How To Properly Store Herbs | Importance of Curing Herbs | FAQs

When it comes to herbs, whether it is for medical purposes or cooking, its consumption and depository are of utmost importance. For people who have stock at home, it is imperative to know how long it lasts and how to properly store herbs.

Why Is It So Important To Store Herbs Properly?

If you’re a regular consumer, you may have noticed that the herb which has been left unused for some time does not have the same taste as compared to the fresh one. The reason is attributed to moisture that decreases their shelf life. It has also been reported to have health implications due to the prevalence of mold on the moist herb. 

There is a need to maintain balance when it comes to water content, as too much or too little can both prove to be detrimental to the plant. If the moisture content is in excess, there are chances of it developing mold and if the plant is devoid of moisture, it can affect its nature of taste and efficacy.

The aim is to keep moisture under control. This is ideally done by the harvesters through a process called curing, but once it is packaged and dispatched, you need to maintain that range. How can you do that?

Keep a close check on the light and temperature of the room where you store the herb

  • Drying and Curing Herb

The reason why there is so much emphasis placed on drying and curing herb is because we have to preserve the integrity of the terpenes and cannabinoids in order to retain taste and potency. But the drying shouldn't be done in a rapid manner as it will deplete the outer portion but the insides will remain moist and therefore become a breeding ground for mold.

There's a difference between drying and curing. Drying is done prior to or after trimming, whereas curing takes place after the water has been removed.

  • Drying duration

In an ideal setting, drying takes around 3-7 days, but it can also take longer depending on the condition. It is also important to keep the herbs connected to their branches for a slower, better drying. You have the option of either dry or wet trimming. If you're dry trimming, hang the plant on a line to make sure the herbs don't change shape. Then keep the branches in that manner for at least 3 days before trimming and try to bend the branch alongside its herbs - if it snaps, the herbs are good to go for trimming. If they don't, then leave them hanging and revisit them the next morning.

When it comes to wet trimming, place the herbs on a flat surface, preferably a rack. Check the drying progress after 2-3 days by pressing them gently. If they appear too moist, leave them as they are and revisit them the next morning.

  • Curing Procedure

Once the drying and trimming is completed, the next step is to remove the excess moisture via curing. You need to place your herbs in airtight containers, preferably glass jars, to lock in the optimum moisture, potency and flavor. The total duration is between two to four weeks and the range of moisture needs to be kept between 55-65%. In short, the equipment you need for curing is an airtight jar and a hygrometer to monitor temperature and levels of humidity.

Why Is Curing So Important?

When it comes to herb, curing is most often neglected. And even if drying is taking place, it is normally done in a way that the outer portion is dried but the inside remains wet. Curing is a process that enables moisture control from the inside out.

Curing also determines the taste and overall efficacy of consumption. Warmer conditions give rise to breeding grounds for certain enzymes and bacteria that crumble the minerals and sugars during the drying procedure. A good cure keeps your herb fresh and viable for as long as two years without loss of efficacy.

What Is the Best Way to Store Herbs?

Once you are done with curing, the herbs will be viable for a good amount of time. There are certain conditions that need to be regulated in order for the herbs to remain intact.

  • Temperature

When it comes to storing herb, temperature plays a vital role in maintaining its integrity. The optimum temperature in this regard is 21 degrees celsius, because higher temperatures can promote the growth of mold that can ultimately destroy the plant. Warmer temperatures also tend to devoid the flower of moisture beyond its recommended range.

  • Humidity

In addition to temperature, humidity is also a contributing factor in determining the viability of herbs. The recommended range is between 55-65% humidity to maintain taste and consistency and to prevent the development of mold.

  • Light

When it comes to light, there is certain UV radiation emitted that can break down herb. If you store your herb in a place where there is no direct light, it can also keep the temperature at bay.

  • Air

There needs to be a fine balance, especially when it comes to air. If the air is scarce, it can affect the humidity and if the air is in excess, it will promote degradation due to the presence of oxygen. 

What Equipment and Tools Can I Use To Store Herb?

As discussed previously, maintaining a natural balance is important for Herb to remain viable and be of use to you in the long run. The factors that need to be regulated include light, temperature, air and humidity.

  • Air-tight jars

Once you are done curing the herbs, they are ideally supposed to be placed in air-tight mason jars. The less oxygen present, the better your herbs will be able to stay fresh. Also, it is plausible to use glass instead of plastic as Tupperware tends to deteriorate the herbs faster. If you don't have access to air-tight glass jars, you can opt for a vacuum bag.

  • Stash Jars

One of the most important factors to control is light exposure. And so when it comes to storage, it is imperative to have some means of light blockade. One method is to use Stash Jars, which are opaque, air-tight containers that do not allow light to enter. They are outlined with a black silicone sleeve and have air-tight lids manufactured. Also, it takes the edge off when you have to turn the light on to examine the herbs without being concerned about exposing the plant.

  • Clean storage containers

There are specialized herbs storage containers that ensure clean packaging as well as keep the herbs viable for a long time. It is also important to dust the shelves where these containers are kept.

  • Pill bottle

Pill bottles are handy and easy to use to store herbs, but they are only a short-term solution and should not be regarded for longer storage.

  • Humidor

A wooden humidor is another great way to store herbs. They keep humidity at bay and, because the box is made of wood, it is safe to keep the glass jars intact inside it.

Related Article: Best Practices for Storing Ground Herbs


FAQ About Storing Herbs

What is the best temperature to store herb

The ideal temperature is 21 degrees celsius, as anything higher will disrupt the integrity of herb. And raised temperatures also promote humidity, which can in turn lead to the growth of mold.

Is refrigerating or freezing herbs bad?

Actually, no. You can freeze or refrigerate herbs when you’re in an area that is too warm or humid. But it is important to keep an eye on the temperature scale as too severe temperatures can cause the trichomes to fall off. In an ideal scenario, you would store your herbs in an air-tight container and place it in a relatively cool place. This way, there are fewer chances of the herbs losing its integrity or potency.

Do light and oxygen affect herb?

Yes! In fact, light has been attributed to disrupting the nature of herb the most. A study was conducted that showed exposure to light can lead to loss of cannabinoid concentrates. UV radiation can result in loss of potency and eventual disintegration. If you do not have a cool place to store it, you can store it in your drawer in order to limit light exposure.

Can I store herbs in plastic bags?

Ideally, you should not. But in the worst case scenario, you can use plastic bags, but with some precautions. Try to evacuate the bag of any air that might be present inside it before you store the herbs in it. Make sure the plastic you are using is bisphenol A (BPA) free as it is proven to be detrimental to human health. You should handle your herbs in a gentle manner, as any tugging can pull the trichomes off.

Related Article: Smell-Proof Herb Storage: How to Keep Your Botanical Discreet 

How to keep it smell-proof?

The best way to prevent herbs from accumulating a strong smell is to store it in an air-tight container with a sealed lid. Some people resort to pill bottles to keep their herb smell-free. There are also some smell-proof containers to store herb.



In summary, here is a round up of everything we have learned about storing herbs:

  • Keep it away from direct sun exposure.
  • Place it in a cool, dry area.
  • It needs to be kept in an airtight glass jar or vacuum bag.
  • Humidifier packs need to be operated at 62% humidity.
  • Plastic bags should not be used for storage.

These methods will only add to the longevity of your herbs, but they will not keep your herbs forever. You need to follow these tips if you want the harvest to stay for a longer period of time. Any exposure to excess temperature, humidity, light or air will result in the alteration of its molecular composition and, as a result, the herbs will not be safe for consumption. 

The rule of thumb is to leave the herbs alone once all the conditions have been fulfilled and it has been kept in storage. The less you touch it, the better it will remain.. They can also stick to your finger if you touch it often. And excess exposure to air will deplete the pleasant smell that you want to preserve. It is advised only to open the jar at the time of consumption. The better you treat your herbs, the longer they will remain viable.

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