Freeze dryers have been the default choice for hash makers since their use was popularized in the early 2010s. The advantages they provide over air drying are clear. Freeze dryers provide:
- A reliable and repeatable process
- Much lower risk of microbials in the hash, freeze drying seems to destroy all microbes.
- Faster process – 24 to 36 hours vs 7+ days
- No need to setup a drying room, less overhead space required.
What are the Advantages of Air Dried Hash?
But the freeze drying process begs the question – is there anything that is lost during the freeze drying process? After all the microbials are destroyed, and the harsh low vacuum environment could be damaging the heads or inadvertently volatizing off precious terpenes.
An analogy that Kaya from Pacific Northwest Roots gave me is a great one. Does a piece of fruit -such a pineapple- come out the same when it is freeze dried vs air dried? Absolutely not. It is therefore not that much of a stretch to imagine that a trichome head is not the same when it is air dried vs freeze dried.
Is there an Advantage to Air Dried Hash?
Vangyptian is one of the masters leading the air dry movement. I have samples his air dried hash in rosin, melt and traditional forms and it is just as good if not better than freeze dried hash.
My experience is that if you are making Traditional Hash (e.g. Meat Grinder tek or Frency bottle tek) using air dried hash produces a better result. Freeze dried hash seems to make a flakier, less resinous hash even when using the same input material from the same lot. The air dried version seems to bond better and form a resinous mass more effectively, while freeze dried hash tends to be more crumbly and is typically lighter in colour.
How to Air Dry Hash?
Well if your end goal is traditional hash, the easiest way to “air dry” is to never get the hash wet in the first place. Just dry sift it using our cannabis tumbler.
You will need to play around with the variables depending on a multitude of factors. Although on paper air drying is cheaper, as it does not require the use of a freeze dryer, in practice it can be just as expensive to setup a proper drying room. It certainly requires more skill on the part of the hash maker to deliver a consistent product.
I have seen a number of methods used to effectively air dry hash. These include:
- Dedicated drying room – with air conditioner and dehumidifier (and sometimes humidifiers) for achieving target room humitidity and temperature
- Wine fridge
- Regular fridge – usually with putting the hash in pizza boxes to combat the harsh dry environment (fridges run very dry as at those low temps the air loses its potential for holding humidity so even 50% relative humidity has a very high VPD)
- vegetable drawers can also be used, as this is their intended purpose (to boost relative humidity for veggies and keep them from drying out too fast)
I would not even attempt to air dry hash without a Sensor Push system for monitoring humidity, temperature and VPD. This little device will track both of those metrics for you, and more importantly instantly alert you if the parameters go outside of your preset range. Note that you should get the WiFi gateway if you want to get live alerts (100% worth it).