I've noticed some of my tobacco is getting a bit dry. I keep it in a zip lock bag on my bookshelf. So I'm looking for some tips on how to prevent tobacco from drying out or anything else to salvage tobacco that's starting to dry out.
Some of the members prefer their tobacco dry. I'm not one of them. To rehydrate my tobacco I put the dry tobacco into a pyrex bowl with cover and a smaller microwave safe bowl in there as well with about two table spoons of water (in the smaller) and microwave on high for about 30 seconds and let it sit until the steam created has had a chance to work its magic. If more hydration is required I will microwave it a second time, never more than that.
To prevent premature drying of your tobacco I recommend keeping your tobacco in an air tight glass jar. (e.g. mason jars) I have also found some inexpensive glass food storage containers at Dollar General. They work very well for those 2oz. baggies of tobacco. There are several different sizes available and none more than $3.
If the tobacco is still viable (not dust), then I bring up the moisture by nesting a cup of boiling water in the center of the tobacco -- all sealed in a tupperware container. Timing depends on initial conditions and the quantities involved. This is similar to what pstlpkr recommended, but I won't subject tobacco to microwave energy. Somewhere I read that it can damage the leaf at the cellular level. That's probably a lot of hooey, but I'm anal-retentive about such things.
I fully endorse pstlpkr's advice regarding the Mason jars. (Smucker's™ jelly jars work well also.) In fact, even when I buy tinned tobacco I immediately transfer the contents to a jar. If you must use the tins, then, as I suggested recently in another thread, rub some candle or bee's wax along the rim and place a square of aluminum foil on it, snapping the plastic lid over the whole thing.
I take the dry tobacco and put in a large glass bowl (large enough that the top of he tobacco and the top rim of the glass bowl are at least two inches apart) then I wet a paper towel with warm water and place it over the bowl with the tobacco carefully as to not let the paper towel touch the tobacco. Then I check the tobacco even thirty minutes, mixing it around if it need more and reheating the paper towl.
I always store my tobacco in air tight jars (like the jars Lawrence was talking about) if I am going to smoke it all within a few weeks. And recently I started storing the tobacco in mason jars for longer storage.
One night, when I was with some friends, umm, "recreating," I discovered that my (at the time) favorite tobacco was horribly, horribly overdry. Unfortunately, I had already been "recreating" for several hours, and ended up just turning on the sink to a very low level and putting some water straight into the tin. And then stirred it all around with my finger. When I came around the next day I vaguely remembered pouring water into my Vanilla Cream tobacco. I hoped that it was some sort of false memory; but no.
Luckily for me, I had left the tin's top off overnight, and it dried enough that I didn't have to worry about mold.
Moral of the story: never rehydrate tobacco whilst "recreating." Ha ha.
Briarbrian's suggestion about using distilled water is a good one. Tap or bottled water have additives that will change the flavor of your tobacco. Tap water has chlorine added and bottled water has minerals added.
As soon as you open a tin, jar it in clean glass jars with an air tight lid. I jar all G&H and SG tins as soon as I get them. Those brands are notoriuos for bad seals and the tins are prone to rusting.
There are some great recommendations here. I never thought of the microwave trick. I always spray a little distilled water in a plastic bag and let nature take its course. Only yestarday I found a tin of Skiff that I bought in London 15 years ago. It was dry as kindling but also, to my horror, had developed mold. So, without any recourse I dumped it. My wife saw a tear roll down my cheek and asked what was wrong. I told her that I was saying good-bye to an old friend.
I also found an unopened package of Clan. I'm donating it and the empty can of Skiff to the pipe shop for decorative purposes.
The lesson for my is to get organized and keep all of my stuff in one place. Now I have to check under the couch cushions in the basement to see what other "treasures" await me. Argghhhh!!!
All good advice so far from everyone.
I prefer my tobacco on the dry side, so I would just smoke it, lol.
Here are a couple of articles that I wrote that may offer some additional help: Re-Hydrating Pipe Tobacco Pipe Tobacco Storage
Thanks for all the great advice !! I have lately been buying pipe tobacco in pouches. I have found that if I use the previous pouch (for example) and put half of the contents of the new tobacco in the old pouch, and then, wrap up the remainder of the new pouch, and not use or open the new pouch until the old pouch contents is finished. Therefore, it will be (almost) fresh and new when it's time to be enjoyed. Beleive me....it's easier done then said...
By the way...
Has anybody ever added their own flavor to pipe tobacco ?? What I mean is...has anybody ever tried to...say...."spray" cherry liquer on their tobacco, and then, after it has been absorbed/dried, tried this method before ?? For some (maybe most) of you...it might be (and is) a bizzare question...but I'm just wondering if this is at all possible ??
There are flavor infusers for cigars. Basically, they are air tight canisters with a perforated plastic piece that holds a sponge. Soak the sponge with flavoring (Rum or something else) put the cigars in, seal and wait.
I suspect that you can do something similar with pipe tobacco. While tobacco is pretty absorbant you'll probably want to "shake" it up a bit every couple of days for thorough distribution.
I'm sure you'll receive some more learned advice from other members. Could turn in to a cool hobby to share with friends. I'd steer away from Eau d'Gym Socks, however.
Funny that would come up juozapas, I was just thinking about that the other day! "hmmmm, i wonder what would happen if i spritzed my tobacco with some vanilla/ rum stuffs??????" it never happened, luckily. haha
You might read Russ Ouellette's feature articletouching on casing and top dressing processes. Customizing a flavor might be possible with certain oils like lavender, bergamot, or nut flavors. Russ would know. Try e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
As for myself, I'm going to do exactly that just as soon as I've tried all the professionally produced tobaccos.
There's only about 3200 blends left on my checklist. LOL
I use distilled water & cotton balls --just damp--not wet.I will also use dark rum on some blends because I like the taste.Usually I like my tobacco on the dryer side,but sooner or later if your working with enough blends you do have to give them a little hand,IMO.
I have used a trick suggested to me by an old pipe smoker long gone (Bless him) and it works very well indeed.
Take a carrot and cut a portion off. It doesn't need to be big at all, say about the size of a penny and about 3 times as thick. Place the piece of carrot in to your jar or pouch and leave there for a couple of days. You can check it each day and turn the tobacco over with your fingers to ensure it doesn't get too wet in just one place and gains a standard level of moisture all over.
As I have said, I use this method myself and it is very effective. It greatly reduces the chance of the tobacco getting too wet, and the best bit is that it is a very very cheap way of doing it.
Any vegetable could be used, but I would stay away from those that have a strong taste or smell to them. Potato, Swede, Cabbage stems are also good.
I thought you should never ever use any vegetables at all, since they can "contaminate" the tobacco.
I've tried the towel trick and it works really well. Yesterday I ordered a couple of humidifier disks since that seems to be the most convenient method.