Freeze drying is an unorthodox but effective way of curing cannabis.
It bears little semblance to the traditional ways of drying and curing buds, yet it gives you the same, if not better, results.
While freeze-drying is not new, it was only in recent years it was introduced as a game-changing process that cuts off your time by weeks.
The cost to integrate a freeze-drying system in your processing might be a bit steep for many. But in the long run, the benefits you get is a good trade-off.
Benefits of Freeze Drying
The technology of freeze-drying cuts your curing time to a day. Although the curing time depends on your settings and the freeze dryer you use, the total time you spend is still shorter than curing and drying for weeks, or even months.
You also remove the need to deal with the issues in setting up drying and curing rooms. That means not having to deal with pest contamination, molds, and the whole environment control.
You save on space, which you can let go or use for other purposes.
Freeze-drying preserves every bit of your strain, without the moisture.
You get the full bud without any deformation or shrinkage. The aroma and trichomes are intact, and the potency is at its fullest.
Choosing a Freeze Dryer
The freeze dryer you use should correspond to the load you process.
Although you ought to do the freeze-drying in one go, that can’t always be the case.
Luckily, there are freeze dryers designed for different capacities or sizes of operations.
If you run a large to commercial sized grow operation, you can check the CannaFreeze products.
For smaller operations, Harvest Right offers freeze dryers for smaller scales of operations.
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.
The first stage is freezing, wherein the buds are frozen and taken to temperatures between -20 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the strain.
At this stage, the buds must be rapidly frozen to avoid the formation of large ice crystals that affect the quality of the final product.
So how do you achieve the rapid freeze?
Pre-freeze the freeze dryer.
Like ovens, you can pre-freeze you freeze the freeze dryer with the trays you will use to help you achieve this.
Once it’s at the temperature ideal for your strain, you take out the trays and load your buds.
The freeze dryer then takes care of the process until the buds are freeze-dried.
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 is quite far from your traditional drying and curing methods for buds. But it employs the same principles of drying, only at a more efficient rate.
Should you try it?
Sure, why not.
It is not as complicated as it looks, and the results are exceptional.
It may be a steep investment for some. But you can recover the cost faster, as you dispense earlier to the dispensaries, compared to those stick to the traditional methods.