Homegrown Semois Dilema

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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
So, I broke a few of my own rules, or procedures, or just messed up, period.
I grew this beautiful Semois leaf this year. I've been able to smoke samples of this as it was processed. It has tasted exactly like Tabac Manil's product since the first leaf was dry. A semi-sweet burley with a lingering barnyard aroma. I did flue cure it, but that didn't really give me anything different tasting than just a dry greenish leaf from after the first day of picking it. It would take a very, very sensitive tongue to differentiate it at any point from green to cured, IMO. I am pretty good at discerning flavors, and I get the exact tastes from all points in processing...
My mistake was in leaving the leaf sort of damp from steaming it after curing it, and then bagging it to store. I shouldn't have let any moisture of stayed in the leaf. It got a thick yellow coating, so I quickly laid the leaf out to dry from the baggie.
Now, after a few years of doing this, I am of the belief that the potential for mold is on all leaves, like cabbage grows with the bacteria needed to potentially making sour kraut. Dead leaves on the ground, mold just as easily as a leaf stored in a barn or in a jar. So, I am not exactly afraid of mold.
My dilemma is do I go ahead and process this, or stop and just clean up my kitchen really good and throw this away.
This is some of the remnants of the yellow mold stuff on some bone dry leaf...


Here is the leaf all splayed out and dry now...




I have always lived such a "waste not, want not" life that I just hate to toss it. I have just samples a bowl in a corn cob, and it is tasty, but not more so or less than if I had ordered some Tabac Manil "Semois". I know that some molds can cause respiratory problems, while some might be safe. The problem is knowing the difference.
Ugg, I'm torn. Heck, in all likelihood, the stuff produced in Belgium may have had that yellow film. I may just process it, and then decide whether to keep it, spray it with some calcium propionate to prevent any further mold, and smoke it; or toss it, and just buy a couple of bricks to smoke. Uggg...
I know that some organically grown burley cure with a mold along the stems, and they process that... but, not having an expert to turn to...
What does the peanut gallery think? What would you do?

 

eaglewriter1

Member
Sep 22, 2018
172
3
Do all the leaves have the mold on them? If not, sort out the good ones and process those. Its not 100% safe but a lot safer then doing nothing and you could salvage something.

Here is also an article on this problem and it seems that you are rigth in that mold is basicly very common:

https://burleytobaccoextension.ca.uky.edu/files/mold_on_curing_tobacco_2-05.pdf

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
Thanks eaglewriter, I just read through that, and still left a little shaky. I could cull them to the least affected, but then all of these leaves were in the same bag. I was definitely planning on culling anyways.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
Yep, it's like staph bacteria of various kinds on human skin, goes unnoticed unless it gets into the system, and then it can be big trouble. Knowing nothing, I'd probably try to skate by and cure the leaf with the mold, but I think I'd be wrong. The un-moldy crop is some beautiful leaf. I guess purge the moldy leaf and enjoy the rest, in my not informed opinion.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
Eh, I just cracked a good looking leaf, and a yellow cloud burst from the leaf. I think I may err to the side of caution on this. I don't want to cause respiratory problem for myself or people around me. :?
Next year, I will just be more careful. Man, I hate throwing away something I grew. It was much easier to toss out a box of Haddos Delight that had molded in the jars, than throwing away my own crop.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
Cosmic, I feel for you. But mold or mushroom, and if in doubt throw it out, all point me in the same direction.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
On the brighter side, I think that not-moldy leaf will be mighty fine.

 

tkcolo

Member
Apr 30, 2018
102
11
Maybe Semois is more sensitive to moisture? That stuff is always bone dry, and maybe it's for good reason? I bet finding the balance between using preservatives and living with mold potential will take a while to figure out. C&D has really struggled with mold, and I wonder how much of that is them trying to be more natural.
We buy a lot of (and grow some) organic fruits and vegetables. Eaten totally fresh they are awesome. But they go bad so much faster than the regular stuff. Same with milk. We have a local dairy that delivers fresh, natural milk in glass jars. It is so much better than ultra-pasteurized, homogenized milk. But it sours in a week, where the ultra-pasteurized milk can last a month. Grocery stores don't want to carry it. We don't care, because my wife uses anything sour in the kitchen.
Keep us updated!

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
Looks like mold to me. Definitely part of the learning experience. I've had white, yellow and black mold in the past. The trick is, once your leaf is color cured, dry it down to about a medium case and store it away. I actually had some black mold on my Semois this year but that was because I got lazy. I knew my leaf was cured but I waited several weeks to pull it out of the barn.In the meantime we had rain almost everyday for 3 weeks.I only grew 10 Semois this year and lost about 2 whole plants to mold.
All is not lost though. You can turn it into dip. To make dip you typically will process it at 185F for about 8 hours. That should kill anything that is alive.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
Thanks, yeh, learning experience.

Thanks Jitter, I just got lazy as well. I have a lot of juggling going on this Fall.

I might try the dip. I am not a real dipper, but I am curious to try your orange dip recipe. It might be a nice change of pace.

 

weezell

Preferred Member
Oct 12, 2011
9,628
850
Maybe reach out to Russ O. and see what he says in a PM???? Just sayin as a thought...

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
Good idea, Weezell.

Ericusrex, I’m ignorant of UV and ozone. I’m not even sure what ozone is. I have so many things that I am doing that I am having to constantly read and learn about, that I’d be hesitant to take that on.

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
At this point it probably doesn't matter if you can kill the mold with UV or O3. It may end up dead but it will impart a funky taste.

 

sittingbear

Member
Jul 20, 2015
290
40
If you soak it rum for a few days, wouldn't the alcohol kill the bacteria? Plus, then you'd have a rum flavored Burley...

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,121
468
I'm not sure that alcohol kills mold. I sprayed some a few years ago with rum and set it out to dry, and it had mold growing on it before the run had dried. I've read that there are some alcohol "based" anti-fungus sprays, but I am not sure how well pure alcohols would work, muchless percentages that are in rum.

I may be totally wrong. It's a good suggestion, and you may be right. I know very little about funguses. I even pick the mushrooms out of my salads.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,559
733
Chicago, IL
You might try contacting the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, which in all likeihood has a plant pathologist familiar with Burley. You've got the pictures, so identification should be a snap.

https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu

https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu/contact