It's not a secret that there is practically no natural tobacco in the contents of modern cigarettes. Of course, you can buy high-quality high-quality tobacco, but you need to consider that its cost will be quite high. It is for this reason that many heavy smokers prefer to grow and process tobacco themselves. However, the process of selecting seedlings and the subsequent care of plants does not guarantee that the finished tobacco will have good flavor and aroma characteristics.
In order to obtain the optimal smoking mixture, it is necessary to know how to grow, dry and process the collected tobacco leaves, because properly carried out fermentation of tobacco at home will ensure long-term storage and almost complete absence of bitterness in taste.
The pre-drying procedure consists of two stages:
- Thickening - preliminary drying of tobacco;
- Fermentation - the final phase of preparation of smoking raw materials.
Immediately after you have collected the leaves, they must be prepared for pre-drying, or as it is also called "bile." Provided that the process is carried out correctly, the leaves will turn yellow-brown in color. Note that if the completely dried leaves have retained their color in green, then the procedure was not performed correctly and, as a consequence, such tobacco will not have qualitative characteristics.
Drying and fixing by natural means
Drying tobacco grown by one's own hands can be done in a very large number of ways, but the best way to do this is to use an ordinary barn, the area of which will be evenly warmed naturally during the day. It will not be out of place and the presence of ventilation in the room, but without a noticeable draft. Leaves need to thread on the thread, piercing the holes slightly below the cuttings, and fasten it under the ceiling of the shed. It is necessary that the distance between them is not less than 0.5 mm for normal evaporation of moisture.
With regard to time and methods of drying, it is necessary to focus exclusively on tobacco grade and climatic conditions in the area where it is carried out. The period of longing takes usually several days. At this time, you should carefully monitor the appearance of signs of decay on the sheets. In addition, make sure that the main area of the leaf remains green with a partially dried cuttings. If the appearance of the leaves corresponds to these features, then we can proceed to the final process, fixation, the main sign of the completion of which is the apparent yellowing of the sheets. Usually this process takes about a month. If the procedure is carried out correctly, as a result of the transformation of a number of substances contained in the structure of the leaves of tobacco, they will acquire properties that favorably influence the smell and taste of the resulting smoke.
What is fermentation?
Fermentation of tobacco at home is a process of changing its physical properties as a result of biological or chemical effects on the leaves. In the process of fermentation, their color changes, elasticity increases and resistance to mold is obtained during storage and transportation.
There are two types of fermentation:
- Natural. Tobacco leaves for a long time should be stored under certain conditions. As the example of Dominican tobacco, which for 5 years stored in oak barrels or bales.
- Artificial. This is a quick fermentation of tobacco in the home. Despite the fact, that the strength of the tobacco is substantially reduced, it acquires a noble taste and smell.
Optimum temperature for fragmentation
The optimum temperature at which tobacco fermentation is carried out at home is directly dependent on the sort of tobacco you have grown. For example, cigarette tobacco is dried at a temperature of 60 ° for three weeks, then for about a month it should lie at rest, and only after this is the second part of the fermentation, during which you must withstand the leaves at a temperature of 5-10 ° higher than the first time. After that, tobacco should be left alone for at least six months, and only after this time to start making cigarettes.
To date, there are three stages of processing tobacco leaves:
- Elementary: gradual warming of tobacco leaves to the limit temperature for several days to weeks depending on the variety and quality of the preliminary drying of tobacco. It is necessary to maintain moisture in the oven chamber in the range of 60%.
- Main: is the most responsible, and his conduct directly affects the quality of tobacco. At this stage of the fragmentation of humidity in the oven or microwave must be increased to 75%.
- The final cooling of tobacco. In the chamber is gradually reduced temperature, and humidity maintained at 80%. When the temperature in the oven drops to the temperature of the air in the room, the tobacco is removed from the oven.
Sometimes, in order for tobacco to acquire optimal properties, a combined regime is used. In this case, the fermentation of tobacco at home in a microwave oven. With this method, the temperature is quickly raised to the maximum value, and then sharply reduced and held for some time at this level. This treatment helps to remove moisture from the compressed tobacco mass, which is especially important for fermentation of leaves with a high moisture content.
When the fermentation is finished, the temperature of the air in the microwave is reduced, while trying to maintain the necessary degree of humidity.
Sorting of leaves
Before fermentation, it is necessary first of all to sort out all smoking tobacco by the varieties and size of the leaves. Fermentation at home, regardless of the type of tobacco, is carried out in almost the same way, but there are special varieties with individual fermentation technologies. It is noteworthy that they are used exclusively for the creation of cigars. As an example, the uppermost tier of tobacco leaves, having the most intense smell, astringent taste and maximum strength, can be cited, so their fermentation takes place according to the individual technology inherent only for them. You can even ferment marmalade. The only grade where this treatment is not applied is oriental tobacco.
The immediate process
There are extremely many ways how you can treat tobacco smoking. Fermentation at home is designed to prepare raw materials for consumption.
The main methods of tobacco fermentation at home:
- Pre-pritalennye tobacco leaves uniformly moistened with water, placed in stack, covering with plastic wrap, leave for 24 hours. After that, remove the leaves from the Central vein. If you want the leaves dry as quickly as possible, it is best to produce sliced strips of leaves 2-3 mm wide. cut tobacco must be into clean jars and tightly close the lid. Banks should put in the oven and leave for a week, maintaining a temperature of about 50°. After this process, the tobacco can additionally be dry, laying it out in the open air.
- In the second method of fermentation, the tobacco leaves must be cut and soak at 12° fault. Once leaves are saturated, they must be folded in a thick plastic bag, put it on the battery and cover the top of dense matter. Every 2-3 minutes open the package with the tobacco and mix it to a uniform oxidation. After a few weeks of this drying, the tobacco is removed from the heating device and proceed to the final stage of processing — the final drying. Fermentation of tobacco at home in the microwave is carried out until, until it will not disappear remaining moisture. The result of such treatment the tobacco has the aroma of cherry notes, although its strength will be reduced by about 20-30%.
- Sluggish dried tobacco leaves put in a pile with a width of 1 cm on the Board and cover it on top of the second Board of similar size. Then they are fastened with several sides with clamps as tightly as possible, and transferred in a warm place for approximately 2 weeks. All the tobacco consists then in foil and sent to the battery for the final drying.
Even if you do not have instruments for measuring moisture, when drying tobacco, you must always withstand the temperature regime, otherwise the leaves will become completely unsuitable for long-term storage and use.
Methods of storage
Drying and fermentation of tobacco at home allows you to get high-quality raw materials with minimal cash costs. After carrying out the final stage of processing, tobacco without loss of quality can be stored for at least one year. The only exception is the eastern varieties, which retain their quality for two years. Then the first signs of tobacco aging begin to appear. So, for example, the aroma of smoke weakens, the taste becomes light and empty, the incompleteness of taste develops. Keep in mind that the low air temperature and its low humidity slow the aging process of tobacco, so it is better to store it in a warm and dry place.