Freeze-drying cannabis is a modern approach that deviates from traditional curing methods. Though initially different, the results it yields are equally commendable, if not superior. Only recently has it been recognized as a transformative process that notably shortens the required time span. Although the initial investment in a freeze-drying system may be high, the long-term advantages present a compelling case for its adoption.
Benefits of Freeze Drying
Freeze-drying is revolutionizing the cannabis curing process. Instead of waiting weeks or even months, this technology can reduce the curing time to merely a day. Although the exact duration depends on the specific settings and the model of the freeze dryer, it's undeniably faster than traditional methods.
Beyond time efficiency, freeze-drying also eliminates challenges associated with setting up dedicated drying and curing rooms. Concerns such as pest infiltration, mold growth, and managing environmental factors become things of the past. This also translates to a notable reduction in space requirements, offering flexibility for alternative uses.
Moreover, freeze-drying is meticulous in preserving the cannabis strain's integrity. The moisture is removed, but the bud remains in its full form — no shrinkage or deformation. Essential qualities like aroma, trichomes, and potency are preserved, ensuring that users get the very best of the strain.
Choosing a Freeze Dryer
Selecting the appropriate freeze dryer is essential, and it should match the volume of cannabis you process. While it's optimal to freeze-dry in a single cycle, sometimes it's not feasible. Fortunately, there's a range of freeze dryers tailored for various operational capacities. For expansive or commercial grow operations, consider products like CannaFreeze. On the other hand, for more modest scales, Harvest Right provides suitable freeze dryers.
How Does Freeze-Drying Work?
Freeze drying happens when the water inside the buds turns to a crystal-like state in low temperatures. They are expelled when during sublimation, or when solids becomes a gaseous matter without melting.
While related, you should note that Freeze Drying is different from freezing. The latter only cools the product and retains moisture. While the former cools and expels the moisture.
In freeze-drying, there are three (3) phases, and can take as low as 24 hours to complete.
Freeze-drying cannabis is a multi-stage process, and it begins with the crucial freezing phase. In this initial step, the buds are exposed to extreme cold, with temperatures ranging between -20 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, contingent on the strain in question.
Rapid freezing is paramount at this juncture. Why? Rapid freezing ensures the formation of small ice crystals, whereas a slower freeze would result in larger crystals. These larger ice crystals can detrimentally impact the integrity and quality of the end product.
To attain this expedited freezing, one can employ a technique analogous to preheating an oven: pre-freezing the freeze dryer. The trays intended for the drying process should be placed inside the freeze dryer during this pre-freezing phase. When the appropriate temperature is achieved, the trays are retrieved, and the cannabis buds are arranged upon them.
From this point onward, the freeze dryer automates the process, methodically transitioning through the necessary stages until the buds are adequately freeze-dried and ready for storage or use.
The second phase is sublimation drying. The Freeze Dryer locks your buds in a vacuum and vaporizes the ice inside the buds without turning into liquid.
The vacuum then sucks the vapor into a cold condensation unit, which then turns it into ice.
The third is desorption drying. This phase involves returning the buds to room temperature and the melting of ice in the condensation unit.
The reheating process during drying removes the remaining water content inside. At the same time, the ice in the condensation unit is expelled and drained.
You should have a bud that looks the same and have the same with more THC, making quality cured buds with the best flavors without the dried-out look.
The result of your bud would have around five (5) percent moisture inside. When stored correctly, they can last between six months and three years in poly bags, and at least 25 years in cans.
Freeze drying offers a contemporary deviation from the tried-and-true methods of cannabis drying and curing. While it might appear to be a leap into the future, it's anchored in timeless drying principles, only enhanced for optimal efficiency.
Thinking of taking the plunge? It's well worth it. Not only is the process more intuitive than it might first appear, but the end results are also consistently outstanding.
Indeed, the initial outlay can be significant for some. However, this can be viewed as an investment that accelerates your returns. By streamlining the curing process, you're poised to introduce your product to the market sooner, gaining a distinct advantage over competitors reliant on slower traditional techniques. And let's not overlook another compelling benefit: the potential for significant savings in labor costs. The automation and reduced handling that comes with freeze drying can lead to less manpower being required, which in the long run, can translate to substantial financial savings.