But harvesting isn't enough, and neither is just simply drying the plants out. You have to cure the buds, and cure them correctly, to get the most out of all your hard work. Using a microwave is not the best way to prepare your buds, either, although it is super fast. There are a few different ways to cure your buds correctly, and the right way for you depends on what you want to accomplish. Regardless of the stage your plants are in, after harvesting, light, especially sunlight, should be avoided.


Depending on the size of your harvest, you'll want to use a cardboard box or boxes, a closet or smaller room, or a regular sized room. If you use a box, removing the leaves can help your buds dry more evenly. Closets and rooms usually have enough circulation that this step can wait until you're ready to start the curing process. You'll want to provide ventilation with a fan, and check every day for mold and mildew. These can ruin your harvest, and any parts of plants that show signs of mold or mildew should be removed right away. If you have nosy neighbors or a landlord who pops in unexpectedly, remember that during the first few days of drying, your plants will release a smell that is pretty difficult to miss. You don't want any open windows in your drying area that will allow the scent to drift out where people are. Some people use this time to do a major cleaning so that the cleaning chemicals mask the scent of the drying plants. Others have used an outside project in the yard where they re-stained wooden items like chairs and swing sets. After a few days, your plants won't release such a strong scent. When the twig inside your buds snaps easily, your buds are ready to be cured. 


Many people use brown paper bags to begin the curing process, but if your climate is rather dry, you can skip this step. Never use plastic bags or white paper bags. Plastic bags will result in mold and mildew forming on your buds, and white bags have bleach residue in them, which will make your buds harsh at best, and toxic at worst. Always use brown paper bags. Just place your buds in the bags no more than few inches deep and mix them up at least once a day, remembering to always check for mold and mildew. While your plants are drying, you should be collecting glass jars with lids on them to use for curing the buds.

Curing Cannabis in a preserving jar

When your buds can pass the snap test, start picking them off the plants and place them loosely in the jars you collected. When a jar is about 2/3 full, put the lid on loosely. You still want some air to get into your buds to help the natural breakdown of sugars and chlorophyll to continue. Letting the sugars breakdown makes the smoke smoother, and reducing the amount of chlorophyll in the buds is what reduces the rawness that makes any bud taste green.

Every day, for the first week or two, at least once, and twice if you have time, check each jar for mold and mildew by removing each bud from the jars. After you've checked and removed any buds that looked moldy, replace the buds into the jars. Packing them differently than they were before will help them cure more evenly.

A few weeks of being in the jars will have cured the buds quite well, but some prefer a longer cure period. The longer you cure your buds, the smoother the smoke will be. You can always test smoke a bud to see if the rest of your harvest is ready, too. Longer cure periods aren't harmful as long as you remember to check for mold several times a week.

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