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Keep Your Rolling Tobacco Fresh

A Guide to Storing Tobacco & Herbs to Assure Optimal Taste and Quality

Many roll-your-own smokers prefer rolling their own tobacco. Whether to save money, or because of a preference to smoke a custom blend of tobacco or herbs, we see one question again and again from our readers: How can I keep my tobacco fresh? and How do I store tobacco so it won’t dry out? Tobacco and herbs will dry out quickly if not stored properly. And once it does, its flavor is diminished and the taste is harsh – even for hardcore smokers. Read on for tips to best store your tobacco! We will also dispel some myths about claims we hear to keep tobacco moist.

Why Dry Tobacco is Not Ideal: The Facts & Production Process

Producing tobacco or herbs for smoking is a process that has been mastered over centuries. If fresh tobacco or herbs are dried out during the curing process or afterward, the result is a very harsh smoke for the stomach and lungs, and the taste is as harsh as the smoke. Even for the most hardcore smokers. Tobacco is slowly dried in its production process to allow for chemical changes to occur, but is never fully dried out because most tobacco producing areas have a very arid climate. After the production process, the tobacco is packaged in airtight containers that keep the product moist until opened.

Keeping Tobacco Fresh From the Start

The key message for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with re-wetting or trying to add moisture to dried-out herbs and tobacco is pretty simple – at least in theory. You should never let it dry out in the first place. Take a proactive VS. reactive approach to make your investment last and stay fresh to the very last leaf! No one wants to waste good tobacco products because they become dried out, and there are an overwhelming amount of tips out there telling smokers what they “have to do!” to re-hydrate tobacco and herbs. The first thing you should really do is try to store tobacco and herbs properly so they remain moist prior to storing them, and immediately after opening or puncturing the package.

Often we get questions about keeping tobacco fresh in the freezer. We cover this extensively in another article called keeping tobacco fresh in the freezer

How Do I Get Moisture Back Into My Dry Tobacco?

If you’ve already stored tobacco and you open it to find out it’s dry, there is still hope to bring it back to life. Some smokers put their tobacco or herbs in a Ziploc/sealed bag or plastic Tupperware container with an apple or fruit slice, moist paper towel, or piece of sponge. Some people spray water directly on the product, but this can wash away the flavor and additives that make your herbs and tobacco what it is. A fine mist or vapor is okay, but must be used carefully and sparingly.

Humidors or clay discs such as the Raw Hydrostone can help as well, and can be bought pretty cheaply. However, we can’t stress enough that once tobacco is dry, it loses its original awesomeness – flavor moisture, and overall quality. Some smokers criticize humidors, saying that it makes for stale or “crunchy” tobacco. They are perhaps best used for cigars, but it depends on the brand and specs of the product. Clay discs get decent reviews and are quite inexpensive. At least there are some viable options out there these days!

Storing Herbs the Right Way

Ziploc or any plastic zipper-lock bags are a great, cheap way to store herbs and tobacco for a week or few weeks. The tight seal and plastic material of the bags lock in moisture, essentially creating humidity. One thing to consider is the humidity of where you live. In dry desert climates, the humidity is low – making the Ziploc bag fix not quite as effective – but will still work. It is ideal to take special care when you live in a dry, hot climate. You can always use a ziplock and a Zepplin Blimpifier if you're stuck in a dry climate.

Tupperware and Plastic Containers

In a pinch, plastic Tupperware is okay to use for short-term. It isn’t airtight, oftentimes, but it is a great short-term solution. Here’s what we recommend:

Put foil around just the top of a pile of tobacco in a plastic container, and then a moistened paper towel above that (making sure the water doesn’t seep into the tobacco), then close the lid and store it with the lid on. Tobacco or herbs will stay moist and fresh for a while – but they should be checked often to see if the paper towel is wet and also to make sure water isn’t seeping into the tobacco.

Storing Tobacco in a Mason Jar

A mason jar is a great way to store herbs! Just make sure it is a quality, airtight sealed jar. This is such a simple, however highly recommended way to keep moisture and humidity in your tobacco and herbs! Just like Ziplocs, think about your environment, and when a hot and dry weather pattern occurs, some smokers recommend double-duty. Placing tobacco or herbs in plastic bags and then placing the sealed bags into a Mason jar – double duty – is supposed to make even a bigger impact. It may be too moist for people living in very humid climates though.  One other option is a metal container like a Cvault container that has a built-in humidity control device by Boveda.  This container keeps your tobacco or herbs at 70% humidity. 

Note: If tobacco gets soggy or wet during any of these processes, it will need to be dehydrated... AGAIN! So whatever method you decide on to hydrate or re-hydrate your stash, try not to get the product wet! Even a few drops of water can affect the formula and flavor.

Home remedies and inexpensive products sold online or in smoke shops make it easy to keep tobacco and herbs moist, flavorful, and fresh to save money and product. This is especially true if you're new to rolling your own cigarettes! Just follow these tips – gotta respect the smoke!