I put this topic here because I dont know where else to put it, soooo,
I smoke tobacco, and use filters, I have tried using them in compost but they take forever to brake down, so any ideas why? and what can I do with my them? they go in the ashtray, then in the bin, but when my sons friends come round it soons fills up on a weekend.
Tobacco mosaic virus is one of the most stable viruses you'll find...and can infect plants outside the Solanaceae family. For this reason I keep products like cigarette filters & half-smoked cigars out of my compost, even a worm bin or a thermophillic pile.
Like Adam said, roll your own without filters. I'd go the next step and grow your own. I believe you will find them better tasting and more satisfying with less over-all use. Moderation is the key to enjoying a lot of things.
Joe Braxton wrote:Like Adam said, roll your own without filters. I'd go the next step and grow your own. I believe you will find them better tasting and more satisfying with less over-all use. Moderation is the key to enjoying a lot of things.
Anybody here grow your own? I've read the backy has to be cured before it's a good smoke. The processes for curing seem like a pain: basically a long period in a hot and humid environment. Any tips or experiences to share?
growing your own tobacco is very easy. I would rate tobacco as very similar to basil in cultural needs and ease of growing. Maybe easier.
curing is not as difficult as it is made out to be. I dont really have the tech perfected yet, but I have had some success. what I did, and again I caution that I am still in the learning process here, is to dry the whole tobacco leaves as slowly as possible. I left them in a pile in a wood bowl, and slowly shuffled them around as they dried. They should start to ferment and end up tan when they dry completely. I remove the stems, then lay out the leaves in a single layer, take a spray bottle and moisten then leaves gradually. They will become supple and almost rubbery. Now make a stack of a dozen moistened leaves, roll it up, and tie it tight with string. Allow it to cure like this in a dark, warm, moist place. For me, I live in a very arid environment, so I just try to keep the leaves as moist as possible without them molding. The leaves will turn almost black through fermentation. The tobacco is now ready to slice off and smoke. Friends who are smokers really enjoyed the real thing for a change. People addicted to Marlboros just wanted a Marlboro. I cant say for myself becuase I dont really enjoy smoke.
Curing is as varied as the different types of leaf. Burley is air dried on the cut stalk. Virginia bright leaf is cured with heat and humidity till the leaf takes on the prized yellow color and then dried fast to set the color and sugar level. Perique is fermented in it's own juices till it takes on a dark color with a rich peppery taste. Latakia is cured with evergreen smoke.
The web is full of info, most good, some not so great. The are a few forums dedicated to growing your own.
I grew up on a tobacco farm and will be happy to answer anything I can, but we only grew virginia, so I only have direct experience with that process. I do have a few links if anyone is interested.
thanks for jumping into this thread Joe.
Based on your experience, how would you evaluate the curing tech I described? I am in no way attached to it, just something I figured out that sort of works. Definitely want to get better at the craft. I was using Oneida, a tobacco rustica. Mind critiquing/suggesting???
Adam, the process you describe sounds like "sweating". The ammonia and other compounds in the leaf are changed or expelled by the fermentation in the pile. It's basically forcing the leaf to age. If it works for your location and needs, it's good.
One question, are you pulling the stem when you roll the leaves? Most fermentation I've read about is with the center rib removed. This allows the rolls to be cut without disturbing them. I'm not sure this is always the case, but it is mentioned often.
FYI: If you add sugar or molasses to your rolls you've got old time chewing tobacco. Just cut a plug and chew. The soldiers in the civil war were known to chew till the sugar was gone, save and dry the "wad" and smoke it in a pipe that night. Glad those times have changed...
I lean toward the older ways when I can find them, so here are a few historical links.
Here are the best instructions for building a home curing chamber I've seen on the net. The fellow who built it is gone now, but his family has kept the info up on the web. Good info on the whole site. He is curing already dry leaves like a burley. The process for Virginia bright or "flue cured" is a little different. The leaves are pulled from the stalk as the dark green color begins to lighten and the leaves ripen. The leaves are then hung in the "barn" and the temperature is raised to around 90 deg. F. The flow of fresh air is dampened till the humidity is around 70%. This will cause the leaves to yellow and the sugars to intensify. After the desired color is reached, the temps. are raised gradually to 170 deg. F to dry the leaf and set the color. When the stems are dry and dead, it's ready to cool down and let the humidity rise so you can handle it. Ready to use at this point, but ageing will only improve it.
I do remove the stems, and edited the above post to clarify.
My biggest issue when reading info on tobacco curing, is that it all assumes an environmnet with high relative humidity. I live in the mountains of Colorado, so our ambient humidity is usually around 20%. Tobacco grows great here, fertile soils and all. But curing is a challenge, because everything just wants to dry out to a crisp in a day. All the old techniques of barn curing seem unfeasable in my natural climate.
Crazy idea, I was thinking of using my chicken egg incubator as a curing chamber. I can keep water in the bottom of it so the humidity is high, and the temp is regulated by thermostat. Seems like this might be a useful tool in the curing process? From the links you provided (thanks again!), I understand that keeping the leaves warm and moist draws out the undesirable compounds that give tobacco a strong smell. Makes sense. Seems like the incubator is pretty similar to the curing chamber made by the guy from England, same objective. Maybe?
Fascinating the technique of Perique, sounds delicious, makes even a guy like me want to roll up a smoke. Thanks again for sharing, and any other thoughs/ideas/resources you have are much appreciated and welcome. I can talk for hours about all things farming, so you would really have to get on a roll to tire me out.
glad to have your experience here on this forum, cheers
Adam, If you can maintain the humidity and temps, I see no reason that the incubator can't work. I'm assuming you have enough room in it for the batch size you want. The reason I like the styrofoam curing chamber is the humidifier he used in it. Please let us know how it works.
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