Some good things can’t be rushed, and so it is with artisan hemp buds. Before high-quality boutique hemp flower can hit the shelves or ship to your mailbox, it must receive a proper and careful cure.
Both drying and curing are necessary for properly enjoying top-shelf hemp or marijuana flower. There are a variety of ways to do this, some better than others.
LOW AND SLOW
Let’s use the smoking of outstanding barbecue as a fitting analogy for curing cannabis. For the best results, both cannabis flower and barbecued ribs require the attention of a connoisseur who wants the very best. Fortunately, the basic principles are easy to learn, and slight alterations to the curing process can capture the perfect results.
Top barbecue chefs often use the phrase “low and slow” when describing their approach to making great ribs or brisket. What they mean is the meat should be smoked at low temperatures slowly, as compared to conventional cooking. The “low and slow” cooking technique captures the most delicious flavors and tenderest meat.
Drying and curing CBD flower is really no different. Growers want their flower to dry at a slow pace at moderate temperatures. Top-shelf hemp flower has enticing terpene flavors and CBD potency that growers want to capture. Artisan hemp vendors, like Berkshire CBD, say that all of their premium hemp flower is 60-day cured to bring out all of the complexities of the terpene flavor profiles. Simply stated, slow curing is used to coax the very best flavors and highest cannabinoid levels possible from the flower.
Drying and curing hemp at high temperatures in areas with warm, forced air from a furnace will result in product that burns less evenly and has harsher smoke with inferior flavor.
Once harvested, mature hemp flower undergoes a close trim to remove excess leaves. The trimmed bud should be hung from wire hangers or on drying racks in a dark area with good ventilation. The desired temperature range is 60- to 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on humidity levels, the flower should be dry to the touch in four to six days. The largest buds should show no signs of wetness when slightly squeezed with forefinger and thumb. Once dry to the touch, it’s time for curing.
Mason jars play a vital role in the curing process, with a proper “jar cure” being the desired end result. Dried flower goes into the Mason jars until they are about ¾ full (wide-mouth quart jars with colored glass are the best). Then, seal the jars and place them in a dry, cool location. For the next week, open them for a minute or so a few times per day and gently redistribute the flower within. This allows remaining moisture to escape. The buds should not feel overly dry to the touch. Some people prefer to open the jars once per day for 10 minutes. The following 10 days, open and close the jars briefly each day. Then leave them sealed.
By six weeks sealed, the flower should contain ideal moisture between 59 and 62 percent, and the delicious flower that results will provide the optimum CBD rich hemp flower experience.