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How do you do curing?

Columbian Connection

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How do you do curing? I never did that before. I just dried it out and bag it and stuck in the freezer.
 

GanjaGuru

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Curing 101

There are many ways of doing this, and I've tried just about all of them. Based on my decades of experience, the experience of others and the advice of Ed Rosenthal, here's my preferred way.

First, a good cure begins with good harvesting, manicuring and drying.

-Harvesting: I prefer to cut the branches off the standing plant. It's a lot easier that way.
-Manicuring: Back at the ranch, I sit at the dining room table surrounded by 4 supermarket-type paper bags. I first cut the buds off the branches, then remove any remaining shade leaves. These leaves and bare branches go into the first bag for disposal (burning or composting).
Then I remove the medium-sized leaves. These go into another bag for cooking. The smallest leaves go into the third bag for making hash/oil.
-Drying: The buds go into the final bag. I crimp the top and place the bag in a cool dark place. Every day I gently 'comb' the buds with my fingers.
The slower the dry, the smoother and tastier the buds will be. Of course, you need to make sure (especially in humid climates) that the buds don't begin to rot. This is indicated by an ammonia odor.
-Curing: When the buds are almost but not quite dry enough to smoke (way before the 'brittle'/crispy stage), I place the buds in a large container. Some people use glass jars; I find these too expensive and too breakable. I use large 1-gallon containers I get free from the local fast-food place, the kind mustard/mayonnaise come in. I get them free (they are usually throw them away). Once cleaned well, the buds are placed in the containers, then tightly sealed.
The goal in curing is to let the buds go from too moist to smoke to just right, which is as moist as a good cigar, very very slowly.
Every day I open the containers for a few minutes, gently comb the buds with my fingers, then re-seal.
The time these processes take is dependent on the ambient humidity.
When the buds have reached perefect smoking condition (as moist as a good cigar) the cure is done. Ideally this should take about 2 weeks, at least. Then the jars are tightly sealed and left that way, or sealed in plastic bag with one of those seal-a-meal things (NOT the kind that suck out all the air, those will crush the buds).
Leaving a bit of moisture in the buds will continue the curing process. Cigars can be stored for decades in perfect conditions.

Curing allows the chlorophyll to break down, and also allows the non-psycho-active alkoloids to convert to psycho-active ones.

Flash-dried, uncured buds have a hay/grass-like taste and burn too hot. Slow dried buds smoke cool, smooth and improves the taste tremendously. Curing increases potency by up to 30%. Storing while still a bit moist will keep the pot at peak smoking condition.

Notes: When I get the buds manicured, I place a few nugs on a table-top or in a drawer. Harsh yes but I'm usually anxious to 'test' them, and have something to smoke while I'm waiting for the drying/curing process to finish.
Also, if at any time you smell even a hint of an ammonia (dirty-diaper) odor, remove the buds IMMEDIENTLY and let air out on a table-top for half a day or so, then re-start.
It takes a bit of practice to get this just right, but once you've got it down pat, you'll never go back to flash-dried, uncured pot.
 

Hick

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Heat and light are enemies of thc
 

GanjaGuru

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Once you cut the plant down, THC production/"tranference" ceases.

THC isn't "carried" throughout the plant. It's made on the buds.
The reason people hang pot upside down is it allows the pot to dry slowly.
BUT if you use my method, it dries even slower & more evenly, and jump starts the curing process, which in effect is composting.

Some people **** up when using a hang dry. The buds feel crispy on the outside and people bag them up, not realizing that a lot of moisture remains in the stem. Sealed when still damp will ruin the buds.

Never put pot in the freezer; that ruins it.

I trim the leaves off because it makes the buds look better. You get to see the bud hairs and trike's and sparklie's.
A MUST when you're selling.
And like I mentioned in my guide, I use those small leaves. I don't throw them away.
And I don't cut ALL the small leaves off, just the ones that stick out and/or obscure the buds themselves.
 

JohnnyTG

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Wow this is all very helpful info, especially once i start growing soon :) But... 1 quick question, what about when u get ur bud from somebody else? Cuz i had a friend who got pretty sick from smoking some buds that he thought were cured (some amateur grower im' guessing dont even know what curing was). I checked out the rest of the bud he had and it was totally just wrong... didnt even smell like normal chronic or anything like good bud. It stank in a weird way... like chlorophyll big time (well mainly it still smelled like a normal plant, but still weed.... hard to explain lol), and probably the guy who grew em sprayed his plants with bug killer or something... who knows lol. Anyways... so how would i go about curing somebody elses bud that i got?? Can i just put em in a container and go straight to curing? Cuz sometimes the buds are already dried and basicly smokable but might still have bacteria or something, so im' wondering how to cure them without taking so long that the buds start to lose their THC content from sitting around so long :(. Any advice?? :)
 

GanjaGuru

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It's nearly impossible to cure once pot has been fully dried.
And if it had insecticide sprayed on it, it's impossible to make it better.
Most reputable dealers will let you "try before you buy".
 

JohnnyTG

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Hmm... well that officially sucks :(. You cant always tell even if u try b4 u buy though sadly.... For all i know i could get high and then later on after i buy i could get really sick or something :(. Anyways, well what happens if u try to cure them then? Does it not work at all? I see no difference really between when they are fully dried, and when they're not. Shouldnt the curing process still work at all? I mean the whole point of curing in my opinion is really to get rid of the bad stuff. Sure it helps the bud become more potent, gives it a smoother smoke, etc. But i cant believe there is no way to cure after?! lol oh well... :( Thx for the help, and reply GajaGuru :)
 

Max

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JohnnyTG-

If I understand GanjaGuru correctly, the problem is that you've already missed your opportunities to dry slowly and steadily, to make sure that no bud rot occurs, and to allow latent psychoactive chemicals to emerge as the vegetation breaks down.

It's like you are hoping that a parachute will help you after you have already jumped out of the airplane and crashed into the Earth.
 
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GanjaGuru said:
Curing 101

There are many ways of doing this, and I've tried just about all of them. ...you'll never go back to flash-dried, uncured pot.
Too right, GG!

What I don't understand from your answers:
If slow drying is desirable (I agree), why manicure when wet? If you hang it up with all the leaves on the bud dries slower than in a paper bag, which IMO sucks odour and flavour out of the bud.
Manicuring when still slightly damp is I think the easiest time, whether using scissors or fingers. Jaring when still very slightly damp is a very good idea, as I think the resin and THC degrades when there is absolutely no other moisture left.
I take off all leaves. Sometimes they are covered in trichs, but look under a microscope at pure bud compared to sweet-leaf and it a diamond mine next to a star-filled night. So removing all leaf gives a generally stronger and purer bud, and the leaf goes to make hash so it's not wasted. The bud also looks less attractive and a lot smaller, but do you want to smoke it or take it to the races?!
Whacky
 

GanjaGuru

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I manicure the buds when fresh because if you manicure dry bud you'll lose trike's.
I don't think paper bags "suck out" flavor and aroma.
The bags aren't used to suck out anything. They are poros, allowing a slow, even dry. The bottom of the bags feel lightly moist during a bag cure at most.
Using my method, you "comb" the buds daily. So that the ones that were at the bottom of the bag get to the top, the ones in the middle get to the sides.
This ensures that all buds, big and small alike, dry at the same rate.
As I mentioned before, curing is basically decomposition or composting. Keeping the buds together in a bag allows this process to start early.

Hang drying also takes up a lot of space, and isn't very stealthy. Bags can be placed anywhere.
I've also noticed that hang-drying pot produces more smell that bag drying, although the odor is still very noticable doing a bag cure.
 
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Just goes to show you chum, there are many roads to Rome! Maybe I should look at some different paper bags. I've used untreated paper bags from fruit, and it really did suck up quite a bit of odour/flavour, though I guess you're losing that to the air too otherwise. And I guess leaving the leaves on would be too much in bags, you're right. Hanging it's worth leaving them on. How thick a layer do you have in the bag? I'll try it again.

At the moment I'm trying out a new variation, because I noticed that the fresh bud had the most flavour (and effect, I believe) when slightly damp still, so as soon as it's out of mould risk I strip the fan and main leaves and leave them out spread out on the storks on a sheet overnight, and jar them in the morning unless they're still too damp. A life of collecting mushrooms comes in useful sometimes. I pack them medium tight and then manicure a bit of bud as and when I need it. It may be my imagination, but I feel the bud retains more flavour like that, and again more potency. And that way you also don't have any big manicuring chors, and when you do a bit it goes quicker 'cause you don't care about what it looks like (as you are about to smoke it!) and just want to get the flower pods out so literally disect it. That way you can get rid of every bit of leaf. My pal from London says I'm obsessive, but I just think I've gone to a lot of trouble getting bud that is already twice as good as anything I've ever smoked, and with a little bit of effort and sacrifice (of weight) I can make it three times as good.... alright, I am obsessive!

Peace to your papar bags!
Whacky
 

GanjaGuru

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The kind of paper bags I use are kinda "heavy-duty" ones, the kind with paper handles. They're the kind most commonly avaiable at supermarkets in the U.S.
I fill them about 25% full.
In area's with high humidity the bags should be left open. And the during the daily combing, if an ammonia/dirty diaper smell is detected, take the buds out of the bags immediently and dry on a table top.
In very humid places bags cannot be used. In fact, it some places (like Louisiana), it difficult to dry even using the hang-dry method. A dehumidifier must be used.
 

Hick

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better air/vent it, for an hour or so, daily for a couple of weeks. Any sign of an "amonia" odor, pull them out and air dry for a few hours before resuming the "cure".
 

GanjaGuru

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Hick, I don't think the container needs to be open for an hour/day.

Curing is accomplished by a gas that builds up during decomposition. When the container is opened the gas is vented out and the process continue's. I think the lid only needs to be removed a few minutes/day.

Like a previous poster, I prefer my buds to be a bit moist--the moistness as I have said of a humidor cigar. As needed, I take a bud out of my sealed container and place this in a loosely covered tray for smoking. It's dry enough to be smoked immediently but after a hour it is perfect.
Properly dried and cured, there is no reason why pot cannot be kept in premium condition for decades, like another plant that people smoke for it's effects--tobacco.
 
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I think Hick had realised intuitively, as I have, that you've probably jarred your bud a bit early..."still moist but not damp"... that sounds a grade wetter than I would jar it. It should feel really quite dry on the outside leaves but just still juicy inside. It's almost always wetter inside than one thinks. Any funny smell, leave it out for a day as Hick said.

I am interested in your idea of cure=compost, GG. What exactly is one composting or decomposting? If one really composted it, one would break down all vegetable matter, probably including resin, so it must be a much gentler compostation. What exactly are the gases that escape then when one opens the jar? Is there any process of fermentation, and is that desirable? Lots of questions, especially for those who, like you and I, prefer it on the juicy side;) .
I remember when I was a lad farming back in 1932, we used to guess the best time to stable the hay. If you got it right, you had an excellent slightly fermented hay, more nutritious and easier to digest for the animals, If it was too wet it would create a hot compost, so you could fry an egg 1 bale down and many barns went up in flames.

You've really got me thinking with your Havanas, GG. Think I'll go buy me a humidor! And check out some material about keeping cigars. If you think about it, we spend a lot of time and energy in how we grow the stuff, and rather less in how we keep it.

Aye, Whacky
 
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astra007

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amazing how many different ways there are to "cure" buds eh? you can revitalize overdried but with the use of a de-humidifier/ humidifier. in other words ya can put some moisture back in and then take less out. just like softwood lumber. up here in bc it is common practise to trim the bud of all leaves and stem that shows. then it is placed on screens with a tray underneath to catch the fine dust and thc cystals that fall off. the screens are then caressed with gentle warm air over, thru and under; and also done in the dark or near dark room. this process takes about 4 days and you do rake or stir the buds around. when the bud stem springs back when you bend it; slowly, then the bud goes into bags for the sweating process. you can use paper or plastic ziplock freezer bags and placed under the lights to evauate how much moisture is still present by the bag forming steam droplets. by opening and stiring again until the bud is dry but not overdried; then it is totally cured. bags can be then sealed and stored in a dark cool place or in the fridge if desired.
 
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astra007

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also when we trim; all is removed from the plant and the main stem and branches removed to be discarded. all waste matter plus the curing trays go into hash production. the fan leaves of certain strains like white widow do catch alot of "sugar" or crystal thus into the pot they go.
 
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astra007

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i used window screens at first and then had bigger 1's made up. 2 - 4' by 3.5' and 1 - 3.75' by 7' cheap. hey you gotta crop yer room and its sitting thar dark aint it?

i got mine from RONA or any building supply house
 

GREENTEAMGROW

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How much is too much humidity? I have my bags drying in a cabinet and am wondering if 66% humidity is too much? And how long does it usually take you to get to that almost dry stage? Ive had my bags in there for about 3 days. I also had to poke holes in 1 bag and hung it in the dark near a fan to dry because I the buds kept getting smelly.

Thanks

GREENTEAM
 
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astra007

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66% means that the air is 2/3 water content. mighty wet and yer bud is starting to smell like hay. i use screens. quicker and less smelly. oh and if ya are drying in a closed cabinet = trapping the moisture inside it = about six months to dry?
 

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