Pipe Tobacco Cellar!

Click to Shout Out on the pipe smoker newsfeed! Subscribe to the pipe tobacco cellar newsfeed Pipe Social Network News: (more...)

            TobaccoCellar.com | My Cellar | My Account | Feedback | Find Tobacco Blends | Tobacco Blog | Login | Join!

Showing posts with label aging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can a mason jars seal fail?

The easiest way to cellar tobacco that is NOT already sealed in a tin, is by sealing it in a mason jar. However, the seal on a mason jar CAN fail! There's no point in storing a jar of baccy for decades, and then finding out all you have left for your effort is a pile of dry tobacco dust.

Firstly, the term "mason jar" is applied to the SCREW TOP jars on this blog. There are also "bail top" mason jars, these have a spring loaded hinged lid that presses down on an almost comically large rubber washer. Bail-tops are NOT ideal for long term storage, they are fine (in fact, great) for short-term use. Their ease of opening makes it a quick task to pop open, load a pipe, and close back up. The wire springs loose tension over time, and the rubber gasket will also distort and could form gaps, allowing air leaks.

The screw-tops are the best for long term cellaring. These lids come in two parts, the LID and the RING. The ring simple tightens down the lid over the mouth of the jar. Most lids have a pop-up "nipple", this is not really a tamper-evident function, but an air-tightness alert. The rubber washer is thin on these lids, and soft. When jammed down, the rubber forms a tight seal by getting distorted and mashed down, effectively filling in all microscopic gaps. Once you open it, this seal starts to deteriorate. While fine for keeping things going as you combust the jar contents, avoid re-using lids. Danged things are less than a buck each - just get new lids (and mostly they come with matching rings)!

The pop-up button will only work when air is evacuated. In "canning" of foodstuff, the jar is boiled or cooked before the lid is put on, this process removes all air. With pipe tobacco we don't really want to cook the precious cargo. One good recommendation is to run the (new) jar through a dishwasher cycle - NO detergent, and with heated dry. Lids should NOT be washed. The dishwasher will wash icky things out of the glass jar, and the heater will dry it out as well as make the glass hot. If you quickly load in the tobacco, not allowing the jar to cool, then put the lid on and tighten - it will cause the popup button to be pulled in as the jar cools, and cools the air within, and reduces its volume thusly. As long as the seal holds, the button stays down. An easy way to judge the health of your cellared tobacco!

It is suggested that you leave a quarter inch or more of space at the top of the jar. Especially if you are packing (loose cut) baccy into the jar, as it will start to expand and could push up against the lid, possibly breaking the seal. And a wee bit of air is necessary for proper aging in any case. Another thing to watch out for are loose strands of baccy that could get between the mouth of the jar and the rubber on the lid. Leaving sufficient air space makes it easier to avoid this simple error, which leaves a nice air leak channel through the rubber seal. Periodically checking your jar collection for up-turned nipples is a good practice.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tin, jar, baggie?

Here is your latest delivery, a stack of tins ye tall. Now what? How does one "age" this tobacco?

Easy, leave the tin alone, in a cool and dark place. Visit as often as you like, but do NOT open the tin (until you are ready to ignite its contents). Easy.

Ah, but what about bulk blends? The kind that comes in giant ziplock baggies. Or the tins that you just HAD to open and sniff thereupon.
For that we need the "mason jar". Or a whole bunch of them, depending on the quantity of tobacco you have. The Ball and Kerr brands are generally recognized as premium canning jars, so I would recommend these two names. Select jar size based on the volume of baccy you intend to store. The half pint jar holds about 2oz to 4oz of baccy, depending on its cut and consistency. Flakes, for example, are compressed, and with some tetris-dexterity one can cram quite a bit of the good leaf into a jar.

Select wide-mouth jars. They are just easier to scoop out from, and cost about the same as regular mouth jars. While I'm all for recycling and reusing, do NOT use a jar that has ever held any kind of foodstuff. Yes you can wash it, disinfect it, sterilize it, but just don't. Danged jars are dirt cheap, spring the nickel.

You can reuse jars that were used for baccy storage, sure. Just rinse with water, don't need no soap. But replace the lids, the rubber gasket gets squished after use and may fail in the future. Lids are dirt cheap, you cheapskate!

The best way to prepare jars is to simply run them through a dishwasher, just the jars (not lids, not bands, not your dinner plate either). Hot water, NO DETERGENT. Set the dishwasher to use the heated dry cycle. When the heater shuts off, you're ready. Do the filling quickly, you want the jars to be hot. Measure in your tobacco, leave like a quarter inch on the top for air space. Add lid, make sure no baccy is on the lip of the jar to compromise the seal area. Tighten band. As the jar cools, the air within also cools and contracts. The lid "nipple" will pop down (may take a day or a month, depending on how much air you left in there), ensuring a secured seal. And done! Easy! Don't forget the labels, with content and date clearly marked. Open after several years, enjoy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How long should I wait before popping a tin?

The big brown truck pulls up, a muscular stud flings your latest TAD (Tobacco Acquisition Disorder) package across your lawn with reckless abandon. The fiend! Dosth thou not know how hard it so to get those tins of [insert name of rare/discontinued baccy here]?

So how long do you wait before popping the lids of all those ninety odd tins in your order? Personally, I like to give all blends, especially Virginia heavy blends, at least 6 months to "awaken". After 18 months, they start to "age". Purely aromatic blends, usually, do not benefit from aging, they simply go "flat". Latakia blends, also usually, may not benefit from aging in excess of 5 years.

There used to be a very good aging FAQ out on the Internet, but it seems to have disappeared. I'll try to post salient details and links to references on this blog as I find them.

Welcome to the Blog

A blog; on cellaring, aging, and consuming premium pipe tobacco. I keep coming up with things I want to write about or add to the Tobacco Cellar site, but what with life and work and other things, it never gets done.

The blog. A perfect solution! Type it when I think of it, and bada-bing-bada-boom, its done. Subscribe to the feed so you can stay abreast of pipe baccy developments!

Over time I'll add some ways to link specific blends/items to related blog postings which will make things more interesting.
 
 
Content and materials on this website are Copyright ©2009-2017 TobaccoCellar.com.

Access to this website and content is provided at no charge, and with no guarantees.
While this content has been made available to assist you in tracking your cellar,
no guarantee is made that it will serve that function.

TobaccoCellar.com is not liable for any damages, consequential or inconsequential, from
the ability or disability of using this website. Use these materials at your own risk.

Usage of this website constitutes acknowledgment of these disclaimers and terms.