Nowadays, the increase in the types of resin extractions and the different extraction methods are nothing like the situation just a few years ago. Soon after the introduction of concentrates such as BHO (Butane Hash Oil), a new technique of mechanical separation called Rosin was developed. This method uses no chemical solvents, relying on just pressure and heat. Nevertheless, if there is a cannabis concentrate which has been “rejuvenated” during the last few years is, without doubt, hash, the oldest of them all.
Thanks to modern techniques such as static electricity dry sift and the processing of fresh material, these types of concentrates have reached a degree of purity never before seen. Due to legalisation in numerous places, professionals have been able to develop new methods and to implement machinery solely reserved until now for other applications, both during the extraction procedure and the post-processing phase. This is the case of the Harvest Right freeze dryers, used to perfectly dry bubble hash or ice water hash, and which are increasingly popular among concentrates artists thanks to the many advantages they offer, and which we will see below.
Drying hash with a freeze dryer?
One of the drawbacks of making bubble hash is, without a doubt, having to dry the resin before being able to consume it, a process that until now, could take several days or weeks, depending on the drying conditions. Moreover, with the booming in the processing of fresh material, much more difficult to handle due to its extremely sticky texture, achieving a consistent drying of quality seemed increasingly difficult, especially working with large quantities, as in the case of areas where cannabis has been legalised. Indeed, drying cannabis before extracting is a practice with fewer and fewer supporters due to the advantages of processing fresh material.
However, a while ago, the sharpest hash makers came up with a method designed to help them to dry the resin quickly, with minimal loss of terpenes, and with nearly zero oxidation: the freeze dryer, a type of machine commonly used by laboratories and the food industry to dehydrate food for storage. The principle is simple: the material you want to dry gets frozen at very low temperatures before being subjected to a vacuum and to a series of fluctuations in temperature (always below zero), that allow quick and perfect drying. Through this process, the frozen fluid (in this case, water) is sublimated, or in other words, transformed into a gas without ever becoming liquid.
Harvest Right Freeze Dryers
The US company Harvest Right offers excellent domestic freeze dryers that are great for drying your best hash. It is important to emphasise that these machines are not suitable for drying buds! As we mentioned above, the drying process has two phases, the freezing of the material, and the drying process itself. The timings and temperatures in both phases can be customized through the digital display on the front of the machine, from where we can also access the inner chamber via a door with a safety lock. This way, we can modify the timings and temperatures as we please, and obtain resin with a perfect moisture level.
Inside, there are 4 stainless steel trays for the material we want to dry (it’s always a good idea to use a bit of parchment to place the wet resin on, so the trays don´t get dirty). It also comes with a fabric cover for the glass door, which, as indicated in the instruction manual, should be fitted before starting the process. This Harvest Right freeze dryer includes a vacuum pump that we will attach to the appliance, so it can be connected and disconnected during the drying process. It also includes a bottle of oil for the vacuum pump and an oil filter. As you can see, it comes with everything we need to start working straight away.
How to dry hash with a freeze dryer
Once everything is ready (while the assembly is simple, the user manual will be of great help) it’s time to begin with the first tests. It is important to stress that the timings and temperatures of freezing and drying may vary depending on several factors, such as the type of resin and its moisture content as it goes into the freeze dryer. It is best to start with very small amounts until we find the parameters that offer the best quality drying. Bear in mind that, in order to reach the required vacuum pressure, the door´s round rubber gasket must be completely clean; rinse it well with water and place it carefully before closing the door; do all this with the utmost cleanliness and neatness.
After a few hours freezing and many more drying, you will be able to open the door and carefully remove the material. If everything went well, the resin will be totally dry and will retain nearly 100% of the terpenes that contained when it was on the live plant, without no oxidation, that is to say, with no observable degradation of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are present. The hash will be very light in colour, unchanged from when we put the fresh resin in the machine, and much, much lighter than air-dried hash.
Without doubt, this is an excellent option for ice water hash enthusiasts and professionals working with this type of concentrates, as it allows them to dry a large amount of resin in record time, especially taking into account the quality of the final product, which is incomparable to that of resin dried with the application of heat (which is always of a lower quality).
All the best and happy hashing!