A Question from the Cellar

Questions, Reviews, Storage, Etc.
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A Question from the Cellar

Post by Haroldt » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:50 pm

First let me explain my general habits.

I typically have three blends open to me at a time. Early Morning Pipe seems to always be in my open stock, but I do change out the other two each month and bring something else out of the cellar. I smoke anywhere from no bowls a day to 3 or 4, depending on my work schedule. I'd guess I'd average about 2 bowls a day in an average week. So with three blends open, you can see I do not go through a lot of tobacco in a month.

When I cellar, I grab whatever size mason jar or spaghetti sauce jar I have available to me. (I guess I should get some baby food jars) Some are 2, 4, 8oz jars. So my question is this. When I open up one of the larger jars I would only be pulling out about 2 ounces of the tobacco, How do I handle the rest?

Should I just put the lid back on and put it back in the cellar?

Should I boil up some water and find a smaller jar and reseal it - and put it back in the cellar?
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Rusty » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:55 pm

Just put the top back on it and return it to the cellar.

Don't be heating the tobacco in service of sealing jars. They seal anyway without heat.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by StatHaldol » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:08 pm

We smoke about the same amount Harold. I keep mine in different sized mason jars.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Haroldt » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:18 pm

StatHaldol wrote:We smoke about the same amount Harold. I keep mine in different sized mason jars.
do you mean that you transfer it to a smaller jar; or are you saying that you cellar in small jars fro the get-go?
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Haroldt » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:21 pm

Rusty wrote:Just put the top back on it and return it to the cellar.

Don't be heating the tobacco in service of sealing jars. They seal anyway without heat.
Rusty - are you saying that when you cellar your baccy you do not heat up the jars first? I thought I was suppose to heat them in boiling water and stuff the baccy in shortly after taking the jars out of the hot water.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Hovannes » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:53 pm

Image
I don't always cellar tobacco, but when I do I use 250ml and 500ml wide mouth Ball canning jars.

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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Rusty » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:43 pm

Haroldt wrote:
Rusty wrote:Just put the top back on it and return it to the cellar.

Don't be heating the tobacco in service of sealing jars. They seal anyway without heat.
Rusty - are you saying that when you cellar your baccy you do not heat up the jars first? I thought I was suppose to heat them in boiling water and stuff the baccy in shortly after taking the jars out of the hot water.
Yes. I do not put tobacco in hot jars. Heating the tobacco is bad for it. You can heat the jars if you want ie if you're sterilizing them, but then it's best to let them cool to room temp. before putting tobacco in them. The jars will seal anyway. You don't need to heat mason jars to get the lid to seal. There is a strange obsession with the seal out there and I work at eradicating that erroneous belief and practice here. Sacrificing the tobacco to a hot seal is a bad trade. Your tobacco will thank-you for not being heated. Have you heard of the wax craze or is that finally gone? Also a little air-space isn't going to make much difference. No matter what size jar you use you will eventually have air-space as the tobacco is consumed. I've found that wide mouth half-pint mason jars are perfect.

Here's a good article from GL Pease on the problems in inadvertently cooking tobacco http://glpease.com/BriarAndLeaf/?p=39
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Grizzly » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:07 am

Ok I will put the twist on this, I use mason jars and no heat. I empty all cardboard tobacco containers into jars as soon as they arrive, but how long can baccy stay in the containers that are all metal? Will they loose seal just sitting on a shelf?
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Del » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:03 am

this ain't rocket science.

1) Buy a lot of your favorite tobacco.

2) Put tobacco in a large jar with an airtight seal for storage. Just screw the lid on.... Nature takes care of the rest.

3) When you are ready to smoke it, take out a few ounce and put in your favorite tobacco keeping-and-carrying* container. Screw the lid back on and return to storage.

*keeping-and-carrying:
A) For desktop keeping, I favor small canning jars (8-oz volume).
B) For pocket totin', I use ziplock sandwich bags.

It doesn't get into voodoo until we are talking about the varieties of tobacco.

I've smoked codger burleys (specifically Sugar Barrel) that were decades old in the original container. Unchanged from factory-fresh. These were designed to withstand a nuclear or zombie apocalypse -- before nukes or zombies were cool.

On the other hand, I've smoked some of Pepik's 40-year-old red virginia (Mac Baren Norwood). That was a singular, memorable experience! (Pipeson was talking about this, just yesterday.) The sugary virginias undergo a slow fermentation.... heating the tobacco would kill (or at least disrupt) the delicate balance of aerobic and anaerobic microbes which produce the aging effect. Not to mention that heat drives off some of the volatile flavors which are already present.

If you want a cavendish, just buy cavendish. Don't try to cook your own in a jar. (Unless you are a missionary in Papua New Guinea and growing your own tobacco. Then you might want to try steaming some pressed leaves that are drying under you hut.)

Aromatic toppings are fragile. They don't like heat or long aging.

There is a debate about the risk/benefits of latakia and orientals. Do they improve with age? Some say that a few years are beneficial. But most agree that the volatile oils and smokey flavors are fragile and eventually decline after a time. I think Greg Pease suggests that a decade or so is where he draws the line.... He was smoking some old, extinct blends which were "past their prime."

Don't ever consider heating latakia or orientals until they are in your bowl!
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by coco » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:45 am

I vacuum seal, but I'm a weirdo.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Haroldt » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:36 am

Wow, very interesting. I've been told before to boil the jar and pack warm. Seems as though conventional wisdom has changed. Thanks for all the info, Rusty and Del.

Coco - lets talk more. When you say that you vacuum seal...are you talking about using a "Food Saver" vacuum machine in plastic bags?
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Pepik » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:51 am

coco wrote:I vacuum seal, but I'm a weirdo.
I do too. I'm using the same hockey-puck jar lid sealer with the attachment hose off my VaccuSeal machine. Works fine as far as I've seen in terms of popping the lids on 'baccy I've laid up, and finding it enjoyable.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Rusty » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:58 am

Grizzly wrote:Ok I will put the twist on this, I use mason jars and no heat. I empty all cardboard tobacco containers into jars as soon as they arrive, but how long can baccy stay in the containers that are all metal? Will they loose seal just sitting on a shelf?
Mason jars aren't glass, but rather all metal, in your vicinity? Or maybe you mean tins? They're both supposed to meet food grade packaging standards. The metal lid is coated on the mason jars and the tins are supposed to be lined too. I find mason jars to be more trouble free than press fit vacuum sealed tins. The pop top tins & sealed soup tins are fine. If you have a big tin collection you have to patrol them for lost seals on the vacuum press fit style. They're ok for about a month after the seal is gone so you patrol monthly hoping to catch any that have released so you can smoke them. It's like they have a a half life and in sufficient numbers you will encounter it. And you must store your tobacco cellar away from open tobacco because your nose is your best tool to detect seals gone as the lovely scent spends itself in your cellar. The mason jars by comparison never let go. But it really is only a subset of tins that are problematic.

So why not repack all tobacco into jars or vacuum bags? I think it's too much trouble. Also you will lose tobacco to mold in some cases. There are manufacturers that use very little preservative on the tobacco. In significant cellars there is a percentage that is lost to a variety of causes.
Last edited by Rusty on Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by FredS » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:09 pm

Del wrote:this ain't rocket science.

1) Buy a lot of your favorite tobacco.

2) Put tobacco in a large jar with an airtight seal for storage. Just screw the lid on.... Nature takes care of the rest.

3) When you are ready to smoke it, take out a few ounce and put in your favorite tobacco keeping-and-carrying* container. Screw the lid back on and return to storage.

*keeping-and-carrying:
A) For desktop keeping, I favor small canning jars (8-oz volume).
B) For pocket totin', I use ziplock sandwich bags.

It doesn't get into voodoo until we are talking about the varieties of tobacco.

I've smoked codger burleys (specifically Sugar Barrel) that were decades old in the original container. Unchanged from factory-fresh. These were designed to withstand a nuclear or zombie apocalypse -- before nukes or zombies were cool.

On the other hand, I've smoked some of Pepik's 40-year-old red virginia (Mac Baren Norwood). That was a singular, memorable experience! (Pipeson was talking about this, just yesterday.) The sugary virginias undergo a slow fermentation.... heating the tobacco would kill (or at least disrupt) the delicate balance of aerobic and anaerobic microbes which produce the aging effect. Not to mention that heat drives off some of the volatile flavors which are already present.

If you want a cavendish, just buy cavendish. Don't try to cook your own in a jar. (Unless you are a missionary in Papua New Guinea and growing your own tobacco. Then you might want to try steaming some pressed leaves that are drying under you hut.)

Aromatic toppings are fragile. They don't like heat or long aging.

There is a debate about the risk/benefits of latakia and orientals. Do they improve with age? Some say that a few years are beneficial. But most agree that the volatile oils and smokey flavors are fragile and eventually decline after a time. I think Greg Pease suggests that a decade or so is where he draws the line.... He was smoking some old, extinct blends which were "past their prime."

Don't ever consider heating latakia or orientals until they are in your bowl!
This quintessential Del. He says it aint rocket science then he writes a bunch of sciencey procedural steps to follow.

Reminds me of that time Jocose started his outlaw, 'no rules' box pass, but he wrote a few rules up front.

Here's how I do it:
1. Use a big jar for long term storage (more than 2 weeks)
2. Use a small jar/pouch for daily use and short term storage (less than 2 weeks)
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Rusty » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:32 pm

Ok, so why big jars? And how big are they? Two of you have said this.

I smoke every day and I have small jars (eg wide mouth half-pint or 250 ml mason jars in the rest of the world) and I think they work great. Mind you they're empty within a week or two with me. Once opened the tobacco is consumed faster with small jars so there is less degradation due to repeated access.

All of this seems to revolve around smoking frequency or jar access frequency anyway.

If you're an infrequent smoker ie a few bowls per week to a few a few bowls per month then the vacuum packing is likely superior to jars. Vacuum packing eliminates the degradation over long term repeated access to a container (ie air changes). So if the container is sized so that it's empty within a month then the jars are working fine. But it does suggest that smaller jars are better. If they last a lot longer with repeated access then jars are not the best solution and the vacuum packing is likely better.

Small jars work very well for daily smokers.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Del » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:36 pm

Haroldt wrote:Wow, very interesting. I've been told before to boil the jar and pack warm. Seems as though conventional wisdom has changed. Thanks for all the info, Rusty and Del.

Coco - lets talk more. When you say that you vacuum seal...are you talking about using a "Food Saver" vacuum machine in plastic bags?
I bought some canning jars at the hardware store. Stuff tobacco in and screw the cap on.

The slight fermentation in the jar will reduce the pressure inside as oxygen is consumed, creating a "vacuum" seal.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Del » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:39 pm

FredS wrote:This quintessential Del. He says it aint rocket science then he writes a bunch of sciencey procedural steps to follow.
Simple stuff is science too.

The trivia is fun. Just don't take it all so seriously.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by Rusty » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:51 pm

Del wrote:
FredS wrote:This quintessential Del. He says it aint rocket science then he writes a bunch of sciencey procedural steps to follow.
Simple stuff is science too.

The trivia is fun. Just don't take it all so seriously.
He's disciplining you, gently. FredS has a style for his stories about how things work and how they should work. It's compelling even though he knows little about tobacco, less about astronomy, etc. He'd like you to do the same. I especially liked his denial of American culture and the only pipe shape that qualifies as American. It's compelling even though he is wrong.
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by John-Boy » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:59 pm

I store everything in cottage cheese containers.

1) Get a large or small curd cottage cheese container
2) Eat or dump about about 1/2 the cottage cheese
3) Dump in your tobacco
4) Close up and return to the fridge
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Re: A Question from the Cellar

Post by FredS » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:08 pm

Rusty wrote:
Del wrote:
FredS wrote:This quintessential Del. He says it aint rocket science then he writes a bunch of sciencey procedural steps to follow.
Simple stuff is science too.

The trivia is fun. Just don't take it all so seriously.
He's disciplining you, gently. FredS has a style for his stories about how things work and how they should work. It's compelling even though he knows little about tobacco, less about astronomy, etc. He'd like you to do the same. I especially liked his denial of American culture and the only pipe shape that qualifies as American. It's compelling even though he is wrong.
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