I use the "buttons." A bit of damp paper towel should work. I do not jar or can so just put the moist item in and close the lid. I usually use distilled water. Apple? I know it was done but, I'd fear the extra sugar.
The only method I've used is to put the tobacco in a bowl, moisten a towel with distilled water and place the towel over the bowl. I leave the towel on the bowl until the tobacco is moistened to my liking. I then jar the tobacco in a mason jar.
I've tried all the ways known to mankind regarding rehydrating tobacco because I love smoking old tobacco that I otherwise never would have gotten a shot at in the good old days. I'm really not sure that one way is better than any other. If the tobacco is rock solid but dry, I just pack the pipe as I normally would and then put my mouth over the top of the bowl and slowly breathe down through the bowl and stem. One or two breaths like that usually perfectly rehydrates the tobacco.
But for super dry tobacco, (and only do this with a full tin), I just take a paper towel, soak it in distilled water, wring it out as hard as I can with my hands, spread it out, put no more than 2 ounces of tobacco in the center of the paper towel, wrap it back up over the tobacco and put it in a mason jar. Seal the jar and wait 24 hours. Then, simply open the paper towel and put the contents in the Mason jar. The tobacco should be perfectly rehumidified. If it is a little too moist, just leave it in the jar with the lid off for a couple of hours and that should get the tobacco just about right. It's sort of a trial and error thing, but after a short while, you will get a good feel for it. Hope this helps.
I have rehydrated very dry tobacco using an apple core or a slice of apple. I drop the apple into a ziplock bag, pour the tobacco over it and shake to get the apple roughly in the center. After 2 or 3 days it's about right. Then I remove the apple and discard it. I've never had any mold problem doing this, although if you left it in there for a long time I can see it getting moldy. I read somewhere that you can do this with an orange peel but I haven't tried that. The tobacco absorbs some of the moisture from the apple but I have not noticed that any flavor was exchanged. Even if it did, it should not seem to be unpleasant.
I use the 'John Method' as put forward by forum member John aka jpmcwjr.
Take some small lumps of broken and clean terracotta and soak them in boiled water. Once cooled, add one lump to your desiccated tobacco and Bob is your Father's brother.
I'd try at least a small bowl of the dry tobacco before rehydrating it. Often a tobacco that looks too dry will smoke quite well, witness the fact that many of us dry out a bowl full before we light up. And yes, the apple slice is a great way to grow mold; I've done it.
When I was a young and broke lad, it was quite common among my circle of friends and acquaintances to smoke RYOs, the usual being a pouch of Drum (which is actually a decent smoke in a pipe) and a pack of white zigzags. It was pretty common to toss an apple slice in the pouch to keep things moist. When you reached the bottom of the pouch, you would be left with a shriveled tobacco coated apple slice. My one buddy Tyler on several occasions chopped up said tobacco impregnated apple slices and rolled cigarettes from them. I never tried it myself, but the room note was much nicer than a normal Drum smoke...
"My one buddy Tyler on several occasions chopped up said tobacco impregnated apple slices and rolled cigarettes from them. I never tried it myself, but the room note was much nicer than a normal Drum smoke..."
Sounds interesting. In my RYO days Samson and Drum were my preferred choices after Old Holborn.
I bought some bulk Scottish flake, maybe six ounces. Didn't seal my jar properly, didn't check and a month later it was too dry to my liking. I bought a large tuperware storage bin, large enough to maybe hold a pound of tobacco. Sprayed some distilled water over it, shook it up several times, transferred to a large freezer bag. Tried to get all the air out then sealed it, put it in the sun for several hours and I was good to go.
If I have a pouch of tobacco that has gotten too dry I will toss in an apple core, shake it up and leave it for a day or two. After that, it seems about right to smoke. I generally toss the apple core at that point so it doesn't get moldy. It seems to work just fine. If you have a larger amount this might not work as well.
I have a Dunhill pipe stand/humidor that comes with a very small sponge humidifier, which does the trick for keeping blends right. That humidor’s lid does not seal as a cigar humidor by design, so I don’t fear mold. For extreme cases, I reuse a Prince Albert tub with a hydro stick for a week and then simply remove the stick. For sponges and sticks I use distilled water.
For cigars I only use Boveda now. Less work than the traditional sponge foams and easier to deal with in the cold months,
I recently successfully rehydrated several tins I left open without putting in a jar over the winter. I took a napkin, moistened it, folded it to about 3" x 2", put it in a mylar bag. I then took the tins, cracked the lids but not completely off so the tobacco would spill. Inserted in mylar bag with moistened towel. Sealed the mylar bag and left for a couple of weeks. I had some concerns it might mold but didn't have much to lose. Turned out well.
I keep many open tins. In fact, when a tin is empty, I'll often transfer a portion of another blend from a ziplock or jar to the tin for convenience.
If I notice the contents drying, I'll dip one or both ends (depending on how dry) of a cotton swab in water and lay it on top of the paper wrap before replacing the lid.
It's not as fast as some methods, but I can introduce moisture in a slow, controlled fashion until I feel it's just right. The most I've ever had to do was twice re-wetting the swab to achieve the preferred level, over a few days.