- Jan 11, 2011
- Reaction score
hey 65, the last post from this thread was over a year ago, just a heads up.
scm59 said:hello dj,
lets just call me gretal, because that is what I call my pride and joy. have you ever tried a cigar box humidor to first hang your plants?
I found out through experience, that it takes about 2-2 and half months to cure in the jar for peak ripeness. After 6 months, the THC value begins to degrade and after a year it's practically schwag.HGB said:4 to 6 months most mine goes 1 year before i smoke it
really? you going to spam every thread with green parrot seeds posts/links?I'll recommend you this post
Mines holding steady, try using the boveda pax, keep meds fresh for yearsI found out through experience, that it takes about 2-2 and half months to cure in the jar for peak ripeness. After 6 months, the THC value begins to degrade and after a year it's practically schwag.
The key to the entire curing process is to get the buds to the perfect moisture level. We use the word "dry" to distinguish smokable bud from freshly harvested bud, but "dry" is not the correct word for what we want. What we really want is for our "dry" bud to be somewhat moist and spongy-- more so than what you would expect from "dry" bud.
Traditionally its always been difficult to accurately gauge the proper moisture level of the buds and get them into the curing jars at just the right time. The solution has been to open and close the jars over the next few days to allow the excess moisture to escape and redistribute until approximately dry. As you can imagine it can be painstakingly difficult dealing with multiple jars just to finish drying the buds out or just knowing when the curing starts. If left closed too long you risk mold, too little and you dry out too fast. Even with a hygrometer in every jar you still need to keep close eye on them.
This method serves to eliminate any questionable decisions you need to make about proper moisture levels. There is a clearly defined drying phase and curing phase that makes this method simple to follow. Humidity levels are kept in check with 2-way moisture control packs so that you can ease the bud right to the proper moisture level prior to curing it. It makes drying the buds a breeze without the need for a hygrometer, as the humidity packs do a lot of the work for you.
The basic idea is that you want to dry the buds slowly over the course of about 7-10 days until mostly dry then let it sit sealed for 7 days to redistribute moisture and finish drying. Then placing the buds into jars to start the cure phase.
Phase 1: Primary drying and trimming
Phase 2: Secondary drying and de-stemming
Phase 3: Final drying and moisture control
Phase 4: Curing
7-10 days till smokeable, 7 days to smooth out and develop flavor. Curing takes as long as you want and will bring out the best of the buds in about two months.
Freshly harvested bud
Large paper bags (lawn and garden or paper grocery bags)
Large trash bags (black, thicker is better for durability)
-or Rubbermaid containers with a tight seal.
Boveda 62% humidity packs. 60g and 8g packs.
Masking tape/labels or Sharpie
Phase 1: Primary drying and trimming
Temperature in the room about mid-60's to mid-70's with 50-60% humidity works well. 40% is a little low but can be fine in the very first few days. Otherwise they will dry unevenly/too fast. The season has a profound effect on drying times, with summer being the hardest season to dry slowly in.
You can trim your buds wet or dry, but not in between. Wet trimming is fun and gets you nice creamy moist scissor hash that you don't quite get when you trim it dry. Wet trimmed bud dries faster so you need to pay closer attention to it.
If wet, trim your buds well then hang them up for a few days (about 3-5) until they are feeling a little dry on the outside but the stems still bend, maybe the smallest of small stems will snap. Then once they started to get crispy but still a lot of moisture in the stems I put them in large paper bags that are inside plastic trash bags. This is a good time to cut the hooks on the stems that you left for hanging, they tend to get in the way and make it harder to maneuver. I leave the stems as long as possible.
Leaving the stems long serves three purposes: enhanced flavor from passing more moisture through the buds and evaporating chlorophyll and whatnot, slowing the dry time and it keeps the buds fluffed up so that they are not all smashed together.
If 'dry' trimming you'll probably save some time in scissor work (maybe 40% less time to trim the equivalent wet bud). Chop the plants down and hang them upside down for a few days until the shade leaves are mostly dry and the bud is starting to feel slightly dry, basically the same moisture levels as in the wet trimmed bud--its not going to be dry bud, but the leaf should either break off from being dry or easily cut off. If you try and trim too early when the leaf your trying to remove is wet but not fresh the scissors will gum up--the same reason you don't mow wet grass. Leaving the leaf on will add a few days of the first phase.
One theory is that when you trim wet you get chlorophyll that oozes out of the wounds and gives you more of a grass or hay taste.
I'm going to focus on only trimming 'dry' bud for the reduced work and slower dry time. Its also easier to transition to the next phase because the slower drying gives you a larger window.
Phase 2: Secondary drying and de-stemming
The paper bags were about 3' tall so I had to chop them down to size.
Over the next few days I open and close both bags to slowly suck the moisture out of the buds and int the air. Basically just working the moisture out slowly using the paper bag as a wick/buffer/barrier so they don't touch plastic when wet and can dry out slowly by not having direct contact with the air when the plastic is open.
As they dry out I close the plastic for a bit, maybe just loosely tucked but for the most part sealed, or only slightly opened. As time goes on you need to open the bags for shorter periods, and close them for longer. Until they are sticky moist and the stems bend but are starting to make a sound when snapping but not actually snapping.
For even drying I flip the buds by hand every once in awhile and kind of break them apart to make sure there is good even spacing around the buds.
I've started using rigid containers that lock the lid in place. This does a good seal but not sealed completely, which is fine for these phases. Its also easier taking the paper bag out in order to dry from all sides if needed.
Its important that the first two drying phases take at least a week, otherwise they dry out too fast or too much. The basic idea is that you don't want the buds to ever get crispy dry on the outside once you put them in the paper bags, but rather stay soft and just lose water weight and stay feeling spongy. Which is almost impossible btw, so don't worry just don't let them get too crispy. Right when the buds start to feel crispy they need a flip and maybe sealed for awhile. Its important you learn to make these judgment calls.
Remember that the closer to being dry the faster and more often it will crisp up and need to be flipped and sealed to redistribute the moisture. WALK the moisture out of the buds. Flipping by hand can give you a good understanding of where your moisture level is at. When you flip the buds feel the bottom of the paper bag to see if its moist. If it is then I take it out of the plastic to dry. The paper bag will feel slightly cool and is more pliable when moist and is a good indicator of where the buds are at.
After about 5-7 days of drying (few days in the bag) I'll cut out some of the excess stem away to speed the drying process up a bit. Cutting them down to shorter lengths so they sit closer, basically cutting a lot of the stretched portion of the stem but leaving a few inches of stem around the buds. At this point the bud stem will be drying out to where less moisture will travel through it from the main stem. Remember, not breaking off, but barely making noise on some, some not on all. They will not feel wet, but moist/sticky.
This is about when its time to start using the Boveda 60g inside the paper bag to prevent the buds from drying too fast or the bag from becoming excessively humid. If you were the master you would be able to open/close/flip for just the right amount of time exactly when it needed it and you could skip the Boveda. Unfortunately its hard to master and getting that perfect dry down is almost impossible--sometimes only having a window of 20 or 30 minutes of being at that perfect moisture level. You need to worry about leaving it open for too long of a period and becoming too unevenly dry--crispy on the outside but moist in the middle. Sometimes the crispy part will never re-moisten properly.
The Boveda may eventually become optional for you, or seasonal as conditions demand. They're not essential to getting the moisture proper, but they do so much work for you that it allows you to get a little lazy and not be so attentive.
Summer drying is considerably much faster and you'll benefit using them to slow down the drying time, whereas winter drying might take 10 days of hanging before its ready to go to the second, bag phase
Here you can see the branch not breaking away from the main stem but still cracking when bent back.
Finally within a few days I chop almost all the stems off and let it sit sealed with the Boveda 62% 60gram humidity packs. At this point the buds will mostly be snapping off the main stem with ease but still be spongy moist themselves.
The colas I leave long with a little extra stem so I can check its moisture level later, as well as any buds that are very close to each other on a stem will be left connected. Once a bud is able to snap from the main stem, even if the main stem is moist, it wont take any more moisture from the main stem.
It gets flipped and felt for moisture level, opened for a bit if needed. The Boveda gets removed and put into Tupperware to extend its life but if it feels cool after sitting around the buds I'll let it shed that excess moisture. The buds will still feel moist and the stems will start to snap, but they do not all need to, the larger one's can have some bend in it.
It can be tricky getting the larger and smaller buds to the same moisture level, but the slower you go and then start chopping the stems down to get the buds closer together to form more of a single mass they will dry more evenly. You should be able to seal the plastic bag (with Boveda) for 12 hours without the buds moisture changing too much, if at all.
Phase 3: Final drying and moisture control
After you can seal in the paper bag for 12 hours without the buds feeling like they're re-moistening, the final drying phase is to open the paper bags for a few minutes and fluff the buds up to get that final breath before sealing them up for a week with the Boveda 60g; if they feel the right amount of sticky.
The large colas might have the main stem pliable but still cracking when bent and still stringy-connected if you tried to rip it off. Mostly all regular buds on a stem should be able to be snapped right off by hand with ease from the main stem but the nugs on the large colas might bend back a little. If the large colas are almost dry then your about perfect. You should be able to smoke some sample nugs with no problem before sealing it up.
They'll be very close to perfect moisture content, and usually you get a really small window of really dank tasting moist bud around this time. Right when its dry enough to smoke it taste super bomb, then it fully dries and looses some flavor for awhile before it comes back in with the cure.
Fold the paper bag to remove as much air and squeeze the air out of the plastic then seal it up (I just twisted the end and tucked it underneath) and don't touch it for seven days. The Rubbermaid containers don't seem to seal as well for this phase, but still work fine. I don't recommend them for any much longer as they still seem to continue drying.
The buds will not feel crisp dry but spongy-moist. Breaking it up by hand will be nice and easy and the inside stems should snap right open. I like using the grinder as a test, as properly grown(structure, flush) and cured(moisture, flavor) buds will grind up with little to no ease and you get to see how it holds up, too dry and its powder, too moist and it won't grind all the way. When you take a pinch of ground bud it should hold itself together in a larger pinch than you anticipated. If you were to step on a bud it should smash it flat and stay together.
Congratulations, you've dried your buds properly! Its usually nice to let the bud sit out for a few minutes to release any excess moisture and bring out the flavor--like fine wine the bud needs to breath. I think the 62% is a bit high for smoking but any less seems like you'd be sacrificing the cure on the buds.
Phase 4: Curing
Fill your jars all the way up with buds and toss a medium 8gram Boveda humidity pack up against the glass in the middle for even distribution. After a week I remove the lids and let it sit open for about five minutes. Immediately smell the jars as you open them and watch out for any indication of Ammonia. This is an indication that you did not dry the buds all the way prior to jarring and will need to make sure they are not molding or over moist. I've never had that problem myself, but its something to look out for. I maybe check it again in a week to make sure. Burping should not be needed after that. You should be able to seal it up for over a year and the buds should still be as moist as the day you put them in.
If dried properly the 8g Boveda will not be needed, but are nice to keep the buds from drying out when pulling from the jar.
Label: Strain, date, weight. I separate a few of the best ounces and mark them with a little symbol and save those for last. Fold a little bit of the masking tape over on itself to leave a handle so you can peel the label off with ease--the glue gets harder with age and will often leave a crusty residue.
Sharpie markers for glass are ideal since they easily wipe off with a little rubbing alcohol. For my dark jars I use the metallic sharpies as they give very good contrast--Bought a three pack of bronze/silver/gold for $3.
The smoke might still be a little harsh at first but the flavor will come in over the next week or two in the jar, and will creep to full flavor in about two months. After about a month you'll smoke it one day and think "damn, did this bud just get better all of a sudden?" It will continue to cure until the buds take on a brown tone as the crystals age and the buds lose its green color. The longest I've been able to cure a bud was 11 months and it took the flavor to the next level. Thicker, fuller and very smooth.
11 month bud, the top of the main cola.
2 month cure. Signs of green/chlorophyll fading.
1 week cure. Fresh and green still.
The basic idea behind curing is that you want the plants aerobic microbes to finish the buds off. They break down things like chlorophyll to give you a smoother smoke. THC also gets converted to its active form as time goes on. I'm not going into the details behind it all, but there is more to it than just letting it get older. If you do not create the right environment for the microbes to do their job they will not be able to cure the bud, it will just get older.
The three things you want to avoid when preserving anything are: Light, Heat and Oxygen. They breakdown everything. Its why you've heard so many things needing to be stored sealed in cool dark location. Bud is no different, so make sure to take that into account and store your buds properly. A zip-lock bag will not do. They say curing must be done in a jar.
The jars I use are I-Chem 950mL amber glass chemical storage jars (type 3 not certified/inspected but the exact same jar as type 1 and 2.) They have them on Amazon, they fluctuate in price every few days. I paid $40 for the set of 12 when the price dropped, but now that I know I will get the next box when they're back down to $36 again. Last week it was $36 when I started this post now they're $65... DON'T PAY TOO MUCH FOR THESE, just add it to your wish list and keep checking back. Shipping should be free. ~$3 per jar is a great price. The only problem is that if your buds are too fat they can be a bit hard getting them in and out of the 1.75" opening. I do have that problem but have a 2.5L from I-chem jar for the top colas.
These I-Chem jars work great and were made to seal chemicals in. The lids have Teflon gaskets built in which beats the paper one's that wear out or get destroyed when wet. The box they come in works well for storing them as well. I just put a few pieces of Velcro on the lid to keep the flaps down and when a jar is empty it goes upside down. Its also nice having a case of chronic.
With the proper moisture level you end up getting WAY more bud weight out of it. Your light harvest might very well be due to over drying. My jars normally would hold about an ounce each, but with the proper moisture they're holding 52g each.
The real key is the Boveda humidity packs with two way humidity control--up and down. I used multiple 60g packs on the larger quantities of bud, but each one is suppose to be good for 1-300g I think. Plus they are not in there for the whole time and were not worn out. I expect these to last quite awhile, just storing them in a Tupperware container until I need them again. I can feel the corners starting to get hard on a few of them but there is still a lot of liquid left.
At ~$4 each they are extremely cheap for what they do. The medium 8g are about $1 each in packs of 12. Bud weight alone will pay for them if you've still not got the art of the perfect moisture level. You can get the plants dried right without the Boveda but because they operate both ways they allow you a little bit of error. The 62% was made specifically for cannabis.
826g of nicely dried bud. I only did that for the photo and they got a little dried out, but the jars with the 8g Boveda brings them to the perfect moisture level. Next time I'll just jar directly out of the bags individually, I would not recommend leaving the buds out in the open at this point. They will start to feel much dryer within 5 minutes.
I recommend this article on curing to give you an idea of the science behind drying and curing buds. I had known the idea behind drying and curing but wasn't overly good at it. The article is simple yet very informative; it was after reading it that I was motivated to achieve that perfect cure.
Curing starts with the perfect moisture level or doesn't start at all. Curing is the easy part, you just smoke bowls while the jars sit, its the prep work that goes into it that is what you need to master.
Some bud will not show its true flavor until it's cured for 2 months. Bubble Gum for example was good but not great when I grew it. However after smoking a nug that I cured for 2 months I was really disappointed that I had already got rid of the plant.
Curing really brings out the full potential of the bud, from the way it feels and sounds when it breaks up to how smooth it smokes, tastes and burns. There is a huge smell difference between opening a jar of dank bud and a jar of dank bud that was dried and cured right. So if your buds are good but still lacking, trying giving them a proper cure and keeping them from drying out too much too fast, you'll see a world of difference.