You’ve cultivated rows and rows of cannabinoid-rich hemp plants. You’ve kept the females from pollination, culled the males, and avoided going over the dreaded 0.3 percent THC levels. Finally, you’ve harvested all the flowers and tons of hemp biomass. So what’s next?
If you want the most flavorful, and the most potent, CBD product possible, you will need to dry and cure your hemp flower first before sending it off for processing. This involves knowing proper hemp flower storage.
Drying hemp flower
After harvesting your hemp, you will need to dry out the flower. The goal here is to remove all but about 10-15 percent of the moisture in your buds. Flower containing all the moisture from being newly picked have a harsh flavor and minimized effects.
If you’re got enough space to dry your entire crop on your own, make sure you have optimal conditions. Find a room with 50 percent humidity and an average temp of around 68 degrees F. The room should have some airflow, so installing a fan or two is a good idea.
If the flowers are still on the stems, you can hang the entire plant from the ceiling and dry it this way. However, the leaves of the plant might interrupt the airflow leading to uneven drying or a longer time to dry. Because you hang hemp upside down, the resin might accumulate toward the top of the flowers as well.
With this process, you know your flowers are dry when you take a stem and bend it. If it snaps, it’s ready. If it bends and folds, leave it up for another day and try again tomorrow.
Save time and go high-tech
To avoid this lengthy and labor-intensive process for drying your hemp, use a machine. Not only will you get your hemp dried faster, but modern drying machinery can dry out large quantities of hemp without taking up an entire room. Hemp drying machines today offer modern convenience and less risk of damage to your plants. You won’t have to worry about variables in external conditions or an invasion of mold or pests.
After drying, you are technically able to smoke the flower. It’s also ready for further processing and extraction. However, experts do agree that the best hemp flower gets cured first.
Curing hemp and storage
This is a critical step in hemp flower storage. The concept behind curing hemp is to remove any bacteria present on the flower, while using up the sugars and starches in the plants before they have a time to fully dry and stick to the plant itself. During curing, chemical reactions are still breaking down nutrients in the plant and turning them into cannabinoids. This increases their potency.
To cure hemp, you will need to store it in airtight containers. Mason jars are ideal, and if possible, find brown or green tinted ones. Fill the mason jars to about 80 percent with loosely packed buds. Store these jars in a cool, dark environment with 10 percent humidity or less. For the first week, open the jars once every two or three days to let out moisture and let in fresh oxygen. When doing this, smell the plant matter inside for any hints of ammonia or mold. Molding is a sign that the flowers were too wet going into the jars, and you’ll have to toss them. After the first week, you only need to open the jars weekly. Curing should last at least 2-4 weeks, but can go on for as long as six months.
You can also store hemp flower in mason jars for up to two years. Jars must get left in a cool, dark place. Hemp flower stored this way will lose 1-2 percent of its cannabinoids annually.
Preparing hemp the right way
No matter what final product you’re intending to use your hemp biomass and flower for, how it’s processed matters. With proper drying and curing techniques, you’re assured a more superior extract. Arbor Vita8 is here to help every step of the way. Our superior machinery and high-end facility makes drying large quantities of hemp a breeze. Our hemp flower storage capabilities are also second to none. We don’t stop there however, offering a complete seed-to-sale array of services for hemp farmers. Contact us today to learn more.