🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
The end of the flowering cycle is an exciting time in the cannabis garden, especially if you’re planning to make bubble hash with your bounty. Harvesting cannabis at its peak trichome development and terpene production allows the hash maker to harness the fullest potential of the plant. But there’s a decision to be made after the plants have been harvested.
How should I prepare the cannabis for ice water extraction?
Ice water hash makers have a couple different options when it comes to preparing cannabis material for the extraction process. One method is to hang dry the flowers as you would for smoking the buds. Another is to immediately freeze the flowers and any sugar leaf right after harvesting, known as fresh frozen material.
So which is better, washing dried or fresh-frozen material for bubble hash? We outlined some of the Pros and Cons of each to help you decide:
- Superior quality
- Better terpene preservation since freezing greatly slows terpene degradation / evaporation
- Hash can be made just 24 hours after harvesting after a quick freeze lighter color, most notably in what’s collected from the initial wash
- Releases higher amounts of chlorophyll after multiple washes, potentially leaving the hash with a green tint
- Can have slightly lower yield percentages than dried flowers (after adjustment for water weight lost during the drying process)
- More consistent quality throughout multiple washes
- Can provide slightly higher yield as dried trichome heads are a little tougher, allowing them to be washed off of the plant in tact
- Doesn’t release chlorophyll as readily as fresh frozen
- Hash made with dried flowers can potentially be more stable and maintain quality over a longer shelf life
- Terpenes evaporate during the course of the drying process
- Flowers need at least 2 weeks to dry after harvest, increasing production time
- Color of hash is often darker with dried flowers compared to fresh frozen flowers from the same cultivar
Although the above lists can be a useful guide, the strain you’re using to make hash will ultimately dictate the best method for you to use. Some strains will yield better expressions with dry buds, while others will make the best bubble hash from fresh frozen material. Experimentation is key.
Our recommendation is to run side-by-side tests of the cultivars you’re working with and find the method that you prefer for that particular strain.
One final note: when it comes to making hash, growing your own cannabis gives you the freedom and flexibility to work with a variety of strains, and to make both fresh-frozen and dry bud bubble hash to find out which is better. If you want to read about more advantages of growing your own cannabis, check out this article.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is fresh frozen cannabis?
Fresh frozen cannabis is cannabis that's been harvested and immediately frozen in preparation for the ice water extraction method of making bubble hash. Fresh frozen cannabis maintains much of the qualities it had when it was alive, including high terpene content and low levels of oxidation.
How long do you have to freeze cannabis for the fresh frozen preparation?
Cannabis only needs to freeze for as little as 24 hours to be ready for washing in the ice water extraction process.
What temperature should you use to freeze cannabis for fresh frozen material?
The ideal temperatures should be set anywhere between -4 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you only have a regular, residential freezer then anything under 32 degrees Fahrenheit will work.
What kind of freezer should you use to freeze fresh frozen cannabis?
ideally you want to use an industrial freezer, capable of reaching subzero temperatures. A freezer with humidity control is another advantage, as condensation is the enemy.
Do you have to pre soak fresh frozen flowers before washing?
Yes, both fresh frozen and air dried cannabis need to be thoroughly pre soaked before washing.