Hand Rolling Tobacco Guide
Hand Rolling Tobacco or shag is used to make your own Roll-Your-Own cigarette. These are also sometimes called rollies or roll-ups. These are made form hand rolling tobacco, filter papers, and also filters. These can all be brought separately and can be cheaper to smoke for the smoker than cigarettes which are brought already rolled.
Smokers will choose to use hand rolling tobacco because its gives them the ability to create a cigarette to suit their needs. They can make a cigarette of any diameter, or length. Because the smoker is using hand rolling tobacco to make their cigarette, their finished cigarette will usually contain less or even no additives.
Hand rolling tobacco is cultivated the same as other agriculture. It is sown in cold frames or hotbeds to stop attacks from pests. Once the tobacco plant has matured they are transplanted into fields. This is because when the plants are young they are at an increase risk from flea beetles which once caused destruction in almost half the tobacco plants in America. When the tobacco plant is moved it is put into a hole in the earth with a tobacco peg. Today this is done mechanically with a tobacco planter which can make the hole, fertilise it, and guide the plant into position.
The hand rolling tobacco is then harvested; this can be done in a few different ways. The oldest method is to simply cut the plant from the stalk, with a sickle. Another method used is called topping, this is where the plants leaves are individually pulled off the stalk. Today it is mainly done using farm equipment, but topping is still done occasionally by hand.
After harvesting the tobacco, it is then cured to create hand rolling tobacco. Curing and aging the tobacco allows the slow oxidation and degradation of organic pigments in the tobacco leaf. This helps the aroma and smoothness of the smoke. Hand rolling tobacco can be cured in different ways. Which are:-
Air Cured - the tobacco is hung in a ventilated barn and left to dry for a number of weeks. This produced tobacco which is low in sugar.
Fire Cured - where the tobacco is hung in a barn with a low fire of hardward is kept. This can take between 3 days to 10 weeks. This produced tobacco which is low in sugar, but also has high nicotine content.
Flue Cured - this is where tobacco is heat cured in barns using fires but the tobacco is not exposed to the fire. This can take about a week; it produces tobacco which is low in sugar with a med to high level in nicotine.
Sun-Cured - this is where tobacco is cured in the sun; this is generally used in Mediterranean countries. It produces tobacco which is low in both nicotine and sugar.
When producing hand rolling tobacco sometimes sugar, glycerol and fruit flavours are added to create different flavours and aromas.