Did you know that some flowers are edible? They have many health benefits associated with them. To make these flowers consumable, we perform the drying and curing processes. These processes are not limited to flowers only.
For example, to consume hemp leaves, you would perform the same procedures with or without extracting the oil from them. Let’s dig a little deeper to know everything on drying and curing flowers.
The Importance of Drying and Curing
If your plant is absorbing too much moisture, you will notice small hair-like strands growing on the stems, especially on its flower stems. These strands are known as trichomes that hold water in them. Plants are mostly active in producing these trichomes in their pubescence.
You would want to remove excessive moisture because it eliminates mold production around the roots within the soil. The last yet most crucial step is curing. Curing ensures that the harvest is of high quality and free of any molding and rotting. Curing also improves the odor, flavor, potency, and yields and even increases the flower's life.
Before starting to dry your flowers, you need to decide whether you are going to trim them wet or after drying them.
The Drying Process
If you are drying the buds and then trimming them, hang the whole plant with a coat hanger or rope and let it dry. If not the entire plant, cut the branches and hang them separately.
If you are trimming the buds wet, manicure the flower and then use a drying rack to dry it after that. Drying racks are optimal for this process because they take up less space and speed up the drying process, especially in humid conditions.
Dry vs. Wet Trimming
The process will be trim, then dry, then cure; otherwise, you will first dry, then trim, then cure.
Deciding whether to trim wet or trim dry depends on your crops. If your crops are still wet, you can save a lot of time by trimming them and manicuring their buds first. After that, let them dry.
The Drying Environment
You need to make sure that your environment is ideal for the drying process. Make a checklist of the following things:
1.The room's humidity should be around 50%.
2.The room's temperature should be around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
3.Turn off any grow lights for the plant as they are past the growing stage.
4.Turn off any CO2 machine.
6.Look carefully for any mold or fungal development because they spread to other plants as well. One plant can destroy the whole crop.
How Big of A Dehumidifier Do I Need?
You may have the desire to get yourself as large of a dehumidifier as possible to hasten the process. But this can worsen instead of improve the outcome. Let the dehumidifier work slowly at a low intensity. You can read more regarding sizing a dehumidifier for a growing space.
Determining If the Flower Is Done Drying or Not
Depending on how dense and moist your buds are, the flowers can take up to 2 weeks to dry up. Make sure that the environment you have kept them in is as ideal as possible. Check your flowers regularly because they may dry quicker or take more time.
To check the moisture, hold the bud in your hands, and feel its petals. You have to do this daily until you realize that the drying is done. You will know it when you take one flower, snap its stem, and the stem snaps easily like breaking a twig.
If it doesn't snap off easily and instead bends, or breaks unevenly and leaves a trail of some kind, then leave the crop for a little longer to dry off properly.
To Do If the Bud Gets Too Dry
If you take a stem and notice that it is fragile and it crumbles in your hands when trying to snap it, you have overdried your flowers; but don't worry. You can still save your flowers if you use humidiccants like multi function grow room controllers.
2-way humidiccants moisturize a drying plant as well as dehydrate overly watered plants. You can regulate the plant's moisture with them, and once you are satisfied with the plant, you can move to the last step.
After trimming and drying the plant, it is time for us to cure the bud. Curing is the process of removing moisture from flowers over a long period in a controlled environment. While it sounds just like the drying process, there are some differences between the two methods.
The first would be, obviously, the total time it takes. Drying is a quick process that takes, at most, a couple of days and removes a lot of the wetness and moisture from your flower buds. You only need to hang the buds and perhaps aid the process with a dehumidifier.
Curing takes more time and is responsible for removing as much moisture from the buds' innermost parts as possible. You essentially seal the dried buds in a container. The moisture moves from the wetter parts to the drier parts.
You would then occasionally repeat the process of opening the storage jar to let the moisture escape and seal it again. This slow process is crucial for developing the flavor and longevity of the buds. Plus, this prevents you from over-drying your buds, which could leave the outermost parts of the bud useless.
The following are the things to consider when curing your buds:
1. Get a high-quality container for curing that does not let any light inside.
2.The container should be airtight and not let any external conditions like humidity influence the buds.
3.Fill about three-quarters of the container at most instead of filling it up completely.
4.The curing process begins when the moisture from the innermost part of your flower starts to spread into the other drier parts of the bud.
5.During the first week of the process, open the container a couple of times each day. This lets the built-up moisture escape to reduce mold build-up.
6.Inspect the flowers regularly to see their progress. If the jar smells of Ammonia (NH3), it is possible you did not dry the flowers enough, and there is a risk of mold development. In this case, please take out the flowers and let them dry some more. Alternatively, you can use a humidiccant to reduce moisture from the plant.
7.Once the first week is over, let your plants breathe once a day every week.
The time needed for Curing
Curing takes a lot of patience. The entire process is three weeks long, and stopping earlier will result in a lesser quality harvest. It is tempting to look at your flowers, fully manicured and aromatic, and wish you could consume them. Still, you have to hold yourself back from consuming them. You have to age the curing process like a fine wine.
The longer you wait, the better it tastes. Seasoned growers know patience and can leave their plants to cure anywhere from four weeks to two months to even six months! The longer you wait for the plant to cure, the better its flavor and quality will be.
For experimental purposes, you can make multiple containers and set them for different periods. A jar for three weeks (which is the minimum requirement), a jar for eight weeks, and a jar for six months. After testing them all, settle on which one you like the most.
Is it okay to dry my buds outside?
Buds are not encouraged to dry outside. When you are indoors, you can create the ideal conditions on your own versus being at the hands of mother nature. You have to monitor the humidity and temperature closely. In case of odor build-up in the room, use a carbon filter and exhaust filters.
How do you trim buds after harvest?
There are two methods of trimming your harvest. One is wet trimming, and the other is dry trimming, as mentioned earlier. You can use a machine or do it by hand. What matters is how well you have trimmed the harvest instead of what method you choose.
How do I quickly dry a sample bud?
You may be impatient to take out as many buds as possible. The best way to counter this desire is to take a sample or two.Place the sample on a surface that can provide slow warmth to the buds and let them be until they seem dry enough.
How long does the "hay-like" smell last?
The smell goes away once the flower has been completely dried.
Can I consume freshly-picked buds?
Fresh buds are still wet and will not taste as good as properly dried and cured buds. You can consume them for your satisfaction, but do not expect to like them.
My flower doesn't have any smell, pleasant or unpleasant. How will it come back?
You lose all the bad hay-like odor during the drying process. But you may also notice that the flower does not smell like it is supposed to, either. Once the curing process is over, the natural aroma of the flower will return slowly.
Final Thoughts on Drying and Curing
Drying and curing is a delicate process that requires detailed attention from you. We hope this drying and curing guide will help you through the process.