Concepts Involved in Curing Home-grown Baccy Plants

It is very late, and I don’t fancy hurting my brain with ‘tobacco-induced elevation of cognitive consonance’ (aka ‘common sense’). So, tonight, very quickly, I’ll discuss a couple of concepts regarding curing your own, home-grown stuff. Always bear in mind that the production of good stuff is tricky – I wish that it wasn’t.

In collaboration with my good friend, JB from Ireland, certain important facets of ‘curing’ the leaves have been revealed, but you must treat this with a little caution, in the same way that all tobacco control studies always end with ‘more research is needed’.

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Assume that you have several plants which are reasonably mature. That is, for the sake of this post, are sufficiently grown to have produced flowers. You do not have to wait that long to use the lowest leaves, but let us assume that you have waited.

At that point, ignoring the very small ‘first flush’ of leaves at the very bottom of the plant, the lowest leaves will be huge. I mean, about 2′ (60 cm) long and about 1′ (30 cm) wide at the broadest place. They should be ‘wilting’ – going pale green or starting to go yellow around the tips and edges. I must emphasise that you do not have to wait until that happens. The leaves will be ‘mature’ if they are full size and have been for some time – it is a matter of judgement. If you try to snap them off the stalk, and they resist, they might not yet be ready, but if the snap off easily, then they are ready. There is an obvious Catch 22 argument here – how do you know if they snap off easily unless you snap them off? Erm … I do not know. All I know is that, given the choice of snapping off leaves A and B, I am more inclined to force one or the other. But the probability is that it would not matter anyway – provided that the leaves are ‘getting on a bit’, and showing signs of ‘old age’.

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Regular readers will recall that I built a curing box out of the remnants of an old wardrobe:

2014-08-17 16.07.29

Is that not pretty? Cost – zero. There is a lid on top and a flap at the bottom front, and there is a window. I originally intended to hinge the flap and the lid, but I found that it was easier to just move them out of the way when necessary, which is not very often. Since I built the box, I have found that it was not sufficiently insulated, so I have used sheets of polystyrene wot I got from various sources to insulate the front, back and sides as best I can. It is not pretty, but it works.

Damn it! I am going into more detail than I intended!

OK, very simply, a ‘slow cooker’ (aka ‘crock pot’) is placed at the bottom of the box, and that provides the heat source. Leaves are hung at the top of the box and the heat from the slow cooker raises the temperature to a level which best promotes enzyme activity, which does two things: a) the starches in the leaves turn to sugars, and, b) the leaves become yellow.

Damn! This has already become too complicated! It was intended to be simple!

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Having arrived at the yellowed state, ………….

Oh sod it! Far to messy at this time of night.

BUT, if I was Professor Gerard Hastings, being paid handsomely, then I would continue ‘ad inf’ – deliberately and maliciously, with malice afore-thought, extending the persecution of the poorest people to progress my anti-Big Business agenda.

But the likes of Hastings (who is, essentially, an old-fashioned Marxist or Communist) HAVE NO EMPATHY. They deal in the idea of ‘populations’ and ‘advertising’ and ‘duplicity’ and ‘big business’. Is it not weird that the likes of Hastings ALWAYS finish up persecuting ordinary people?

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4 Responses to “Concepts Involved in Curing Home-grown Baccy Plants”

  1. J Brown Says:

    Here is a trick that I have found works for me, with the ‘catch 22’ of determining if the leaf will snap off cleanly or not (ready for harvest or not). Normally, you would snap off in a downward direction. If the leaf is not ready, it would not snap cleanly – maybe only partially – but the damage is done, as the leaf is now partially cut from the stalk. So, you now have to harvest it, even though it is not mature. The ‘trick’ that I have found that works for me is to test the leaf laterally first – try ‘snapping’ it to the side, rather than going down. If the leaf just pushes to the side, then it’s not ready. But if it is ready, it will begin to snap off. Then you can continue to snap it off in a downward direction, and it will snap off cleanly.

  2. moss Says:

    Junican, nice photo of your curing box. For someone with your constant commitments, I think you’ve done wonders – that’s a fact! Nice one, Juni.

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