You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis

You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis

[Canniseur: There’s nothing as good as lighting up a bowl of your favorite flower and enjoying the taste. There’s nothing worse than lighting up a bowl of your favorite flower that’s not been dried and cured properly. The process of drying and curing your cannabis is as important as growing it. Once you’ve harvested, the important process of drying and curing begins.]

Properly dried and cured cannabis flower buds burn evenly and have a smooth, rich taste. When smoked, the embers have an even glow and enter the body smoothly. When vaporized, there should be no apparent “green” taste.

If flower buds are dried too quickly, chlorophyll and other pigments, starch and nitrates or other fertilizer salts are trapped within plant tissue, making it burn unevenly and taste unpleasantly “green.” If buds are dried too slow, or not at all, they rot.

Gardeners can lose some or all of their crop to poor drying and curing. Here’s how to do it right:

Drying

Drying converts 75% or more of a freshly harvested plant into water vapor and other gases and converts carbohydrates to simple sugars. Drying also converts chlorophyll and other pigments so that no “green” residuals remain.

You can harvest an entire plant, individual branches or strip flower buds from branches to dry. When stems are severed, the transport of fluids within the plant continues, but at a much slower rate. The natural plant processes slowly come to an end as the plant dries. The outer cells are the first to dry, but fluid still moves from internal cells to supply moisture to outer cells, which are dry. When the drying and curing processes occur properly, plants dry evenly throughout. Removing leaves and large stems upon harvest speeds drying; however, moisture content within the “dried” flower buds, leaves and stems can become uneven.

Drying time depends upon temperature, humidity and bud density. Ideal temperature is 60-70°F and the best humidity range for drying is 45-55%. Most flower buds will be dry enough in three to five days before passing to the curing process, but they may take longer. It can take up to two weeks before all chlorophyll — the stuff that gives the “green” taste — has dissipated from foliage. Big, fat, dense flower buds can take three to four days longer to dry than smaller buds. Gently squeeze buds after they have been drying for a few days to check for moisture content. Bend stems to see if they are dry. If the stem breaks rather than folds, it is ready to cure. The bud should be dry to the touch but not brittle. The bud should burn well enough to smoke when dry.

Curing

Even after plants, branches or buds have dried on screens or been suspended in a drying room for five to seven days and appear to be dry, they still contain moisture inside. This moisture affects taste, fragrance and cannabinoid content (potency). Curing will remove this excess moisture and all it contains.

Curing makes buds uniformly dry and pleasant to consume, and preserves natural cannabinoids and terpenes. Curing after drying helps remove any remaining chlorophyll, other pigments, latent fertilizer salts and so on that have accumulated in flower buds, leaves and stems. If dried too quickly, flower buds retain more chlorophyll and have a “green” taste, and when vaporized or smoked are harsh on the pallet and often burn too hot. For some, curing is not essential. In fact, some medical patients prefer the often minty flavor of uncured cannabis.

Curing also allows cannabis to fully dry so that mold does not grow when it is stored. Well-cured flower buds are soft and pliable but dry inside. Flower buds should feel like they are dry and only the dry pliable foliage is holding resin onto stems. Here’s how to cure bud:

Gently place “dry” flower buds in an airtight container. Clear and opaque turkey bags are popular. So are food-grade sealable plastic buckets. There are also bags that reflect heat and are airtight (when properly sealed) and infrared-proof, which protects them from heat.

Write the date on the containers and place in a cool, dry, dark place. Moisture inside buds will migrate from the center of the stem outward. Check the container after two to four hours to see if buds feel different. Gently squeeze a couple of buds to see if they feel moister now, but be careful, resin glands bruise easily.

Open the drying container two to three times a day for the first seven days to release moisture. Take a whiff the instant you open the container. The fragrance should be sweet and somewhat moist. Close the container quickly. If necessary, remove buds from jar for a short time to inspect for mold and disease.

After the first week, open containers once or twice a week for a quick whiff. Do not open too many times or the slow-curing process will stop. Some gardeners cure flower buds slowly for six months or longer. However, after two to three weeks they should be fully cured and remain fresh, firm and pliable. Flower buds can be sealed in containers and stored.

Things to Avoid

Light — especially ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural sunlight — heat and friction hasten biodegradation of resin glands and cannabinoids. Do not place dried cannabis in hot automobile glove compartments, and keep it away from heat vents and so forth. Friction and rough handling can bruise and rupture resin glands. Even with proper drying and curing, brutal handling of harvested cannabis will diminish cannabinoid content.

By Jorge Cervantes

Jorge Cervantes is a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cannabis cultivation. His articles, books (“Cannabis Encyclopedia” and “Marijuana Horticulture”) and YouTube videos have helped teach millions of people how to grow top-quality cannabis. Connect with Jorge on his site, marijuanagrowing.com.

You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis was posted on Cannabis Now.

This High-Class Hash Dinner Could Be the Future of Fine Dining

This High-Class Hash Dinner Could Be the Future of Fine Dining

[Editor’s Note: Fantastic fine food, paired with wicked weed. Great winning menus ideas to bring your dinner party to life! ]

Weed, wine and gourmet delicacies… okay, where do we sign up?

A winery might not be the most obvious location for a cannabis dinner pairing — at first. But it becomes immediately apparent how appropriate it is once you’re aiming to treat cannabis like an upscale meal enhancer, as you would a good glass of wine.

So on the Friday evening before the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California, it seemed only natural that cannabis industry folks gathered at Bowman Cellars for an eight-course meal, accompanied by NASHA concentrates presented in elegant, sturdy vaporizers by Topstone.

Munchies, But Make It Classy

With creative, intricate takes on dishes like sweet potato, octopus, carrot, cuttlefish and angel cake, along with fine wine, the dinner paired food with weed to bring out the flavors of each. There were different buzzes for different courses of the meal and it was clear the experience was curated for a consumer with high taste, so to speak, in munchies.

The dishes were at once interesting enough to captivate guests’ attention, while also feeling like a sophisticated version of everything you’d pull from your fridge, stoned and looking to chow down. Here, the seemingly odd flavor combinations like chocolate and carrot felt curated and intentional rather than random and depraved.

The accompanying countertop vapes with wooden charging bases “have a place and environment on the table,” says Topstone founder William Bosch, making them perfect for mealtime use. “It’s not like taking bong rips, or a joint being passed around and you feel obliged to smoke it. It’s a simple, casual way to smoke hash.”

Putting Quality Cannabis First

“Initially we picked a whole plant, fresh frozen, live rosin pressed at a really low temperature,” explains Barron Lutz, CEO of NASHA. “And what this did was create a flavor with a lot of THC and banana, which gives me an energetic feeling and gets everyone talking and social. Then we moved onto Sunset Sherbert and the Zkittlez, [which] makes people chill out a little bit after they’re eating.”

The flavors in the banana rosin were meant to complement a milk-based dish, he explains, while the Sunset Sherbert was meant to be akin to a Cabernet, with a full-body, fruity flavor that pairs well with meat. Other strains like Gelato were presented mid-meal to help everyone relax as they filled up on food. And with a product like Topstone that’s meant to bring out the flavors of the bud at moderate temperatures in manageable microdoses, the details and quality of the cannabis really stood out.

“In the end, it’s all about how beautiful these farmers are and the quality of the resin only comes from the farmers,” says Lutz. “They’re all in Humboldt County and have been doing that for ages. To be able to get product like that from just ice and water and pressure, that’s the purest you can get. And the cannabis is outdoor grown — you don’t see people putting their Cab grapes inside warehouses in the desert.”

Atmospheric Buzz

Much like the flavors of the food and the cannabis, the music that accompanied the dining experience was mesmerizing: steady, yet trippy, ambient beats punctuated by deep trills and smooth electronic melodies. “East coast, west coast, the cuisine is always presented very well and there’s always music with the food,” says New York-based DJ The Josh Craig. “It makes the environment that much more welcoming for people who are dining with strangers.”

Indeed, while most of the guests were meeting for the first time, the invite-only crowd was also curated specifically to highlight certain folks in the cannabis space. About a third of those in attendance were farmers from Humboldt County according to host Chris Coulombe, CEO of Pacific Expeditors, a cannabis distributor and a sponsor of the Emerald Cup. “We put the farmers out front,” he says. “We want to stand beside the farmers, not in front of them.”

Per Coulombe, the motivation behind the dinner was to continue to destigmatize cannabis by elevating its positioning in fine dining. “We’re trying to bring it into the same light that people look at Burgundy or Bordeaux,” he says.

Looking into the future, he says he sees defining cannabis within a legal framework as a challenge he aims to tackle.

“I hope to keep doing events like this, and I see there are a lot of restrictions in regulations as far as our ability to advertise — that’s our biggest inhibitor, the ability to articulate what cannabis is and how it fits inside the greater community,” he says. “That’s what this is trying to move towards. I hope it becomes a normal conversation so we we look at flower and we’re like, ‘yeah, it’s flower.’”

This High-Class Hash Dinner Could Be the Future of Fine Dining was posted on Cannabis Now.

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