Curing your medical marijuana crop isn’t rocket science. In order to get the quality your crave, you must follow the proper procedure. First – grow your crop and chop it down. There is no need to smoke harsh weed that tastes bad. Here are some basic tips for experiments in preparing the harvest, curing the crop, and adding flavors.
Preparing The Harvest
Curing the harvest is an important step, and it is a shame that many new growers are so eager to consume the fruit of their labor that they don’t allow it to mature.
They cut off unripe buds and dry them quickly, sometimes in microwaves, unwilling in their haste to give them timeto dry. But whoever appreciates taste, aroma,and maximum potency wants to cure buds, not just dry them.
The First Steps.
Preparations must begin well before curing. The thoughtful owner harvests the crop after 50 to 80 percent of the pistils have turned color. The plants should not be fertilized right before harvest. The soil and the plants themselves store some fertilizer nutrients, and these impart an unpleasant taste if not cleared out. They also make buds hard to burn.
The plants need fertilizer to grow and mature, so it is well to wait until right before harvest and then give them plain water. They consume the nutrients they store,and growth will not slow noticeably.
Hydro-clearing can start three to seven days before harvest by changing the solution to plain water only. Some growers change the solution twice to make sure clearing is complete. The change to plain water should be at least a week and preferably two before harvest depending on how much soil is in the pot.
Slow-release fertilizer, as might be expected, is difficult to clear out.
So now at peak harvest only fragrantly spicy, highly potent buds remain. It is important to dry them as mold is the biggest enemy post-harvest. Too much moisture in the grow room may bring in mold before harvest, but afterwards it’s worse. The trick is to dry the buds slowly so necessary biochemical processes can proceed but not so slowly that mold can take hold. The key is moisture control for low humidity.
The way to control humidity is by ventilation. Too much ventilation dries the crop out without a proper cure, but too little invites mold. At the slightest sign of mold the cure must stop for thorough drying.
Mold, which unchecked can destroy the crop quickly, is detectable by sight and smell. It is usually looks white and fuzzy. If visible in one part of the crop, spores are all over so it may as well dry out entirely. Mold also has a nasty odor. Moldy herb is not fit to smoke.
Curing The Crop
A poor cure leaves a nasty taste harsh on the throat, even cost a whole harvest. Immediately after the harvest comes the cure to make the herb smell sweetly for smoking, mild, not harsh, with a pleasant scent and flavor. The best idea is to remove the water slowly enough to convert sugars and starches, which give harsh
smoke that hurts the lungs, into harmless, flavorful compounds. Curing also breaks down some of the chlorophyll that gives herb its green color and an unwanted leafy taste.
Temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit harm the crop, and light destroys it. The best storage is in a freezer or refrigerator. If refrigeration is not available, any cool dry dark place will do.
The plants or branches should be loose with some air space between them, not a lot, just enough for air to circulate. As the plants get dryer they need less air flow,and mechanical ventilation can be reduced and eventually eliminated. A close watch monitors the plants to see how soon they dry.
As soon as there is stiffness in the stems, they have lost probably 50 percent of their moisture. When the leaves start to get crisp, most excess moisture is gone and ventilation must be restricted but never entirely because mold is a threat up to the end of the cure.
The curing aroma is like baking bread with a piney, fruity, or earthy element. Any unpleasant or rotten smell is probably mold. After the leaves get a little stiff, the cure is nearly done. After another week, when to stop is up to personal choice.
The color of the crop gets less green as it cures. Buds will stay green longer than do the leaves. Buds may still be somewhat green when completely cured but not a bright shade.