https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curing_of_tobaccochlorophyll, carotenoids, oxidation


This is my first time growing tobacco for fun, pleasent green at home, to make snuff for personal use and maybe save som money.

Ive been reading a bit on wiki, it says oxidization is what makes tobacco cure/age/mature take out the harsh.

Im wondering about if the oxidization of caratenoids and chlorophyll in tobacco curing is from O2 in air (or solved in water) and/or from O in H2O itself?

From what i remember, from school and various archeology programs on tv, wood in sea bed with no O2 solved in it doesnt rot but metals will rust. ?

At what relative humidity at room temperature will tobacco leaves sealed in a jar (in fall and winter the relative humidity in my apartment will drop too much for curing tobacco, i guess) cause them to cure? If air is required, how much?



  • $\begingroup$ Oxidation is done by oxygen O2. H2O cannot oxidize anything. H2O is the result of the oxidation of hydrogen. $\endgroup$ – Maurice Jun 29 '20 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks, im thinking about going with sealed yar with lots of air space. Venting once in a while with a light spray of moist since O2 is needed (The moist is needed at least because otherwize it taste horse food - every vegetable ive dried without a light boil taste and smell like hay). Is water required for oxidization? $\endgroup$ – Johan Östberg Jun 29 '20 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ I would flip that question around: figure out the humidity you need and then figure out how to achieve it by asking for information on that here or elsewhere. It seems to me you might also get answers by looking for a website specialized in growing and curing tobacco and such (like dengarden.com/gardening/Tobacco-Growing-and-Curing-at-Home) $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Jun 29 '20 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ This link says "In order to have the best quality tobacco leaves for further processing, the leaves should have a moisture content between 12-16%, so an ambient relative humidity of 60 to 68%" $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Jun 29 '20 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Here is an interesting experiment to possible accelerate O2 activity. Water two plants, but on one sprinkle on iron filings from a magnetic, or purchase an inexpensive Magnetizer and mount it close to the leaves. Per an old experiment of mine and a recent question on this forum and my answer relating to increased O2 activation, there could be some related growth benefit. See chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/135898/… and references cited, $\endgroup$ – AJKOER Jun 30 '20 at 15:45

Okay first, it's the oxygen in the air that causes oxidation, also dissolved oxygen in water, but if you let your tobacco get wet enough for the latter to be significant you will be getting more rot than curing ...

Anyway, I don't think a sealed jar would be a good idea. Ammonia build-up, wet rot, etc would tend to be an issue.

You could build a proper curing/fermenting kiln to cure the leaf, there's DIY instructions here: https://www.seedman.com/wkiln.htm for one type. But if you're using the finished product for dry snuff rather than smoking or chewing, you might not be too bothered about the taste/smell so careful fermenting is probably not that important to you. Then easiest is to just hang them somewhere like the garage and spray them with a plant mister when they get too dry like this guy: https://dengarden.com/gardening/Tobacco-Growing-and-Curing-at-Home or if it gets too cold where you live to use the garage, in a closet, wooden box or linen chest.

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for late answer. I confirm what you say by having tried it except kiln. The best result for my palette was to let leaf dry a day so that it "dehydrate collapse wilt" then put in blown up plastic bag and like you say it will rot and get too sour if left for too long. After a couple of days it smelled nice like cigars to me although i rarely smoke. The snuff was good but i used too much pot ash. $\endgroup$ – Johan Östberg Dec 20 '20 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds good more than good enough. You really don't need anything fancy. After all, the improvement to taste caused by fermentation was supposedly discovered by someone transporting bales of tobacco somewhere on the open deck of a barge/boat/ship, where they they got splashed, rained on, etc while drying in the sun ... $\endgroup$ – Gwyn Dec 23 '20 at 16:18

OK, I have a different opinion on the curing of tobacco step from my colleagues.

Water in contact with vegetation (likely rich in transition metals) with dissolved O2 and CO2 likely produces (especially in direct or diffused sunlight) powerful radicals that slowly removes/decompose organics. This is part of the science cited in the advanced oxidation process (AOP) literature.

See, for example, this review reference and also, especially this, A review on advanced oxidation processes for the removal of taste and odor compounds from aqueous media.

Note, per the supplied Wikipedia reference: Curing involves, to quote:

...the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids in the tobacco leaf...

So water, oxygen, and metal oxides are likely instrumental in this process, all fostering radical formation and subsequent targeted 'favorable' alterations.

  • $\begingroup$ Water/humidity is important in the tobacco fermentation process. If the leaf gets too dry, the fermentation process inside the leaf will stop. But you don't want the leaf to rot - the surface has to remain intact - so the leaf should not get too wet or stay that way for too long. $\endgroup$ – Gwyn Jul 3 '20 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ interesting. It turned out that i asked for too much for my first curing. it went ok without understanding why. although i keep in mind for next years grow and cure $\endgroup$ – Johan Östberg Dec 20 '20 at 10:30

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