There are many ways of curing and drying the harvest. What’s your favorite? Why? How do you do it?
I received a number of really good explanations. Here are some of them:
My favorite method of drying herb is quick and uses just a window screen. First I wash the screen with soap and water, rinse it and dry it.
Then I harvest and manicure the herb and place the “dressed” buds on the screen. I think the crystals are stickier at this point and less likely to fall off the bud than when dry. I place the screen a few feet above the floor in a spare room without lighting. A fan circulates the air but does not blow directly on the buds. If the fan blows on them, the buds dry too quickly and have a harsh taste. With this method I dry a single layer of buds in about?four or?five days, instead of the weeks it can take when the entire plant is hung.
I think the taste, smell and potency is best right after the plants are dried. Further curing reduces the herb’s aroma along with part of its taste. The fresh stuff always seems to get me the highest, too. I think of it like other organic herbs and produce; it degrades from the point of harvest.
I keep my stash in jars with cork tops in the refrigerator to keep them fresh but to still allow some drying. I open them at least once a day. If I intend to to store them for more than?two weeks, I dry the buds a little further, until the stems snap when bent, to prevent mold.
In a cool, dark room, hang the plants upside down after removing only the fan leaves. Keep a dehumidifier running and fans circulating the air but avoid pointing the fans directly at the plants. The plants should hang for seven to 10 days, or until the buds are dry to the touch.
Cut the buds from the plants and put them in loosely sealed brown paper bags for seven days to “sweat” out any excess moisture. Then trim the buds. Save the leaves to make kief. Place the buds in mason jars or vacuum-sealed bags. Wait at least a month. Enjoy.
I grow on a small scale indoors. I selectively cut individual buds at their peak potency. I use a loupe to get a good look at them. Then I dry them in one of two ways.
Sometimes I hang fresh nugs on the inside of my window curtains. This minimizes light and allows a good amount of air circulation. After about a week I cover them loosely with aluminum foil and place them on top of my grow box to sweat out any leftover moisture. The foil prevents the degradation of THC by light.
The second approach is to go directly to the loose foil in an operating grow box to “quick-dry.” After the nugs are dry, I move them into individual nug jugs, by strain, and allow them to cure in the freezer while plucking out buds to use.
I have dried buds many different ways from microwaves to dehydrators.
But these items don’t dry bud properly. Sometimes being a little patient works out better in the long run. Bud should always be dried naturally and at its own pace. Decreasing drying time is drug abuse.
Many people prefer to hang their bud upside down in an indoor room at 70
I prefer to cure my buds in a brown paper bag to be sun-dried. This way they are protected and can still breathe. I lay the buds loosely in the bag, making sure the bag is laying horizontally rather than vertically to get more surface area. Then I seal the opening and wait impatiently. The buds don’t look as pretty as if they were hung to dry, but they are ready in only two days or so.
Peak ripeness is determined using a 30X microscope. I harvest when roughly 70% of the trichomes are still transparent and 30% light to dark amber. Some of the the trichomes are underdeveloped but they will be ripe by the end of the process.
Remove and store all fan leaves to use later for cooking and kiefing. Hang the plants upside-down in a cool, dry, well-ventilated room. Make sure to take measures for odor neutralization and air movement. After seven to 10 days the stems should be dry but still pliable. It’s time to start manicuring. Handle the buds carefully so as few trichomes as possible are dislodged or damaged.
Then hang the buds on a line for the final dry: until the buds snap when they are bent. Never store bud with stems that don’t snap. I place the buds in mason jars and store them for a month in the dark at room temperature to allow time for decarboxylation to take place. Then I store the jars in a refrigerator for another month before I start to use the buds. I find that this method eliminates the chlorophyll taste, which I find unpleasant.
Whitakers, North Carolina
I grow in a planting mix in containers. I use two different methods of harvesting depending on if I plan on regenerating the plants or not.
No regeneration: First I flush the plant the week before it’s ripe. The plain water helps to get rid of residual fertilizer taste. Then, no more water ever. Next?I remove the fan leaves and shut off the exhaust fans so the heat builds up. I add a dehumidifier to pull out moisture from the room. Then I wait until the “trim” leaves wilt and remove them off using scissors.
Next, I put the exhaust fan back on to help prevent mold. I also use Damp-Rid to absorb excess moisture from the room, and snap the stems below the buds to let them cure slowly for?two to?three days. You can tell by color change and crispness when they are ready.
If I am going to regenerate, I don’t let the trim leaves wilt before I clip the buds. I leave vegetation on each branch that I want to regenerate. After I harvest I water the plants and leave the light on continuously during the vegetative period.
Port Richey, Florida
Thanks for your answers, folks. In the next issue, I’ll be answering several questions about harvesting and drying indoors.
New Expert Question:
What is the fastest ripening plant you’ve encountered? How fast did it ripen from flower forcing? Did you use a special technique to harvest earlier? Was the yield affected?
Send your answers to Ask Ed, by mail or email, postmarked before May 1. All featured answers will receive a copy of the fabulous Big Book of Buds from Quick Trading.
Plus one randomly selected correct answer will receive a set of three 5-gallon bags to make fine bubblehash, generously donated by Fresh Headies. This issue’s Bubblebag winner was Kurt from Iowa. Congratulations to all!