them why these forums are not user friendly, since they do not allow the attachment of pictures to posts. Please ask them to FIX the website to make it usable.
                        hosting images can quickly become a costly proposition in terms of storage and bandwidth. as well as a liability/moderation issue.


                          Snus is manufactured in two forms - loose and portion-packed. "

                          Description: What's the difference between snuff and chewing tobacco? Is it just the size of portions or something else?

                          "Chewing Tobacco: Chewing tobacco comes either as leaf (dry) and plug (moist). It contains more moisture than most other smokeless products, so there is a greater possibility for mouth cancer due to increased exposure time."

                          A moist form of chewing tobacco known as “snus” was originally used in Sweden

                          and Norway, but its use has spread throughout Europe. Snus consists of finely ground flavored tobacco that users place under their upper lip for an extended period without spitting out saliva.

                          Snus is a steam-cured moist powder tobacco product that

                          is not fermented, and does not induce salivation. Snus is manufactured in two forms - loose and portion-packed (snuff). Chewing Tobacco: Chewing tobacco comes either as leaf (dry) and plug (moist). It contains more moisture than most other smokeless products, so there is a greater possibility of mouth cancer due to increased exposure time. The differences between snuff vs chewing are basically the size of portions or something else? There's no difference because they both come from the same cut of meat! So what exactly do you mean by this? I am confused about that as well. Isn't that the same as pasteurization?