Sunday, 14 August 2011


It's time to start pulling leaves. The drying part looks easy enough, it's the curing part that looks tricky. Every site and YouTube video I've seen has a different method, so I'll have to allocate batches to different methods to see what works for me.

This means I'll probably end up with only a small amount of successful tobacco this year but I'll have a better idea what to do next year. I'll also know not to bother with the rubbish clay soil I have (some have better soil and weather, but I have to work between permafrosts here), and use compost-filled buckets in moats as growing media. Also, next time, I'll need six-foot support canes because the wind knocked some over this year. Politicos take note - this is what 'learning lessons' actually means.

Booze production will also begin in earnest later this year. Including an attempt at mead from Rose's tips in comments. As for resources, I have huge and swollen plums all ready to go, a few gooseberries and raspberries (not enough this time) and it looks like I'll have a decent apple crop if the wind leaves enough of them on the tree. I have no demijohns - well, that's not perfectly true, I have six but they are at my parents' house in Wales and getting them here intact will cost more than new ones. So I need an alternative, and there is a really cheap one available.

The idea comes from here and is superbly simple and extremely cheap. Five litres of supermarket own-brand water costs pennies, it's even cheaper than beer despite what you've heard, and if the water isn't great I'll use it to water plants in the event that it ever stops raining. There might be bigger ones available, I haven't looked. The plastic bottles, with a bung and airlock in the top, become wine fermentation vessels.

You can make wine out of pretty much any kind of vegetable matter except tomatoes. For some reason, that just will not work. Sure, some types of plant are better than others - most fruit works as do most root vegetables, and even some flowers, but runner bean wine and courgette wine isn't often produced for a good reason. It tastes dreadful.

Now I'm wondering about the stems those tobacco plants will be left with once the leaves have gone. That's a fair chunk of plant material. I had planned to dry them and use them as chimenea fuel but...

Tobacco wine. Dare I? It would be the ultimate evil, surely?

I think I feel something growing on my forehead...


subrosa said...

The council should have old water bottles. Mine has plenty of these water dispensing machines in offices.

Say you're into recycling in a little way. :)

Leg-iron said...

Oh, I'm all for recycling where it saves me money ;)

Angry Exile said...

You can make wine out of pretty much any kind of vegetable matter except tomatoes.

What? So it's possible to make chav wine without kicking him in the balls? This blog of yours is an edumacayshun sometimes, LI.

SBC said...

Leg, as a dry alcoholic and former home brewer and wine maker, may I give you a couple of tips?

First either build, beg, borrow or even,dare I say it, buy some kind of heater for your fermentation vessels. After cleanliness a constant steady heat source is the single most important thing when fermenting anything.

Secondly a filter is a god send if you want to speed up the whole process. Remember: Life is too short to wait for a wine to 'clear' on its own.

Anonymous said...

Perique Tobacco Liqueur

Silver Medal Winner / Best in Class - 2007
International Wine & Spirits Competition - London

"Louisiana Perique is the rarest and more precious tobacco in the entire world. Early French settlers learned the secrets of Perique cultivation from the native peoples, and while their descendents have continued the tradition for centuries, very little Perique exists today."

Hardly surprising, it's a small plant with very pretty rose coloured flowers, but not a great deal of leaf.
A lovely thing though and well worth growing.


Laban said...

A friend makes pea-pod wine. Tastes good and is absolutely deadly.

Anonymous said...

If it's of any use, I found out the other week that homebrewed cider makes an excellent substitute for cider vinegar in chilli jam.

I'm not keen on vinegar, so it seemed worth a try. I wasn't prepared for the sudden loss of liquid though.

When I tested what was left of the cider it registered 9% alcohol , but it's such a basic device that I don't trust it at the best of times.

However after some further dilutions with more cider and a couple of quick reboilings, it tastes delicious.

Now I have to try and work out what I did.


wv skiless :)

Can't argue with that

Ed P said...

I'm sorry to hear about your huge & swollen plums!

Angry Squaddie said...

This site would tend to disagree with you about tomatoes:

Woodsy42 said...

Buy some white grape concentrate, make almost as the kit method, but a bit more water when deconcentrating and add the 'few raspberries'. You don't need a lot of raspberries to give it a flavour and should get a lovely light raspberry rose, although obviously taste and colour will depend on the quantity of the 'few'.
Good luck

SBC said...

"chav wine without kicking him in the balls"

AE, I am APPALLED you should even suggest such a horrid thing. Who would then make all the little Shanias,Blades,Maxies,Kayleighs et al in the y-shaped chav machine?

Leg-iron said...

Ed P - They've started turning purple. Tome to pull them off, I think.

Leg-iron said...

Angry Squaddie - it's possible? I have tomatoes.

Woodsy42 - great idea. Unfortunately the few raspberries get ever fewer because I can't resist eating them. Growing season is almost finished for this year but I'll be ready for them next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it would be the nicotine in the tomatoes giving the yeast cancer that would make tomato wine impossible.

Would yoo have access to glass carboys through your job? They are good for wine making. Nice and big too.

baccy man said...

I've been pulling my baccy leaves for a few weeks. All 3 varieties (Monte Calm, Maryland, Golden Virginia) have done splendidly and I have leaves hanging all over the place in various stages of drying. I just started curing the first batch and this is where the trial and error comes in. I'm curing one batch in a plastic bag in the loft, another in an insulated fishing box, another air curing off the kitchen ceiling. Smells lovely once the ammonia has disappeared and the leaves are golden brown. Just got the first flowers about to pop but friends in Cumbria advise they've had flowers for a week or so.

Give it 10 weeks or so and I can't wait to sample the first batch of luverly tax free additive free, home made baccy in my new pipe.

I've loads of neighbours who didn't think you could grow baccy oop North. Glad to boast that I did and am overwhelmed with success. I guess there will be more people in my street whingeing about "bloody slugs" and "bloody aphids" and "bloody caterpillars" next year. :)

Incidentally I grew baccy because I reckon when the economy goes tits up that it will be a convenient medium of exchange and prices will rocket. Looking at around 10 to 15 kilos from my humble garden.

baccy man said...

Tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable.

You should try curing baccy with creme de menthe. Tastes fantastic in a pipe. Used to buy this years ago from my speciality tobacconist. Nyum nyum nyum

Cherry and vanilla are great too. I have a foreign source of hand rolling baccy at the moment. Domingo its called. From Belgium. Different flavours. Highly recommended if you lay hands on it. Cut just right. Perfect moisture content. Burns just right.

I'm becoming a baccy bore, ain't I? haha

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