Jarring Tobacco

Here are a few tips on how to jar and store tobacco for later enjoyment.  First off, if you jar and store it right, pipe tobacco can last decades, if not more.  With prices going up and new legislations threatening pipe tobacco, it is a good idea to buy your favorites, either in bulk or tin, and store it away.

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Ok, here we go.  First off you need tobacco to jar.  Then you need jars.  Ball jam jars work best.  Jars are cheap, so son't use old or pre used jars.  You can find a good selection of jars either at Walmart or Target.

Most old timers will tell you to wash or boil the jars, but if you buy the jars and they are shrink sealed in a carton, then you don't need to wash them, they are already super clean.  Also make sure your work surface is clean, you really don't want a piece of yesterdays fried chicken stored away for years with your precious Stonehaven tobacco.  (If you find some Stonehaven, send me some.)  : ))

Get your bulk tobacco, and depending on how much you have fill up the jars.  8 ounces of tobacco can be easily squeezed into an 16 oz jar.  Fill to the rim and then push it down until there is room to fill some more.  Keep pressing and filling the jar until it becomes a bit difficult to push the tobacco down.  Leave a half inch to 3/4 inches of room between the tobacco and the lid.  Make sure the rim of the jar is free of ANY tobacco debris.  Also make sure the sealing lip part of the lid clear of any bits.  Because if there is a tiny bit of tobacco stuck to the seal it will eventually dry up, shrink and create an air passage that will dry out your tobacco over time.

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Make sure to label the purchase date, jarring date, tobacco name, and where you got it from.  Because in 2 years when you are ready to smoke it, you will not remember what the heck is in the jar… Trust me, I know.  : |

Again, the old timers, will tell you to dip the closed jars with tobacco in to boiling water, to create a vacuum seal.  THIS IS NOT GOOD ADVISE,  you don't want a complete vacuum in the jar, because you want the tobacco to age.  It will not age without air.  Close the lids tight and store the jars in a cool, dark place.  A dark cool semi humid environment would be ideal.  But unlike cigar tobacco, pipe tobacco is very forgiving, and anything below 80º F and an above a 35% relative humidity will work fine.  Keep it dark however.  UV light can kill tobacco, and humans too.  

In a month or so, visit the jars and tighten the lids, because the rubber seal will compress initially, so you want to go in there and give them a little tightening.

Unadulterated tobaccos, and Virginia based tobaccos age very well, and last a long long time, and become even better with age.  Top cased aromatic tobaccos don't age well, and will eventually lose their casing (what gives aromatics its flavor and aroma) and become dull and a waste of time to smoke.  Latakia blends age and become more mellow, but don't store it away for too long, it will also lose a bit of its edge, but I like it mellow.  However, if sealed and stored properly, most tobaccos will last a long time.  Aromatics needs to be sealed even tighter for the casing to not evaporate.  I recently opened some jars of aromatics a few years old, and sadly they were quite flat.  They were house blends from Boswell and PipesAndCigars.com.  Those blends are sprayed with a top casing at their place, and eventually the sprayed stuff evaporates, leaving the crap behind that is not wroth smoking.  Infused tobaccos, such as MacBarens Vanilla flake, do well, because casing is infused with pressure and the aging/curing process at the factory.

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Pressed tobaccos, such and flakes, cakes, and ropes will hold moisture better than loose tobaccos.  So don't break them apart, store it pressed.  Ziplock bags, tobacco pouches, topperwear, and tins are not good for storing.  So if you know you will not smoke an opened tin within a month, then transfer it to a jar.  Screw top tins hold moisture better than pop top tins.  If you want to store your newly purchased un-opened tins, put them in ziplock bags and store them away.  Even a vacuum sealed tin will eventually lose its seal.  What I do is buy the tins and transfer them to jars.  You have to let tinned tobacco breath anyways before you smoke it, so you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

If you run out of room, get more jars.  Don't do what I did… he he he!  Just kidding, don't eat tobacco, you will die.  Or, you can send me what you don't want, I will store it with my 40 other jars.  ; ) 

Well, that is about it really.  If I missed anything... Que sera sera!    Happy puffin!   -Alex  

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