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Old 03-08-2012, 07:15 AM   #1
Tetzel
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Default Hydrating Tobacco

I had some Stonehaven tobacco (stoved pressed flake) that was quite dry after several years. Because of the density of the pressed flake, it was much more difficult to hydrate than other tobacco, so I decided on a more extreme approach, which fortunately worked very well, and I believe it lost none of its character.

I used a pan with a steamer insert. I started the water out on High, boiling it. I placed the tobacco in a ceramic ramekin and placed it in the steamer insert, and placed the lid on the steamer insert, and I lowered the heat to low. I think it's important to start the water on boiling for two purposes. I looked up how long it takes to kill mold or fungus at certain temperatures, and re-hydrating tobacco could activate any latent spores or fungus that may have somehow gotten on or into the tobacco. With the stove pressed flake tobacco, I actually let the water remain at a boil for one minute before reducing heat to low. I think for ribbon cut tobacco, lowering the temp immediately would be fine.

It took a good long time (checking often) to hydrate the tobacco. I also had the challenge of placing the ramekin in just the right location because the glass lid to the steam insert had screws on the underside that would occasionally drip water. Hopefully you can use a lid that is angled and does not have screws on the underside to prevent any actual drops of water from dropping into the ramekin or onto the tobacco directly. I had to try it a few times to make sure the moisture had successfully soaked into the tobacco. The first time I took it out was too soon, it seemed moist, but turned out to be too dry still after evaporation. Also, while still slightly warm, I recommend putting the tobacco in a ziplock bag. This (to my surprise) did not make a wet mess inside the bag. After the initial steam off of moisture subsided within the bag, it turned out that the tobacco successfully soaked up any moisture, and turned out perfectly. The heat initially allows the tobacco to "let off steam", but the re-absorbing was a pleasant surprise.

I'd say give your tobacco at least 45 minutes in the steamer if it's a stoved pressed flake. I tried the same method with some ribbon cut tobacco, and it took half as long. After about 5 minutes cooling in the ziplock bag, shake the tobacco around to absorb any micro-droplets of water that were not immediately re-absorbed. Let the tobacco rest a few hours before opening the ziplock or changing storage containers. It allows the moisture and temperature to completely to equalize.

The character of the tobacco did not change from what I could tell, and was a very pleasant consistency very much like its original form. The stoved pressed flake rubbed out exactly like it was supposed to, and the smoke was very enjoyable.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I put dry tobacco in a bowl and cover with a towel soaked in water and wrung out. Sometimes the towel needs rewetting over 12-24 hours; tobacco rehumidifies; no drama.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

yup. Im with Moo on this one. I can just see me using my wifes steamer and ending up with Tobacco stew.... i just dont think it would go good with potatoes and celery.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I'll have to give the towel trick a go. Been putting a damp paper towel in a bag with the tins.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I just opened a tin that I have had for a while and it was real dry. I put it in a Tupperware with a damp sponge. I will see how it works after 24 hours. I am just glad it can be re-hydrated.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

THREAD REVIVAL


In addition to what has been mentioned above, I will take a steril sponge and cut a chunk off it approximately 3/4" x 1", soak it with fairly warm water, allow water to drain out of it to where the water stops draining, and place it on top of a small piece of aluminum foil, and this is placed on top of my tobacco.

I'll let it run for 3 or 4 days and then pop the top of the jar open to check on the moisture content of the tobacco. I'll shake the tobacco a bit to bring the tobacco on the bottom up top. If the bottom tobacco feels moist, we're good, if not, I'll repeat the process further for another 2 or 3 days and check at that point in time...
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I think this needs a thread revival bump...I was trying to find the answer, and this did it for me!
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

The failsafe method of Moo:



Wet a towel, wring it out, secure it over glass bowl filled with dry tobacco. Wait 24-hours. Check. Spray a little water on the towel if it needs a tune-up. Presto - practically perfect tobacco in 24-36 hours. Can't you just smell it?

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Old 11-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

Do you guys keep your pipe tobacco in your humidors?
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammondc View Post
Do you guys keep your pipe tobacco in your humidors?
I don't. Just in Mason jars, and the jars are stored in draws in the Highboy.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammondc View Post
Do you guys keep your pipe tobacco in your humidors?

No, too humid for the tins. When I started I did, then I realized the tins started to rust. Then one day a little bird landed on my should and says hey stupid, why don't you use those jelly jars that are sitting there empty???!!!

I use quart & pint jars. Quarts for long term bulk storage & pints for the every day stuff or long term storage for a few select aged tins I opened. I think you can find single jars at big box stores, but cases are cheap enough IMHO. If you really don't want to go that route, just put plastic wrap over the tin before you put the lid back on.

Sometimes I'll take and plop one of those humidity discs in a tin too until I get around to jarring up the tobacco.

For re-hydrating, I'm a big fan or the wet towel over the bowl idea. I only use distilled water, though I don't know if it makes a difference in this case or not. It is just beat in my head to use it from all the years of cigar storage.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I like the towel over the bowl filled with the tobacco idea. Slow, gentle but produces the goods. I used to spread the tobacco out on a cookie sheet and spritz it, but estimating and controlling the amount of spritzing needed sometimes eventuated in having to dry the tobacco back down.
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkinCA View Post
THREAD REVIVAL


In addition to what has been mentioned above, I will take a steril sponge and cut a chunk off it approximately 3/4" x 1", soak it with fairly warm water, allow water to drain out of it to where the water stops draining, and place it on top of a small piece of aluminum foil, and this is placed on top of my tobacco.

I'll let it run for 3 or 4 days and then pop the top of the jar open to check on the moisture content of the tobacco. I'll shake the tobacco a bit to bring the tobacco on the bottom up top. If the bottom tobacco feels moist, we're good, if not, I'll repeat the process further for another 2 or 3 days and check at that point in time...
+1 I do the same thing. Sometimes use paper towel when the wife steals my sponges! works perfectly!
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I just use a chunk of bread. Stole that idea from the cookie jar (adding a slice of bread to the cookie jar keeps the cookies from drying out).

It's worked every time for me. Though I use about 1/4 slice at a time with pipe tobacco. If the first one doesn't rehydrate it enough, I'll remove the dry piece and add a fresh one.

But I'm never in a hurry, and this can take a week or so if the tobacco is really dry.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Hydrating Tobacco

I had a tin of Squadron Leader that was at least 7 years old. I had lost it in my office dresser that I keep stuff in. I opened it and it was like a cement block. I took the block out and chipped away at it to separate it and put it in a zip lock bag. Then I stole one of the wife's tupperware containers with the lid. The tobacco goes into the tupperware and I put a big bottle cap from a gatorade bottle with a wet paper towel piece inside. On goes the top and I left it alone for 24hrs. No change. So another 24. Then another 24 and it is changing. After the 5th day I took the cap out (almost dry) and fluffed up the lovely tobacco. I am glad this works. It does not work as well with cigars. They lose their oils when dry and do not come back as nicely.
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