CANNABIS HARVEST AND CURING – PART 2
Things are getting really exciting at this stage of growing your own buds. In the previous blog, CANNABIS HARVESTING, DRYING & CURING, we discussed how to best time your harvest using trichrome color and how to flush your newly budded plants before cutting them. Today I will continue with our growing guide and show you what I have had the most success with when harvesting and curing.
CHOPPING DOWN YOUR TREES
Before you get too excited and just start cutting buds and stems, first remove the larger fan leaves. This is easiest to do while your plant is still standing. Some growers like to remove the smaller leaves at this point too, but be patient and leave them on for now. These small leaves can be beneficial as they protect trichromes and help buds dry slowly, keeping more flavor and potency.
It can be very appealing to cut and hang each entire plant to dry, but the buds will dry better if you hang them in sections. Handle each branch and bud separately so they don’t touch and stick to each other when hanging to dry.
Using a very sharp pair of scissors or a Stanley blade, cut each branch from the plant. Be gentle with your babies, rough handling will cause trichromes to drop off and that is something we definitely do not want.
Now comes the time to dry your lovely sticky buds!
HOW TO DRY YOUR CANNABIS
GETTING THE BEST FLAVOR:
Having over 100 different flavonoids and terpenes, Cannabis is one of the most diverse plants in terms of taste and smell. Whether you fancy the sweet taste of bubblegum or the earthy flavor of Swazi Gold, the complex tastes and flavors come from these special molecules. Drying and curing incorrectly will damage the terpenes, giving you bland, tasteless bud that is best to feed to a horse.
These are 3 basic little tricks to help preserve terpenes in your buds:
- Dry Slowly– Drying your buds too fast will give you smokeable bud quickly, but you will lose weight and have bland weed. Dry slowly and you will preserve smell, flavor, and weight.
- Good Air Circulation– This will stop any mold or fungus from growing on your wet weed. This can not only damage flavor but will ruin the entire bud.
- Cure for AT LEAST 2-4 weeks– Be patient, good weed is like good wine. Careful curing brings out the best in your bud and makes for an extra tasty smoke.
DRYING YOUR CANNABIS
Begin your drying process by hanging each of your freshly chopped branches upside down in your drying room/area. The drying room should be dark and have a good supply of fresh circulating air. A fan can help here but don’t point it directly at your branches. Remember you want air circulating so make sure there is space between each hanging branch.
Heat will dry them faster, but as I said earlier, this not a good thing. A good ambient room temperature will be best. Turn your branches around every now and then to make sure the air is reaching all parts of the bud. Also, be sure to inspect your buds daily to check for any signs of mold or fungus and remove any buds that may be affected.
Drying your cannabis can take anything from a few days to a couple of weeks. On average the time to dry is around a week. If your bud stems crack rather than bend between your fingers then you are about ready to begin curing. Once dried, your weed can be smoked but to get the best of flavor and potency, a final cure is needed.
HOW TO CURE CANNABIS
Before our final cure, we need to trim our cannabis. To give the buds their final trim or “manicure” use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to remove any remaining leaves. This process is for visual purposes and is down to each person on how neatly they want their buds trimmed. If you do like nice trimmed buds then save your trimmed leaves as these are full of THC and make great edibles.
Start by separating the individual buds from their stems and store them in clean jars. Plastic jars will do but I personally would use glass only.
For the first week or two that the buds are in jars, open them up twice a day and let them “breathe” for around 15-20 minutes. Doing this allows air exchange to take place and will remove any moisture.
Your buds are now ready! Although different strains will cure at different rates, you will find that if stored correctly, your cannabis gets better over time.
You have done all the hard work of caring for and growing your own bud. Good curing can make all the difference to your final smoke. Be patient and you will enjoy the benefits that home-grown bud has to offer.
My fellow growers, Have Fun Harvesting!
Written by MJ, March 2018