Slow-drying herb is the only way to do it

by DGO Web Administrator

I made a new friend this week, a rural-living fellow. He lives out in the boonies, a place where supply trips happen infrequently and bartering is a way of life. He told me a friend, who had done a bit of gardening in the past, who had decided to try his hand at raising a few outdoor cannabis plants, and that things had gone well during the growing process.

He said that his friend was on disability and looking to make a few extra bucks from the fruits of his labor. I said, “Sure. That sounds like a good plan.”

He continued to lay out his friend’s plan: ”Everyone has a bunch now, so my friend is going to hold onto his for a bit and look to unload it after everybody has gone through theirs.”

This also made sense to me.

“He is going to put it in some plastic bags.” I felt a twitch in my neck.

“And freeze it until the time comes to unload it.”

Cue the needle scratching across the record.

Cannabis should only go in the freezer if it going to be used to make hash. I caught my breath and stated that what his friend actually wanted to do was “CURE” his bud. He just kind of looked at me.

I was not surprised by his surprise. I had never heard of this process of slow-drying herb until my man Rooster schooled me on it some years back. It is a term more widely used in the context of pork or floor tiles. Rooster was sharing the good information – that true connoisseur shit. Curing is to buds as barrel-aging is to bourbon. Yes, you can go ahead and ingest them as soon as they are “ready,” but there are levels to “ready,” and this is a course of action that rewards patience with a smoother, tastier smoke. And, at the end of the day, it is as simple as tucking your nugs into a glass jar and allowing time to do its thing.

The crux of the biscuit is patience and treating it as the gentle flower that it is. Drying and curing is best done in the dark with little more than a gentle, indirect breeze (because direct air will make them brittle and crumbly). You want to leach the moisture out of your cannabis over the course of at least 90 days.

Drying your trimmed cannabis takes about a week before it is ready to be placed in your mason, jam, or pickle jars.

The first important rule is to leave your canna-blossoms attached to the stems that they grow on. These stems, more than the buds themselves, will guide you in establishing the correct timeline to move through the process.

Trim the individual buds while they remain attached to the stems. Find a Y-junction in the branching pattern of the stem to create a “hook” that you can use to hang the branch from a string in a clothesline fashion. This is the first step in the drying process. During this time, it is okay to have fans nearby to move the air, but run them on low and aim them at the ground. This phase wraps up when the stems nearly snap when bent.

Next, place them into paper lunch bags, packed to medium density to allow for air circulation, and aim the fans a couple feet above them. Do this for another three to four days, until the stems actually snap when bent.

Then it is jar time. Cut the buds from the stalks and lower them gently into their final homes. It is vital to pack them loosely in the jars, and to open the jars three or so times daily for about a week to “burp” the moisture out of the containers while visually inspecting your bounty for mold.

After this, tuck the jars on a shelf in a cool, dark area and leave them alone for three to six months, when it will be time to enjoy the smoothest smoke you have ever experienced.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].

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