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Aging tobacco in a vacuum?

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Blackhorse

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Does this work?

A new member here, Arkansas Piper, has a cool vacuum thing and is storing his stash is smallish plastic bags from which all air has been removed. It looks like a sweet setup.

I remember somewhere hearing or reading something about whether or not VA blends needed air during storage to age properly. But I don't remember whether the call was yea or nay.

Any real data out there...over and above just an opinion?
 

DrumsAndBeer

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I am under the impression that the Food Saver vacuum seal bag, while quite thick & durable, are still gas permeable. They're great for keeping food in an oxygen deprived freezer environment, but because of the gas permeable issue, I still think that jars would be  a superior option.  

Now I have heard of a couple mega-deep cellar collectors vacuum sealing all of their European circular, square and rectangular shaped coin style tins to keep them from losing their seal. For one it adds an extra barrier between the contents of the tin and the outside, but it also squashes the lid and tin together.

I have a food saver unit, and for lack of jars I once vacuum sealed a bag of Stonehaven. I unearthed it about a year ago after my dad gifted me an enormous stash or Fido bail top and 8oz Ball Mason jars. When I went to jar up the Stoner-head, the only thing I can really report is that the flakes were so mashed so together that they broke apart in petrified chunks and peeling them apart as intended was all but impossible. The tobacco smokes great, but I can't really say whether or not it benefited or suffered from the treatment.
 

Blackhorse

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So you're saying that vac packing won't seal in moisture long term...and that's a negative.

That's a different issue than I asked about, but totally important.
 

AdamCordray

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GL Pease has some information on his website regarding this topic, and Mr. Pease recommends storing tobacco in mason jars with no fancy sealing or paraffin wax dip etc.... you can either rest the jar in warm water prior to screwing the lid down tight to create a gentle negative pressure seal, or just skip the warm water and screw the lid down tight.  

As for "real data", there is also an article on the same website under Articles & Essays, written by Toren Smith in 2001 where tobacco was aged for 3 years in mason jars, vacuum sealed mason jars, plastic bags and vacuum sealed plastic bags.  In summary, "For those of you who want to skip the details, Greg Pease was right--store your tobacco in an unevacuated glass jar."  He compared the results against each other and regular mason jars with no vacuum sealing was the winner.  Evacuated jars and bags did not allow the tobacco to age, and the plastic bags actually had some drying of the tobacco.  

I have seen people on pipesmagazine forum talking about using heavy duty 5mil metalized mylar bags which are better at sealing in moisture... essentially very similar to the bags Esoterica blends come in.  I'm curious to see how this has worked for them, and am considering getting a few bags myself to seal tins for deep cellaring to prevent rust.  Also maybe to store blends that I've already opened the tin but don't regularly smoke, will help reduce the load of mason jars I seem to be accumulating. Anyhow, I haven't tried it yet.  

Check out the article mentioned above on:
http://www.glpease.com/Articles/vacuum.html
 

DrumsAndBeer

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Blackhorse":2z7ay6v9 said:
So you're saying that vac packing won't seal in moisture long term...and that's a negative.

That's a different issue than I asked about, but totally important.
Yes. I am thinking that if you were just to place the tobacco in the vac bag and seal it over an extended period of time, granted it would probably take a long time, you'd lose moisture and some of the nature oils in the tobacco. The scent of the tobacco can be detected through the barrier, so the food savor plastic is definitely gas permeable.
 

Ozark Wizard

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I like the vacuum sealer for test pressing new blends, short term storage, blends I ship, and insuring anything I have in a 'squarish' tin doesn't blow a seal. The tin protects the contents from being crushed, but there's not much more disheartening than finding a breached seal on a cellared tin, and finding dried to dust tobacco. Rehydrating never seems to reclaim the oils the tobacco lost.....

Long term storage is best served in glass with new, solid seals. Air in the jar allows a more radical change, so aging can happen. I think the idea of a vacuum sealed tin is so products can be more uniform over the years. (If you like the blend, it should be little changed if it is stored a long time compared to a 'fresh' offering).

Hope this helps.......
 

Ozark Wizard

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Well, if your going to keep some of those blends over a year or so, yah, better put them in glass. But, if you think you'll smoke through it in the next 6 months, I think your fine with the foodsaver bags...

That'll give you time to shop for the deals on the jars. You can get used jars really cheap and just pick up a box or two of new lids for next to nothing.
 

Blackhorse

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Admission of guilt: I use ALL kinds of jars for storage... spaghetti sauce jars, mayonnaise jars, jelly jars, etc. Just so long as it has that nice rubberized seal thing. But no pickle jars. Yeesh! I even use plastic jars. In all the years I've stored tobacco blends (in some cases over 20 years) it's generally not caused any known issues.

But my prize blends...the VA flakes, etc. I store in one quart wide mouth glass Mason type jars. I buy new lids too. Very cheap insurance.

Just sayin'.
 

Lonecoyote

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I've been blending tobacco for just over 42 years. Long term storage for tobacco's is best achieved in Mason or Ball jars. They come in all sizes and are relatively cheap and always available at Walmart. Also you can purchase new tops for both jars mentioned. When filling the jars do not press the tobacco tight, you want space for natural fermentation that comes with long term aging, especially Virginia's. Latakia's on the other hand can lose some of their flavors when aging over 10 years, that's an issue I've personally noticed. Any of my Latakia blends are aged from 2 to 5 years for the best enjoyable smoking pleasure :cheers: :cheers:

KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
 

Blackhorse

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LC - thanks for the input. Good real world experience to draw from.
 

Richard Burley

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One of the most useful and persuasive threads I've encountered on this site. Guess it's time I turned "professional" and get some screw-down jars after 50+ years of pipe smoking, and half-assed storage methods. What do youse guys use for labels? (I like those orange stick-on disks, but the gum or whatever it is that makes them stick tends to dry out over time and they fall off.)
 

Ozark Wizard

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Richard Burley":pg6ea906 said:
One of the most useful and persuasive threads I've encountered on this site. Guess it's time I turned "professional" and get some screw-down jars after 50+ years of pipe smoking, and half-assed storage methods. What do youse guys use for labels? (I like those orange stick-on disks, but the gum or whatever it is that makes them stick tends to dry out over time and they fall off.)
I generally use a permanent felt tip marker on the lid. When I finish a jar the lid gets tossed for the most part, otherwise the marker comes off with a bit of lacquer thinner.
 

Lonecoyote

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RB, I use a print program on my PC with regular print paper and cut the size I need once printed. Also use clear transparent Scotch Brand wide packing tape. Never had any issues with the tape drying out, as you would with the sticky labels. Glass jars are the way to go for storing and/or aging your tobacco's.

KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
 

Blackhorse

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I use a piece of colored paper...coded for type of blend. Often use a post it note. Pink is VA. Green is Burley. Blue is Turkish. Whatever. Then I use a strip of that wide packaging tape like for taping a box closed. It's like 2" wide and I cut the label paper to a little less. Then (important) I fold 1/4" of the tape under and onto itself so it forms a pull tab. This makes pulling the tape off later SO much easier. I learned this as an Army Medic. Slick. Generally the tape completely covers the paper label. It's absolutely secure, easy to read from a distance even when the jar is sitting on a shelf above you, etc., etc., etc.
 

fsu92john

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Ozark Wizard":innm05xz said:
Richard Burley":innm05xz said:
One of the most useful and persuasive threads I've encountered on this site. Guess it's time I turned "professional" and get some screw-down jars after 50+ years of pipe smoking, and half-assed storage methods. What do youse guys use for labels? (I like those orange stick-on disks, but the gum or whatever it is that makes them stick tends to dry out over time and they fall off.)
I generally use a permanent felt tip marker on the lid. When I finish a jar the lid gets tossed for the most part, otherwise the marker comes off with a bit of lacquer thinner.
This is what I do as well. If I need to be able to see the contents without being able do see the lid, I'll write on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the side of the jar.
 

ontariopiper

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Great thread with some really good info! Thanks for this.

As one who has had to deal with broken seals on cellared tins, I can see the benefit to sealing the tins in vacuum bags for a little added insurance. Of course Mason jars are a lot easier to pop open and sample the wares, though that does affect the ageing process.

Mason jars can often be had fairly cheaply at this time of year. My last flat of 12 cost $8CAD, and of course came with new lids and snap rings.

I've taken to printing my own labels using the online label maker software the Avery company puts out. I print on regular paper and just slip the round label between the lid and the snap ring. Works great and makes my baccy cabinet pretty :D

I'm also in the "new baccy, new lid" camp. Old lids collect bits of baccy etc on the rubber seal which can make the jar less than airtight.
 

Zeno Marx

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I too use whatever jar I've tested to do well. Smucker's jars are good. Salsa jars are better. I already paid for them (and I eat a lot of peanut butter), and from my experience, they work better than Ball and Mason jars. I've had horrible luck with both; possibly as low as 50% seal rates. It's more like 80% for the jars I'm recycling.

If you plan to freeze a vacuum bag, that MIGHT be okay. The cold temp likely slows down the plastic leeching into the food. You'll eat it or throw it out before the leeching is significant. However, if storing food at room temp in plastic is the situation, I would recommend against it. Okay, you don't care about the health risks. That's fine, but how about the plastic lending to the flavors? I know. You've seen military rations from seventy-five years ago, and people eat them. I'm not talking about something remaining edible here. I'm talking about plastic not being a positive addition to the flavor of something. Since we're likely talking longterm storage of tobacco, sitting next to plastic for years, that's not a desirable situation.
 
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