The main difference between American dip and Swedish snus is the pasteurization process and that no smoke-dried tobacco is used in Swedish snus. That is one reason why you find less tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA) in Swedish snus. Nitrosamines: Nitrite, nicotine and other amines and alkaloids.
Swedish Snus pasteurization in the Crockpot
As I described in the article on how to make your own Swedish snus at home I recommend temperatures from 60° C to 90° C. But I have since then come to the conclusion that you get a lot of benefits by making your snus in the higher temperature range. Some of the benefits are:
- A faster process, 36 hours instead of many days.
- Less stirring and less washing up.
- A more mature, smoky/burned flavor to the snus.
- Less living “things” in the tobacco.
- Longer shelf life with less “things” in it
- Lower TSNA with less “things” making nitrite from nitrate.
Swedish snus is not a health product, but a lot healthier than smoking. To make it as healthy as possible you should make it in a way that keeps the TSNA at a low level.
High temperature Swedish snus pasteurization
To get the temperature up to 90° C in the Crockpot using the warm setting I have made a Crockpot-cosy out of an old blanket and some aluminum foil on the inside. With this the temperature rise to over 95° C within the first 24 hours. After the initial 24 hours you stir the tobacco once before cooking it for another 12 hours.
To avoid that the tobacco touching the pot to become completely dry I put the tobacco in a roasting bag. With a roasting bag less of the water evaporate and you don’t get any dry tobacco. But with the higher temperature you get a stronger smell of tobacco when you make the snus. But with the bag you should be able to collect the vapor if you want to avoid it.
After the cooking is done I cover the Crockpot with another blanket and let it slowly cool for another 12 hours.
After that I add the glycerol and any flavors. But with a good tobacco I use very little or no flavors. As with General Kardus the snus should be stored in the refrigerator six to eight weeks before the flavors have fully matured.
The advantages of using glycerol
After some empirical testing I have come to the conclusion that glycerol enhances the flavor of the snus. By adding glycerol to a part of a snus batch and nothing in the other, the one with glycerol developed a fuller, richer flavor. After six to eight weeks the part with glycerol had a sweeter and more enjoyable taste. The recommendation is to add no more than 3% glycerol to the snus. That is 30 gram per kilo snus.
By using glycerol, glycerin, propylene glycol some preservative properties are achieved as well as a sweet flavor to the snus. Glycerin (E422 Glycerol) is used to give consistency and texture as well as a more developed aroma. It also makes the snus hold together and make it less crumbly.
Glycerol is commonly used in sweet food products like ice-cream, cookies, candy, spirits and beer. One to two tablespoons are strongly hydra gouge. Glycerol is non-toxic.
The production of American dip
American dip, smokeless, is said to be strictly from American tobacco. But this is in most cases not true. A lot of dip tobacco comes from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. The Copenhagen dip, for example, is 70% US and 30% Brazilian tobacco.
After the initial drying process, piles of sawdust are lit to smolder in the tobacco barn. Primary sawdust from of Oak and Hickory are used. This is done to generate the smoky flavor in the tobacco.
After the drying and smoking process the aging process starts. The tobacco is stored in barrels for up to five years to get the preferred character.
The fermentation is done after the tobacco is cut and water, salt and other flavor components are added. The salt makes the fermentation selective as the high salinity makes most micro-organisms die. After that, flavors and sweeteners is added before it is canned.
Swedish snus production
In comparison, Swedish snus bypass the smoking process altogether. Since 1980 no fire-cured tobacco has been used in Swedish snus. Although artificial smoke flavors are added to compensate the loss of the smoky flavors.
Instead of fermentation, as with dip, pasteurization is used instead. The snus pasteurization is done in a steam chamber under pressure. This process kills spores bacteria microbes and anything growing that reduces nitrate to nitrite.
The storing of Swedish snus
Storing the snus in a refrigerator have nothing at all to do with nitrosamine production. Because the lack of preservatives in Swedish snus it is refrigerated to keep the flavor fresh.
What is your experience making your own Swedish snus at home? Leave a comment and let me know.