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Homegrown Semois Dilema

(31 posts)
  • Started 8 months ago by Cosmic
  • Latest reply from sittingbear
  1. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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?

    Michael
    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. eaglewriter1

    eaglewriter1

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    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

    Posted 8 months ago #
  3. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  4. mso489

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  6. chilllucky

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    I'm sorry to hear about this, Cosmic. The aggravation of uncertainty is a bugger. But-

    This year's lessons in the garden are next year's compost. What you've learned will benefit your crops.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  7. saltedplug

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    Cosmic, I feel for you. But mold or mushroom, and if in doubt throw it out, all point me in the same direction.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  8. mso489

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    On the brighter side, I think that not-moldy leaf will be mighty fine.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    tkcolo

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    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!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  10. jvnshr

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    Damn, I can't even imagine how that might feel. Looks like another good smoky night for the neighbors is ahead.

    Javan
    Posted 8 months ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  12. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  13. weezell

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    Maybe reach out to Russ O. and see what he says in a PM???? Just sayin as a thought...

    "the weez"...
    Posted 8 months ago #
  14. ericusrex

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    Can the spores be killed with UV or ozone?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  15. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  17. sittingbear

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    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...

    Posted 8 months ago #
  18. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    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.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  19. crashthegrey

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    This is unfortunate. I have no advice, I'm just disappointed for you.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. cortezattic

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    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

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 8 months ago #
  21. cortezattic

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    Oops! I just noticed the link already provided by eaglewriter! Sorry for the superfluous post.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  22. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Thanks guys, lots to learn. Ha ha, imagine the statistical chances that two people would post the same link to such a specific website.
    I am still reading and learning about curing. I think the main thing I learned with this, was to dry the leaf really well before storing for further aging. And, don't get lazy about it!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  23. haparnold

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    Cosmic, I'm actually a graduate student at UK (I'm not in Ag, but I know some people who are). They actually have a tobacco research center here, and I'm sure there are some people on the ground here with a lot of knowledge on this subject.

    https://ktrdc.ca.uky.edu/

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 8 months ago #
  24. sittingbear

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    Don't give up! Some of the greatest human inventions were accidents. Keep us posted!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Don't give up!

    Ohhh no, I have been growing tobacco for five years. I am not about to give up from just one bad batch. No way. I enjoy what I am doing and getting to just pack a pipe full of something you grew from seeds is priceless. Plus, once all of the tobacco companies have been run out, someone has to grow it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  26. haparnold

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    Ironically, given all the links people have posted to tobacco resources at the University of Kentucky, here's a picture I snapped on my way to class today:

    Posted 8 months ago #
  27. sittingbear

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    Cosmic, just curious if you came up with a solution?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  28. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Yes, I burned the moldy tobacco, and I will just be less clumsy with it next year. My lesson was to not procrastinate.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    I assume when you say you burned the moldy tobacco you did not burn it in your pipe?? ( this is where I would insert a smiling emoji but for some reason they are not popping up)

    Posted 8 months ago #
  30. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Ha ha, no, I loaded it into my burn barrel.
    I would have taken your suggestion to make it into a dip, but I have better non-moldy tobacco to try that with.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  31. sittingbear

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    Well, we learn from our mistakes! I foresee a time when others will come to you for your experience, knowledge and wisdom.

    Posted 8 months ago #

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