Chewing tobacco can be expensive to buy in stores, and if you have a green thumb and some time, you may want to experiment with growing and curing your own. If you don't get it right on the first try, keep trying, as home curing tobacco can be a challenge without the careful monitoring equipment or kilns of industrial producers. Once you have the curing process figured out, experiment with recipes for marinating your chewing tobacco and find the right taste for you.
Things You'll Need
- Tobacco seeds
- 2 cups apple juice
- 2 tbsp. molasses
- Oak cask (optional)
Grow tobacco. Tobacco is no more difficult to grow than any other standard garden plant like tomato or squash and can be a beautiful addition to your garden. Plant seeds in a sunny area with well-drained soil and water regularly. Pinch off smaller leaves to allow the big ones to grow. When flowers form, pinch those off, too.
Harvest tobacco by removing the leaves by the stalk. As soon as you see flowers start to grow, you can start harvesting. Start with the lowest leaves on the plant, and move up in one to two week intervals until all leaves have been harvested. There should be four or five different harvests. If leaves start turning yellow, harvest immediately.
Cure the tobacco by hanging it to dry. Run a cord or wire through the base of each leaf, spacing the leaves about an inch apart from each other to facilitate the drying process. Hang in a warm, dry place with proper ventilation. When the leaves have turned a light to medium brown, they are ready. This may take up to two months. A longer aging process will result in a mellower flavor.
Chop or shred the tobacco. The Novitiate Homesteader recommends blending the leaves in a home food processor until they are the desired size.
Heat two cups of apple juice to a simmer in a saucepan until they reduce by half and thicken. Stir in a couple tablespoons of molasses to taste.
Add shredded tobacco to mixture and stir until coated. If you have too much tobacco to completely coat, make another mixture of apple and molasses.
Put finished chewing tobacco into airtight bag to use immediately, or an oak cask to age further depending on your preference.
Tips & Warnings
- If you choose to cure your tobacco in the sun, the leaves will turn yellow and be quite sweet.
- Like smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco is a dangerous substance that can cause cancer and other health problems. Use at your own risk.
- Photo Credit tobacco feild image by OMKAR A.V from Fotolia.com
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