Zarda is a type of smokeless tobacco product consumed by placing a portion of the tobacco between the cheek and gum or upper lip teeth and chewing.
Unlike dipping tobacco, it is not ground and must be manually crushed with the teeth to release flavor and nicotine. Unwanted juices are then expectorated (spat).
Zarda is typically manufactured as several varieties of product – most often as loose leaf (or scrap), pellets (tobacco "bites" or "bits"), and "plug" (a form of loose leaf tobacco condensed with a binding sweetener).
Nearly all modern chewing tobaccos are produced via a process of leaf curing, cutting, fermentation and processing or sweetening.
Zarda comes in several different varieties.
Loose leaf chewing tobacco is the most widely available and most frequently used type of chewing tobacco. It consists of shredded tobacco leaf, usually sweetened and sometimes flavored, and often sold in a sealed pouch weighing on average 3oz.
Loose leaf chewing tobacco has a sticky texture due to the sweeteners added.Common loose leaf chewing tobaccos include Red Man, Levi Garrett, Beechnut, and Stoker's.
Plug chewing tobacco is pressed tobacco leaves into a square, brick-like mass of tobacco. From this, bites are taken from the plug, or can also be cut off and then chewed.
Plug tobacco is declining in popularity, and thus is less readily available than loose leaf chewing tobacco. Some brands include Cannon Ball, Days Work, and Levi Garrett Plug.
Historically, plug tobacco could be either smoked in a pipe or chewed, but today these are two distinct products.
Twist chewing tobacco is a rope-like piece of tobacco twisted together. Unlike most loose leaf tobaccos, twist chewing tobacco is usually not sweetened.
Pieces of twist are either bitten off or cut and then chewed. Some brands of twist include Cotton Boll, Cumberland, and Warren County.
Twist chewing tobacco is not widely available and is mostly found in Appalachia.
Historically, twists could also be smoked in a pipe, or ground up into nasal snuff.