The post-harvest process of your cannabis plants can be just as important as the cultivating process. The final steps of drying and curing are responsible for preserving and intensifying the flavors and aroma of the bud, which is arguably the most important part.
What is Drying?
Drying is where you dry out the buds to remove most of the moisture to prevent spoilage and improve shelf life. This involves cutting the plant from its roots and hanging the whole plant, or each branch, upside down in open air. If you are wet trimming your buds prior to drying them, you can also use food-grade drying racks since there will be many smaller parts and it would be harder to hang.
Generally, you want the space to be dark with a temperature from 55-70ºF and humidity around 50-60%. The process can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days— you will know the plants are dry and ready to trim once the branches snap when bending them. You can also squeeze the buds and know they are ready once they do not feel wet or moist. When the plants are dry and trimmed, it is time for the curing process to begin.
What is Curing?
Curing is where the buds are put in airtight, typically glass, containers to preserve and heighten the flavor, potency, and aroma. It also helps to eliminate any plant-like taste or smell of the buds, in addition to making it smoother to smoke. This process should be done in a dark space and can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of two. Make sure the buds are not overcrowded in the container, so they do not get crushed or have too little space to breathe.
“Burping” the jar is also crucial, which is where you open the jar for 1-2 minutes to let out gas and moisture and restore oxygen. Without doing this, your buds could start to stick together, develop mold and become contaminated. You should do this once or twice daily for the first week, then it can lessen to every few days after that. If you ever start to see any mold or notice an ammonia smell, leave the jar open for a few hours because that is a sign of bacteria forming.