Not The Brown Paper Bag Your Mom Sent Your Lunch In
In my time as a grower, I was always one to trim, branch, and hang to dry. This method was as old as time and many of the vets that I knew when I started used this method. It worked for them, they had great results and the buds looked great when done. Why not try it, seemed simple enough or at least it did to me. Cut them, hang them upside down wait 7 days and jar. Was a great and easy way to do something that was more important than I realized.
Over time there was one issue that I could not get rid of, the smell of fresh cut grass. Now given the fact that I just harvested the plant I understand that the chlorophyll was gassing off the plant after being removed from its root system and water source. It’s a given to smell that the night after you chop. The problem was I still had that smell when they were dry enough to go to the jars. So I would set my hopes in the cure to take away that fresh cut hay field smell. Some of the time it would take care of it, but if they would go in a slight bit wet or over dried, the green smell was there no matter what I did.
This was seriously disappointing to me, and I really never wanted to deal with that again as the pot tasted like trash. Only issue was at the time I had no other knowledge of what to do to dry my flower properly and get the smells that I had during the grow. The problem with what I learned with the hanging method was the timing part. Most of the walkthrough’s, tutorials, and how-to’s really didn’t touch on the fact of what to do about that green smell. They never really went into depth about when to jar the plant other than when the stem bends but does not snap. This window, from my experience, is a few days. There is the point where it is just ready and then there is the point right before it breaks clean. Needing to hit that midstream was key but none of the guides explained this and I had to learn the hard way, over dried grassy buds or under dried tasteless ganja.
After a break in growing and a few articles later I ran across a few threads that used a brown paper bag to dry the buds. To me that always seemed a little crazy, what about mold, rot, and other things that could happen placing a wet bud in a bag and closing it. To me the idea was insane, and I know like most of you, the last thing that you want to do is loose some bud to mold. No one wants to take a loss that late in the game after all that work and attention. So the struggle was real, I wanted to try something new, something that claimed to keep the smells from the grow and just give an all-around better finish but at the same time I was scared to make the change and loose some buds.
Being someone who will try something once, I decided to give it a go and do a little experiment. I had one plant that was smaller than the rest but she was fast and done way before the rest. This was great because if it worked I could use it on the remaining plants or if not, not worry about the small loss that I would have as she was a runt. So I harvested the runt and clipped her down to decent size nugs, about the size of 50 cent piece and no smaller than a quarter. I used the lunch paper bags as that was all I had on hand to give it a try. I didn’t want to run out and buy any as this was a test to begin with.
With the nugs cut down, I was able to cover the bottom of the bag to the point where there was no bottom visible roll it down a few add a binder clip to keep it closed and put it in a temp controlled area to dry. The result after 4 days was amazing, I had never had that smell until I gave this a shot. They were perfectly dry and ready for the jar, like they knew it was time. Needless to say I was blown away at what I was seeing and smelling, the color of the buds was better as well as the smell. Which was what I was after the whole time. No more hay smell, only the terpene profile that I had the day of the chop.
I know, I know. That was long winded but ride with me. There is a point to all of this as well as what you need to do to see the same results. The paper bag method, to me, blows away all the hanging methods that I have tried over the years and this is the big change that I made.
After the test with the lunch bag I decided to use it with the rest of the plants, I would advise against using lunch bags if you have a lot of flower to dry, you will have bags all over the place, and I got all the same great smells and colors that I had on the tester bags. They did the trick just like any other brown paper bag without wax coating should do. The principal is the same with the bags, line the bottom of the bag with the flower until its covered, make sure that it’s not stacked too deep, and then roll the bag closed. When I roll it closed I usually don’t go past half way. You want to make sure that there is an air pocket in there to allow the bags to wick the moisture correctly. Once you have the bag filled, and it rolled down I like to close it with a paper binder clip, you know the ones that bind stacks of paper together that a staple can’t get through.
After that step is complete its time to store them to allow them to dry. When you do this there is a few things to keep in mind. You want to make sure that the area has some airflow. This is key to make sure the bags take the water up the sides of the bag and then dry/evaporate the water out of the bag. Then you want to make sure you stir the bag by slightly shaking it every other day or so to make sure the buds settle and dry evenly. You can store them two ways to dry and I have done both. You can line the bottom of a cardboard box with a layer of newspaper and then set them in the box. Make sure the top half is exposed to allow the wicking and drying of the moisture. This works best with the lunch bags as you can get a rather large box and set them end to end and side by side in there to keep them organized. This may add a day to the dry time given the amount of bags and moisture but it won’t mold on you. You can also suspend them in the grow room above the lights from the binder clips, run some light line across the top area of the grow room and dangle the bags from those lines. This method with the lunch bags only took 4 days max. It allowed the bags to have airflow all around them and it wicked out the moisture quick. So there are some differences in the times depending on which way you go. I will say that both ways still held the smell, flavor and color, that they had during the grow. I was afraid that the faster ones were going to be like hay and I was pleasantly wrong.
Now I know that most of you will ask about dry times and what not, in the bags I realized that it comes back to a few things as far as how long it takes to dry this way. The type of bag, lunch bag is only going to hold so much, so this one will take far less time to dry the buds than say a shopping bag full of a whole plant. So keep that in mind when you go to estimate what the dry times are going to be like. Also if you choose to use the box method instead of hanging the bags, this will take a bit longer as well given the amount of flower and moisture in the area. I usually check the buds every three days, that way I don’t miss the sweet spot to start the cure.