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How To Dry Tobacco
There are many reasons to dry, or air-cure, your own tobacco leaves.It takes between 3 and 8 weeks for tobacco to be dried and prepared for use.Compared to other curing methods, this method produces tobacco leaves that are low in sugar, high in nicotine, and sweet in flavor.
Step 1: For the best results, use dry tobacco in the fall.
Tobacco leaves can be dried on warm, dry days and cool nights of the late summer and early fall.
Step 2: For drying, pick leaves that are pale-yellow.
You want to avoid leaves that are too green.If you want to dry the plant, take the lower leaves first.
Step 3: A barn or shed is a good place to find a well-ventilated shelter for drying.
The leaves need to be dry.A barn, shed, or garage would be ideal.If you have enough space, you can even dry the leaves in your home.You can control the humidity in a shelter by opening or closing doors.Keeping the humidity high will keep the leaves from drying quickly.The leaves may be burned by direct sunlight.
Step 4: Hang your tobacco in bunches of leaves.
Fasten the leaves to a clothesline or rope, bunched together at the stem, and tied with a rubber band as they shrink.If you are only drying a few leaves, you can thread individual stems and hang them from a string.
Step 5: As your leaves dry, control the humidity.
During cooler times, open the doors of the barn or shed during the day to bring in the warmer air.If your leaves are drying too fast, close the doors during daytime hours and open them at night to bring in the moist night air.If your leaves are drying quickly, you may need to use a humidifier.If you are going to dry tobacco in your home, make sure the temperature and humidity are right.An air-conditioned home would be too dry to use tobacco.It may remain green if leaves are dry too fast.
Step 6: When the leaves have dried enough, watch them.
The leaves will turn yellow, orange, and brown as they dry.Depending on the kind of tobacco leaves you are using, the shades will vary.The process can take between 3 and 8 weeks depending on the environment.The process is complete when the leaves are brown and the edges are curled.The dried leaves will feel very thin and sticky.They should be flexible, not brittle.The curing process should make the dried leaves smell sweet.
Step 7: The leaves have stems.
Remove the leaf from the stem when the tobacco is ready.You can either use it immediately or store it for later use.Stems may increase the chance of mold in storage.When tobacco leaves are brown and flexible, they are ready for use.If the leaves get brittle, you can use a spray bottle.They will regain their pliability with a small amount of water.You can keep the leaves in a bag or a humidor.If you have moistened brittle leaves for storage, be sure to pat them down with a paper towel so there are no water droplets on them.It will keep the leaves moist and reduce the chance of mold.
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