Drying and Curing
Learning the proper drying and curing process is crucial to cultivating quality cannabis. If you skip this step or do it wrong, your beautiful flowers can lose their smell, beneficial terpenes, and overall “smoke quality”.
Once your plants are ready to be harvested, cut them down and set aside the branches with the buds on them. Do not remove the buds or trim the leaves off yet.
- Find or construct a suitable place to dry your crop. Your drying area should be a dark area, have circulating, moving air, and the humidity should be properly controlled and kept below 50-45% if possible.
- Briefly trim off any large fan leaves protruding from your flowers. DO NOT trim off the sugar leaves; doing so will result in your terpenes evaporating from your flowers while they are drying – this causes your crop to smell more like hay.
- Hang your branches upside down, with the buds and leaves facing down towards the ground. Let them dry in darkness for 7-14 days. The actual dry time will vary by strain, and also depends on the size of your branches and buds. After a few days, you can start checking on them daily.
- You will know your crop is ready to cure when it passes the “Snap Test.” After about one week of dry time, bend a few branches, and listen and feel for a “snap”. They should not break or crack in half. If they do, you know you dried your plants for too long; this will typically only happen in a really dry environment or if you leave your plants hanging for more than a few weeks. In contrast, the branches should not easily bend. if they do bend, let them hang a little longer. When about two thirds of your crop passes this test, your cannabis is ready to be trimmed and cured.
- This next step is optional but recommended. Take your newly dried branches and place them evenly into a covered tupperware box and seal the box for an additional 2 to 3 days. This step is known as “equalization”, and helps provide final drying time for your crop. Proceed to the trimming process once this is done.
- The trimming process is simple but time consuming. Simply go through each of your branches, remove the buds from them, and begin manicuring your flowers in such a manner that you cut sugar leaves away without actually damaging the flower.
Once the trimming is done, your flowers are ready to be cured. The curing process is simple and easy, but it’s important not to skip this step. Doing so will result in a harsher smoke, as all of the chlorophyll and other chemicals still contained within your flowers will not have had a chance to breakdown and dry out.
- Simply take your flowers and place them into either an airtight mason jar or re-sealable turkey bag. Keep them stored in a dark area, and do your best to keep the humidity of this area within 50-60%.
- One time per day you will need to “burp” your flowers – open the container holding your flowers, and air it out for an hour. After one hour, reseal your container, and return it to rest in its dark curing area. Repeat this daily for a minimum of 10 days. Your flowers are ready to smoke after this, but the longer you cure your flower (up to 30 days if possible), the better the quality of the smoke.
- Enjoy your crop!