Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cigar Rolling

The other day, I came home to this...

I know, ladies, I know.  What woman doesn't love coming home at dinnertime to dried tobacco all over her kitchen table?

If you have questions as to what we are doing with tobacco in the first place, you can catch up here.
In my garden last year, amidst the marigolds, foxglove, lettuce, beans, and basil, Aaron thought he'd carve out a little area for tobacco seeds so he could try his hand at rolling cigars.  This shouldn't surprise you.

As it turns out, tobacco plants are actually lovely looking plants.  Believe it or not, we actually grew Cuban tobacco right here in Minnesota!  Grapes, Cuban tobacco...we can do it all in Minnesota! 

The tobacco has been drying out for several months and they are ready for rolling.

Please don't use the following as any sort of cigar rolling tutorial.  He's an amatuer who learned this himself off the internet.  And I just followed him around with my camera asking, "Now what are you doing? What's that for?"  And more importantly, "Are you going to clean this all up when you're done?"

Here is the tobacco filler being put into the tobacco leaves, used as the cigar wrappers.

Spraying it all down with water in the process to make sure it all stayed moist and the leaves nice and pliable.

He used egg whites as the adhesive to secure the leaves together when wrapping them.

And placed them in a cigar former, bought off of ebay last year.

Tux helped too.

Now, before you start leaving me hate comments, rest assured, we are not encouraging nicotine habits in our dogs.  Right after I snapped this picture of him licking up tobacco crumbs that fell from the table, I immediately signed him up for Quitplan. And put him on the patch. 

And then told him he could look, but not touch!  So far he's not showing any signs of withdrawal and we are thankful.

But his curiosity in this cigar rolling process was substantial enough that he earned the nickname, Stogie. 

The rolled cigars were baked in the cigar former at 175 degrees for about a half an hour.  This got the ends nice and crisp, helped lock-in the cigar shape, but still allowed the inside to remain moist.

Introducing the first batch of.... 
Wait, is that what you call a group of cigars?  A batch? Like a batch of cookies? 
The first cluster of cigars?
The first litter?

How about...the  first box?! That's it.

Introducing, the first box of Schram Stogies...

They're not perfect. Definitely not. But for a novice cigar maker...not bad for a first try!
We'll let you know how they are after the first puff. 

Don't stray too far.  The basement wine cellar is complete!  At least about as complete as it is will get for a while and it looks pretty sweet!  Pictures and a tour posted later this week.