PDF : cigar beetle study
It's a bit of a drag to read, so this is a picture of a chart that shows all the stages of cigar beetle growth with the different times VS temperature that it takes to kill the beetles.
So if you want to be sure about killing everything, 1 hour at -20 celcius will do the trick. Now you have to take in account that a box of cigars well sealed in a heavy freezer plastic bag will take longer than an hour to reach -20 celcius in its center. So for good mesure, why not leave the thing in the freezer for 24 hours just to be sure. Think about how long a package of ground beef of chicken breasts takes to freeze : surely in 24 hours it's rock solid. So in my opinion, if meat is frosen hard in 24 hours (maybe less), the center of sealed box should just fine.
Of course, you have to temper the box in the fridgefor a day before and after the freezer to prevent damage to the cigars, just not to have bad condensation inside the box or plastic bag. Some will say before hand isn't necessary, but what's 24 hours more if you'll let the cigars acclimate in your humidor for a few weeks before smoking one ?
So that's 3 days total for absolute piece of mind, small price to pay !
If you are unsure about the temperature of your freezer, put a thermometer in it for a couple of hours and you'll be able to figure out the time frame you'll need.
For reference, the average household freezer is factory set at -17.8 celclius (0 Fanrenheit) and the fridge between 3 and 5 celcius (37 to 41 Farenheit).
I tested my freezer at home and it's at -19.7 celcius. If yours is warmer than -17.8, you have more problems than cigar beetles as the recommended temperature for a freezer to have safe food storage is -18 celcius. You can always adjust the nob in your freezer to make it cooler and re-check the temperature.
The last time I froze cigars I used this method, which I will shorten from now on :
- boxes and singles in vacuum sealed ziploc freezer bags
(I used a straw to extract the air out of the bags)
- 24 hours fridge
- 72 hours freezer at -17.9 celcius
- 24 hours fridge
All the cigars came out unharmed, I don't think anyone could ever tell they were frozen by looking, touching or smoking any of my cigars.
So go forth and freeze !