Used mainly in the manufacture of cigarettes, flue-cured tobacco is lemon, orange, or mahogany in color, with a high sugar content and a medium-to-high nicotine content. Flue curing requires a closed building equipped with a system of ventilation and a source of heat. When heat and humidity are controlled, leaf color changes, moisture is quickly removed, and the leaf and stems dry.
This group includes the original air-cured tobaccos of South and Central America, the cigar tobaccos (subdivided into wrappers, binders, and fillers, depending on their use), and the burley tobaccos, an important component of American cigarettes. These have a low sugar content but vary in nicotine content. Air curing requires an open framework in which sticks of leaves (or whole plants) are hung, protected from wind and sun. Leaf color changes from green to yellow, as leaves and stems dry slowly.
Fire-cured tobacco, generally dark brown, is used mostly for pipe tobacco mixtures, snuff, and chewing tobacco and has a low sugar but high nicotine content. Fire curing employs an enclosed barn similar to that used for flue curing. Small fires are built on the floor, and the leaves cure in a smoke-laden atmosphere. Whereas flue curing takes 6 to 8 days, fire curing, using far lower temperatures, may take up to 4 weeks.
Sun curing is the drying of uncovered sticks or strings of leaf in the
Sun. Of all Sun-cured tobaccos, the best known are the so-called oriental tobaccos of
Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, and nearby countries. These are used in cigarettes and have
characteristic aromas. They are low in both sugar and nicotine.
History - Cultivation - Aging - Curing - US Tobacco Industry
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