- Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening
- Fridge or Freezer for Storing Seeds?
- Orthodox and Recalcitrant Seeds
- Your Home is Not a Seed Bank
- When is Seed Mature?
- Does Seed Get Old at Room Temperature?
- Store in Paper
- What About Recalcitrant Seeds?
- When are Recalcitrant Seeds Mature?
- Which Storage Method Should You Use?
- 1. Dry the seeds.
- 2. Stash them somewhere airtight.
- 3. Put the containers in a dry and cool place.
- 4. Toss any seeds pass their prime.
- 5. Prepare for planting.
- 6. Expect a few duds.
- Did the cold weather kill my grass seed
- Does Freezing Kill Seeds – Information On Using Seeds That Are Frozen
- Does Freezing Kill Seeds?
- Using Seeds that are Frozen
- YOUR BEST CHANCE OF STORAGE SUCCESS
- YOUR BEST CHANCE OF SOWING SUCCESS
- The Best Ways To Store Cannabis Concentrates And Edibles
- TOP TIPS
- How to Store Cannabis Oil, Edibles, and Other Products
- The Best Way to Store Cannabis-Infused Products
- The Nuances of Storing Cannabis Oil and Edibles
- Storing Cannabis-Infused Products Long-Term
- Old Marijuana Edibles: To Eat or Not To Eat?
- When stumbling upon a delicious, yet old AF cannabis-infused treat, you need to ask yourself one question: Is this still okay to eat?
Garden Myths – Learn the truth about gardening
It is fall and you have just collected some seed from your garden. Should they be stored in the fridge or freezer? Both suggestions are quite common for storing seed, but the true answer will surprise you.
In this post I will have a closer look at storing seeds from your garden.
Should Collected Seed Be Stored in the Fridge or Freezer?
Fridge or Freezer for Storing Seeds?
The truth of the matter is that neither option is correct.
To understand this better we need to understand a bit more about seeds and how they develop.
Orthodox and Recalcitrant Seeds
Seeds have been classified into two general groups; Orthodox and Recalcitrant (non-orthodox).
The first group, orthodox seeds, probably got their name because these seeds behave very much like the seeds that have been collected and stored for thousands of years. After collecting they can be dried and stored for a long time. This group makes up 80% of all seeds.
The second group of seeds were researched more recently and became known as recalcitrant (having an obstinately uncooperative attitude). In the early days these seeds seemed impossible to germinate, but now we know that they die when they dry out or are stored too cold.
Your Home is Not a Seed Bank
Seed banks are set up to store orthodox seeds. The seeds are dried so that the moisture content is below 10% and for some species as low as 5%. Once they are this dry they can be safely frozen for a very long time.
Gardeners have learned about these storage methods and think it is best to mimic them. They collect seed and then place it in the freezer. If it is good enough for a seed bank it should be good for gardeners, but they forget one important step – drying the seed.
Freezing seed with a moisture content higher than 10% can kill the seed as ice crystals form.
Homeowners don’t have an easy way to measure moisture content and therefore they should not be freezing seed.
When is Seed Mature?
Almost everything you read about gardening will tell you that when the seed pod gets brown and dry, it is mature and the seed is ready for harvesting. I even tell gardeners this in seminars and in my videos. The concept is easy to understand and works well for the general public.
But seed maturation is more complex than this. Many orthodox seeds continue their maturing process after the seed is black and released from the mother plant. In some cases germinability increases only after the drying process starts.
Seed from chili peppers (Capsicum annuum) had the highest rate of germination when the seeds were left in picked fruit for another 14 days after harvest. This was true for green , yellow and red fruit, with higher germination from red ripe fruit, clearly showing that for this seed, maturation was still taking place after harvest. (Note: the 14 days was an arbitrary date for testing and does not reflect the time period that produced maximum germinability.)
Similar results were found for tomatoes, eggplant, watermelon, bell peppers and cucumber.
Gabriela Costea, from BotanyCa puts it this way ” It is the natural way, if you think about it – fruits/seeds mature, fall on the ground throughout the summer and early fall. They will only experience cold gradually from late fall to winter. ”
Orthodox seed can germinate before it looks mature. Soybean and corn can germinate 20 days and 50 days, prior to full maturity, but the resulting seedlings are smaller and weaker than seedlings grown from more mature seed.
When you place freshly collected seed in the fridge, some of the chemical processes that are still taking place inside the seed, suddenly stop. The maturation process is halted, and you have just stored seed that is not fully mature.
For this reason, it is not a good idea to store your seed in the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature and continue its maturation process. By late winter or spring it will be ready to germinate.
Does Seed Get Old at Room Temperature?
Some of you may be concerned that seed sitting around at room temperature will get old and that germination rates will drop. After all, is this not the reason why seed banks store at low temperatures?
To understand this you have to consider the time horizon involved.
For most gardeners, you are storing the seed for 6 months or less. During that time period, orthodox seeds do not get old.
Seed banks are trying to store seeds for centuries. For such long term storage, cold temperatures are important.
Store in Paper
Orthodox seeds continue to lose moisture as they mature. It is important to let this moisture escape, or else the seed can get moldy. For this reason they should not be stored in closed plastic bags. Some form of paper is a much better option.
What About Recalcitrant Seeds?
Recalcitrant seeds need to be treated differently. These seeds die if the moisture levels get below 30%. Because of this high moisture content they can’t be frozen. Most of these seeds can be stored at 0 °C, but some tropical seeds are damaged even below 15 °C.
Plastic bags containing a bit of moistened vermiculite works well.
Even with this type of storage, these seeds tend to have a short life span of a few weeks to a couple of years. Even seed banks don’t have an easy way to store them long term.
When are Recalcitrant Seeds Mature?
The comments I made above about maturity are a bit simplified. In reality maturity can be defined different ways. One way to define it is to consider maturity as being the point where the seed can germinate.
Recalcitrant seeds tend to reach germinability sooner than orthodox seeds.
When the Norway maple (Acer platanoides), an orthodox seed, is compared to the sycamore (A. pseudoplatanus), a recalcitrant, researchers found that the sycamore reached germinability 10 weeks before physiological maturity (seeds look ripe). The Norway maple reached germinability 4 weeks before physiological maturity.
In another study Galanthus nivalis, the common snow drop, showed some germinability 29 days before natural seed dispersal, with a maximum germinability of 79%, 12 days before dispersal.
Many recalcitrant seeds germinate better when the seed is collected in the green stage, rather than the normal brown/black stage. By the time these seeds ‘look mature’, they are already losing viability and are getting old.
Which Storage Method Should You Use?
The take home message here is that there is no “best seed storage method” as suggested by most gardening sources. At a minimum you first need to determine which type of seed you are dealing with; orthodox or recalcitrant. To complicate the matter there is also a third category (sub-orthodox) which is half way between these two extremes.
How do you determine which type of seed you have? Unfortunately that is not easy. I have not found any good lists, but Bill Cullina, of the New England Wild Flower Society has some plants listed and uses the term ‘hydrophilic’ instead of recalcitrant. BotanyCa also does a good job of identifying seeds that need moist packaging and Genesis Nursery, Inc. also has a list. If you can’t find your plant on a list, here are some general rules you can follow:
- 80% of all seeds are orthodox.
- Most vegetables are orthodox.
- Many North American woodland plants are recalcitrant.
- Some willows, poplars, elms, maples, oaks, hazels, walnuts, chestnuts, and hickories are recalcitrant.
- Many tropical rainforest plants are recalcitrant.
If it is an orthodox seed and it will be germinated within the next year, store it in paper and room temperature. If your goal is to store the seed for many years, make sure they are very dry and have had enough time to mature (several months), and then store them in the fridge – not in the freezer.
Recalcitrant seed should be stored moist. Use a temperature that is similar to their native environment. For temperate seeds, store at outdoor temperatures, and gradually cool them down as winter approaches. Then store in the fridge. For tropical recalcitrant seed, store between 15 to 20 °C. In both cases it is best to plant as soon as possible for best germination. Consider collecting some seed in the green stage to see if germination improves.
There is huge variation in seeds and their growth behavior. It is always a good idea to research each seed and follow the advice given for it.
This topic was first discussed on our Facebook Group, called Garden Fundamentals. Feel free to post your comments there for further discussion. https://www.facebook.com/groups/GardenFundamentals/permalink/525213384615762/
If you like this post, please share …….
You’ve harvested your summer seeds and now it’s time to store them to help you get a jump-start on next season — but storing them improperly could make your dreams of a bountiful garden fall flat. Follow our easy guide to storing your saved seeds that will save you time and money and give you your best harvest yet.
1. Dry the seeds.
If you’re gathering and saving seeds from your own plants, spread the seeds on newspaper and let them air-dry for about a week. Write seed names on the newspaper so there’s no mix-up. Pack the air-dried seeds in small paper packets or envelopes and label with the plant name and other pertinent information. Remember, if you want to save your own seeds, you’ll need to plant open-pollinated varieties. They’ll come back true; hybrids won’t.
You can also dry saved seeds on paper towels. They’ll stick to the towels when dry, so roll them up right in the towel to store them. When you’re ready to plant, just tear off bits of the towel, one seed at a time, and plant seed and towel right in the soil.
2. Stash them somewhere airtight.
MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/
Put the packets inside plastic food storage bags, Mason jars with tight-fitting lids, or glass canisters with gasketed lids.
To keep seeds dry, wrap two heaping tablespoons of powdered milk in four layers of facial tissue, then put the milk packet inside the storage container with the seed packets. You can also add a packet of silica gel in with the seeds. Replace every six months.
3. Put the containers in a dry and cool place.
Humidity and warmth shorten a seed’s shelf life, so the refrigerator is generally the best place to store seeds, but keep them far away from the freezer.
4. Toss any seeds pass their prime.
Store each year’s seeds together and date them. Because most seeds remain viable about three years, you’ll know at a glance which container still has planting potential.
5. Prepare for planting.
When you’re ready to plant, remove the containers from the refrigerator and keep them closed until the seeds warm to room temperature. Otherwise, moisture in the air will condense on the seeds, causing them to clump together.
6. Expect a few duds.
Even if you’re organized, methodical, and careful about storing seeds, accept the fact that some seeds just won’t germinate the following year. Home gardeners will find that stored sweet corn and parsnip seeds in particular have low germination rates, and other seeds will only remain viable for a year or two.
Did the cold weather kill my grass seed
Zone 5 should work fine for sowing grass seed in April. It takes 11 days to germinate after sowing and then one should be having their first virgin mow. If it is cooler or wetter than normal the germination will be much slower…up to 3 weeks before your first mow.
Normally I would not mention fertilizer for baby plants but you’ve used straw and it is slowly decomposing as we type. Decomposition organisms need nitrogen to do their job properly and more quickly. I would lightly apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. This will get that straw decomposing. How much did you put down? How thickly?
How did you prepare your seed bed? Please tell me you rolled it with a water filled roller, at least once before you seeded?
If you have not, go rent a water roller for compacting a lawn seed bed and go over your lawn in all directions. Don’t worry about the babies that you squish. There will be plenty more. What was the setting on your seed spreader, what kind of seed spreader, how many pounds per 1000 sq. ft.? Or did you throw seed by hand?
I am not happy with the seed…whenever a package of cool season grass seed says .1 percent? weed seed that reduces the credibility of that seed and company. But no matter, if you learn how to mow, water, aerate and fertilize correctly you will be able to deter pretty much all weeds.
Mow HIGH. No shorter than 3 inches and 3 1/2 inches is ideal. Sharp sharp blades. Bag your clippings and use them in your compost pile. They DO NOT fertilize or help a lawn in any way. Great way to get thatch built up for sure.
Water DEEPLY and allow the soil bed to dry out before watering again. This ‘training’ begins right after the first mow. Watering a little every day is the kiss of death of a great grass crop. The idea is to make your grasses’ roots grow deep to get at the water as the surface water dries up. No water restrictions will cause your lawn to go brown.
Using a spade, water for X amount of time and slice into a part of your lawn’s bed. Pull the soil back to see how deep the water you used was able to reach. After your first mow you will be watering more often and shallower. Most cool season lawn soils are fairly wet right now so this training won’t work until it gets warmer. Just be aware that the deeper the water gets in the top soil 4 – 6″ that is where the roots will grow to get at that water. Watering shallowly is fine for shallow rooted grasses that you find in warm season grass mixes.
Cool season grasses have huge root systems unlike the warm season grasses. This is a great thing because weeds are generally shallow rooted. By allowing the soil at the surface to dry out you are inhibiting germination of ANY seeds and weeds will not be able to compete with the grass for water. So way cool. Cool season grass lawn are very cool. Easy peasy to promote the vitality of your crop while discouraging weeds to germinate and get vigorous.
The reason you have to leave 3 to 3 1/2 inches of top growth is to FEED those roots. Plants make their own food. Fertilizer is not food. Without enough photosynthesizing top growth those roots will not be supported and fed properly by the plant.
The other cool thing that happens with 3 1/2″ grass blades is that any seed on the soil will not be able to germinate and get vigorous without sun. The grass blades are shading the soil.
Also, the shading of the soil slows evaporation of water. Saving water. You will eventually train your grasses to only need 1″ of water per week delivered in one watering. Humongous saving and efficient use of water.
Aerate pulling plugs of soil and sod out of the lawn to be left right where they fall! Once per year!
Fertilizer needs to be applied 4X per season using the proper formulation of NPK. Extended release is best, slow greening is best and healthiest for your lawn. Here is a tip; find Dr. Earth’s Lawn Fertilizer! It is more expensive but big deal. You will only need 3 applications per season not 4 if that helps. That fertilizer is oh so ORGANIC meaning it is extended, slow release and it comes with bacteria (thatch eating bacteria) and fungi, mychorrhizal fungi…good fungus.
I am a gosh darn expert with decades of experience installing and maintaining cool season grasses and I tried this stuff on my own lawn and was blown away. Immediately cancelled all Scott’s and other fertilizer orders to use just Dr. Earth. Oh my goodness, the difference was spectacular.
You follow these instructions and you will have a nice thick lawn.
Did you roll that seed bed before you seeded?
How much seed #’s per 1000 sq. ft. did you apply?
Did you use a simple rotary seed spreader? Or did you throw it by hand?
Have you applied fertilizer already and if so, what formulation and how much?
Be patient, give your seed a few more weeks. If you did not roll that seed bed as yet you most certainly have a window of time to do so. Please send some pictures. If you didn’t roll we can fix that later, not as easily if you were to roll now but I’d need to SEE what you are seeing to help best.
Does Freezing Kill Seeds – Information On Using Seeds That Are Frozen
If you have ever read the labels on seed packets, you’ve probably noticed their recommendations to store unused seeds in a cool, dry place. These instructions are a little vague. While your garage, garden shed or basement may stay cool, they can also be humid and damp during certain times of the year. You may wonder how cool is too cool, and does freezing kill seeds. Continue reading to learn more about storing seeds in the freezer and properly using seeds that are frozen.
Does Freezing Kill Seeds?
Seed banks store rare, exotic and heirloom seeds in refrigeration units or cryogenic chambers to ensure the survival and future of specific plant varieties. As a home gardener, you probably don’t have a cryogenic chamber in your garden shed, and you also probably don’t need to store thousands of seeds for decades. That said, the kitchen refrigerator or freezer are sufficient for storing leftover seeds, as long as they are stored properly.
Improper freezing can kill some seeds, but other seeds may be less fussy. In fact, many wildflower, tree and shrub seeds actually require a cold period, or stratification, before they will germinate. In cool climates, plants such as milkweed, Echinacea, ninebark, sycamore, etc. will drop seed in autumn, then lay dormant under snow through winter. In spring rising temperatures and moisture will trigger these seeds to sprout. Without the preceding cold, dormant period, though, seeds like these will not sprout. This period of stratification can easily be simulated in a freezer.
Using Seeds that are Frozen
The keys to success when freezing seeds is storing dry seeds in an airtight container and keeping consistent cool temperatures. Seeds should be thoroughly dried before being frozen, as the freezing process can cause moist seeds to crack or split. The dry seeds should then be placed in an airtight container to prevent them from absorbing any humidity and taking on any damaging moisture.
Seeds stored in a refrigerator should be placed near the back of the fridge where they will be less exposed to temperature fluctuations from opening and closing the door. Storing seeds in the freezer will provide seeds with more consistent temperatures than refrigerator storage. For every 1% increase in humidity, a seed can lose half its storage life. Likewise, every 10-degree increase in temperature can also cost seeds half their storage life.
Whether you are storing seeds for just a few weeks for succession plantings or to use a year or two from now, there are some steps you must take when using seeds that are frozen.
- First off, make sure seeds are clean and dry before freezing. Silica gel can help thoroughly dry seeds.
- When placing seeds in an airtight container for cold storage, you should label and date the container to avoid confusion when it’s time to plant. It’s also a good idea to start a seed journal so you can learn from your own successes or failures.
- Lastly, when it is time to plant, take seeds out of the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for at least 24 hours before planting them.
If you’ve got a bare spot in the lawn and an old bag of grass seed in the shed, it may seem as though your troubles are over. Before sprinkling that seed and nurturing it carefully, however, you should ask yourself how long can you store grass seed and how long has this been here? The germination rate of grass seed decreases with age so, while hope springs eternal, your grass seed may not.
Table of Contents
DOES GRASS SEED EXPIRE?
Grass seed often has an expiration date stamped on the bag and can go bad over time, so its best to throw away any unused grass seed that is past its date. As grass seed ages the percentage of seeds that will be able to germinate decreases, forcing you to use more seed than normal to get adequate coverage. You may also spend hours irrigating, feeding and nurturing seeds that will never produce grass.
HOW LONG CAN YOU STORE GRASS SEED?
According to the Scotts Company, grass seed is good for 2 to 3 years. Grass seed that is less than one year old is best, however. Storage also varies by seed type, with ryegrass seed staying viable for up to 5 years with proper storage. This allows rye to be stored longer than other popular varieties like fescue grass seed and bermudagrass seed.
HOW DO YOU STORE GRASS SEED?
Knowing how to properly store grass seed over the winter and beyond is crucial to getting good results from the seed. For best results, store your seed in a bag with mesh air vents that allow airflow while excluding insects. Keep the bag in a cool, dry place free of humidity. As a general rule, the Oregon State University Seed Laboratory recommends storing your seeds at temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and at a relative humidity of 60% or less. Cooler is better, but never let your seed freeze.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY SEED HAS EXPIRED?
There are no hard and fast signs that denote expired grass seed. Even the expiration date on the package is a guess and seed may be viable after that date. There are a few instances, however, in which seed should simply be thrown away rather than used. Look over the seed carefully and see if there are patches of fungi or discoloration. Look for clumpy, damp areas as well and take a sniff to see if your seed is harboring any strange or foul odors. If any of these conditions are present, it will be best to start with fresh seed. If not, you can attempt to sow the seeds with the understanding that they may or may not germinate well depending on their age.
YOUR BEST CHANCE OF STORAGE SUCCESS
If you know you’ll be storing at least some of the grass seed you buy, buying well is the first step to proper storage. Find and purchase the seed with the expiration date furthest away just as you do when you buy milk at the grocery store. This video shows you exactly where and why to look for this date. Buying high-quality seed will also increase your odds of successfully storing any unused portion. High-quality seed will contain the following, which should be listed on the package:
• Less than 0.5% weeds • No noxious weeds • Filler material such as chaff or dirt in quantities less than 2% • No more than 2% other crops
YOUR BEST CHANCE OF SOWING SUCCESS
It’s always important to give your grass seed the best possible start in life, but old seed may require extra diligence. Be sure to water your seed twice a day to keep the top inch of soil moist until the seed germinates. Once germination occurs, water every day. When your grass reaches about 3 inches in height, begin mowing as you normally would. You can resume your normal watering schedule after you have mowed your new grass once or twice.
Make sure your seeds don’t dry out and avoid covering the seed with straw as it may harbor unwanted weeds. Instead, cover the seeds with a thin layer of lawns soil. Though fresher is always better when it comes to planting seeds, properly stored grass seed can be viable for 2 to 3 years. Some varieties, like ryegrass, will last even longer.
It is important to keep insects, rodents, and humidity away from your grass seed when storing it and make sure the seed isn’t allowed to freeze. Depending on how cold winter gets where you live, this makes storing unused seed in the garage or basement a better option than keeping it in a garden shed where temperatures are more likely to fluctuate. For best results both before and after storing seeds, always buy high-quality grass seed and take proper care of it for the first few weeks after sowing.
Many people are attracted to heirloom seeds and gardening for the variety and flavor. Once they realize that heirlooms are open pollinated seeds that can be saved and replanted year after year, they often ask how to start saving their own seeds.
This is not hard, but there are some basics to understand first. With a little knowledge you will be able to make the choice to save seeds, or realize it’s not something you want to pursue at this point. Please realize that this is an only in introduction, as there are several excellent seed saving books on the subject if you want to learn more.
Short term storage is the largest concern for most home gardeners and even most market growers, as they are looking for a way to have viable seeds for next year, not 10 years from now.
This is the same concern that humans have had since we started planting seeds some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago. There is some confusion as to how to keep seeds viable for a couple of years, as the news about seed banks and the high tech methods have created a false sense of need.
You don’t need high-tech, expensive equipment! You already have everything in your house that you need.
Temperature and humidity are the two main concerns in any seed storage setup. A place that is consistently cool and low humidity are what’s needed, as temperature fluctuations will shorten the life and viability of your seeds.
Your refrigerator or freezer is ideal; you won’t need a lot of room as seeds are usually small.
Short Term Storage
There are environmental concerns to be aware of such as ambient humidity and temperature. If you live in a high humidity environment you will need to take certain precautions, just as if you live in a high temperature area.
In many areas the refrigerator is fine, as long as you put the seeds towards the back and in an area that isn’t exposed to the temperature fluctuations of the door opening. The freezer answers the temperature fluctuations, as it is opened a lot less than the fridge door.
Freezing seeds does not harm them, and can greatly extend their lifespan if done properly.
All seed banks freeze their seeds intended for long term storage! Humidity is a greater concern with freezing, as a blast of warm humid air on frozen seeds can damage them. If you live in a high humidity area, smaller packets of seeds for one years planting will be ideal, as the packet can be pulled from the larger seed storage without exposing the rest of the seeds to temperature/humidity fluctuations.
If you are saving seeds from a seed packet where you didn’t use all of the seeds, keep the packet and put it into a Ziploc baggie. Date the baggie and put it into a gallon sized Ziploc that has the date on it as well.
If you don’t date everything, you will wonder how long the seed has been in storage…
If you are saving seeds from harvest, put all of the info on the baggie- common name, scientific name, date, and any notes you want to remember next year when you pull it out.
This is the time to start a garden/seed journal as well, to document what you planted, what grew well, what challenges you had, bugs, disease, weather, etc. that you will forget in 3 or 4 years.
As with anything you will need to experiment and learn what works best for you and in your specific, unique situation. Some high humidity areas need to store their seeds in smaller quantities and pull the individual packets out of the storage container that are needed for that years planting, put them into another container in the back of the fridge to thaw out for a couple of days, then finally bring them out into the room to finish warming up.
Most areas aren’t nearly as exacting, with the seeds going from the freezer to a covered container on the counter for a couple of days to thaw and stabilize before being planted. One side note, some seeds will germinate better after freezing/refrigerating, as this imitates the natural winter season in the ground.
Longer Term Storage
Long term storage is similar to short term, but the freezer is almost always used, with chest freezers purchased specifically for seeds acting as miniature seed banks.
Only seeds are stored in the freezer and it is opened only a couple of times a year, so temperature swings are minimized. The freezer is usually run at about -15F. Most seeds will last a minimum of 5 years with certain hardy varieties lasting 20+ years!
This is obviously the domain of the serious seed saver. There are a lot of individuals that fall into this category, which surprises many people, who think that serious seed saving and seed banks are reserved for seed companies or government agencies.
Individual seed banks were common until the 1920’s, and are on the rise again. It makes a lot of sense to have a local or community seed bank, as the varieties saved are locally adapted and proven producers; poor performers simply aren’t saved. Local knowledge on what grows well is indispensable and is not possible to have at a company or government level except for possibly at the local level, as the time and interest is just not there.
To start saving seeds, they must be clean and dry, free of vegetable matter or mold/mildew.
Most seeds are intuitive to save, just let them dry on the vine/cob/pod and shell or separate the seeds from the husk/cob/pod and you’re done! Some, like tomatoes need a little more work, such as fermenting the gel coat off of the seeds, washing and then drying them.
Start with an easily processed seed to get the feel and see if this is something you want to do. Also, start with saving something that you like and are interested in eating again.
Be warned though, once you start it becomes a bit of an obsession as you realize that you are starting to take control of your food and the future of what you eat! It is a powerful and liberating feeling. You might even become a food rebel!
The Best Ways To Store Cannabis Concentrates And Edibles
You’ve found a particular strain of cannabis that you like. It works for you and you need it in your life—so much so that you’ve gone ahead and bought more than enough concentrates or edibles to last you months—just in case. In hindsight, you might have been a bit hasty.
Now that you’re back at home with your proud purchase, you turn to the refrigerator. Then the cupboard. And the shelf. You look at your collection of lunch boxes. Where are you supposed to store your surplus goods? All of a sudden, life seems complicated. But it doesn’t have to be! Here’s everything you need to know about storing cannabis concentrates and edibles.
RISKS OF NOT STORING YOUR CANNABIS
You’re not just storing cannabis to hide it away from eager friends. Storing cannabis concentrates and edibles is essential for keeping them fresh. Here are some of the risk factors that could affect the beautiful taste or quality of your concentrates when not stored properly:
- Moisture and humidity
- Direct light and excessive sun exposure
- Sources of heat
- Mildew or mould
Cannabis that is left outside can go bad within a few days!
This will differ largely from person-to-person, and there are literally hundreds of opinions on how to best store your cannabis in whatever form it may be. We’ve rounded up the most popular methods that seem to be tried and true. Cannabis can be stored somewhat indefinitely under the right conditions, although the appropriate amount of time will depend mostly on your chosen storage method and the type of product that you are storing.
- Silicone containers: This method is ideal for short-term storage. Try to choose a container that is close in size to the quantity of concentrate that you will be storing. This minimises the risk of moisture buildup.
- Airtight containers: For storing concentrates for up to a month, wrap small quantities in parchment paper and then seal these individually wrapped pieces inside a ziplock food bag. Place this into an airtight container.
- Glass jars: Small glass jars, mason jars, and other glass containers are equally ideal, depending on what you intend to store. Products that don’t stick to glass will work well in vacuum-sealed jars that can be placed in a dry storage area or fridge. If you’re storing shatter that is a bit sticky, wrap it well in parchment paper so it doesn’t stick.
- Freezing: With freezing, you could probably keep concentrates up to one year without significant loss of flavour or quality. However, this will require some caution when preparing the concentrate to be frozen as excess air should be removed to prevent moisture if temperature changes occur. When you remove the concentrate from the freezer, try to defrost it slowly as sudden temperature changes could affect the taste or even ruin your concentrate.
STORAGE OPTIONS FOR EDIBLES
Cannabis edibles tend to store better in the fridge, especially if they are made with components such as oil, sugar, and flour. Edibles are prone to mould and go bad very quickly when left at room temperature, especially since most cannabis edibles don’t contain a lot of preservatives.
If you’re purchasing a commercial cannabis edible product, check the “best before” date and labelling to give you a good idea of what storage will work best. Where possible, try to wrap edibles in wax paper or aluminium foil, as plastic might affect the taste. Place these wrapped edibles in an airtight container and put in the fridge.
Cannabutter can be stored in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container or glass jar. Cannabis-infused cooking oils should be kept in the refrigerator. Make sure not to put cannabis oils in the microwave and always use a low heat for cooking. Following regular food-storage protocol is a good idea with edibles.
- Where possible, avoid transparent containers as cannabis is easily affected by light.
- Avoid plastic bags because, as far as sealing out moisture and air goes, plastic is not the best option. Glass and silicone containers are better.
- Never store cannabis—whether concentrates or edibles—in direct light.
- If you’re wrapping concentrates in parchment paper for storage, make sure to wear gloves to avoid transferring oils and bacteria from your hands.
- The refrigerator is a great place to store edibles, cooking oils, balms, and tinctures. Make sure to keep them out of reach of children!
- Do you open the refrigerator often? Maybe it’s time to invest in a small bar fridge to keep your refrigerated cannabis and edibles stored well and without temperature fluctuations.
- Write the date of packaging on cannabis concentrates and edibles to keep track of how long they have been stored.
- Always buy products from reputable sellers and dispensaries. If they’re handing over the cannabis in a plastic bag or it’s not pre-packaged, be wary of the freshness level.
SIGNS THAT CANNABIS HAS GONE BAD
In case you’re not sure if your cannabis has been stored properly, make sure to check for the following signs that cannabis has gone bad—a phenomenon often referred to as “bunk herb”:
- Condensation droplets in the container
- Signs of mildew and mould
- Cannabis that has lost its smell
- Products that feels brittle, rough, and dry
Storage is a big deal when it comes to cannabis. You want to keep your weed fresh and tasty, whether its edibles, concentrates, or any other form of bud. Stick to the basics of handling your cannabis carefully and follow proper storage guidelines (cool, dry, and dark!), and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Here’s to fresh cannabis!
How to Store Cannabis Oil, Edibles, and Other Products
Share Print Here’s a fun fact for you: a properly made, well stored cannabis tincture has a practically indefinite shelf life. If left undisturbed in an ideal environment, a tincture can last years with little to no degradation whatsoever. On the other hand, even the most expertly crafted cannabis-infused brownie stored under ideal conditions is going to render itself inedible in much less time.
Cannabis-infused products can have vastly differing shelf lives depending on their preparation methods, ingredients used, intended uses, and storage conditions. Where all cannabinoids withstand degradation under similar conditions, many times, infusions involve more volatile and, in some cases, perishable ingredients that can be much more sensitive to compromising elements.
When it comes to storing infusions, there are a few helpful pearls of wisdom that will apply to most scenarios which can greatly improve the longevity of your favorite cannabis creations.
The Best Way to Store Cannabis-Infused Products
Whether it be a tincture, salve, balm, cooking oil, or edible, all cannabinoids will degrade under similarly extreme conditions involving prolonged exposure to heat, light, or oxygen. The first step to storing any infused product is to ensure that all three of these elements are well-controlled.
Cool, dark, and sealed are the three virtues to storing any infusion. When it comes to temperature control, refrigerators are a universal solution for infused products (not for flower, as that can degrade cannabinoids). Virtually any cannabis infusion will experience improved conditions and an elongated shelf life when stored in a refrigerator.
To avoid exposure to light and oxygen, always air seal your infusions in opaque storage containers that let as little light in as possible. If you purchased an infusion from a dispensary or retailer, many times the containers they’re packaged in are adequate for storage. Try to keep all infused products in their original containers, and if you must transfer them, make sure your products are well labeled. Always opt to store your products in glass when storing long-term, as plastic containers or bags may compromise your infusions over time.
The Nuances of Storing Cannabis Oil and Edibles
Proper storage can all but eliminate the degradation of cannabinoids over time. However, not all infusions are created equal, and in almost every scenario, there are other ingredients involved in a product that will play a larger contribution to its expiration date.
Take edibles, for example. Perishability can vary greatly in edible infusions. Breads, pastries, and other baked goods will almost certainly expire sooner than a chocolate or hard candy. Conversely, some cooking oils can last months, or even years if stored properly.
If you’re purchasing an infused product from a dispensary or retailer, always check to see if there is a “best by” date. These typically take into consideration the varying perishability of the ingredients used. Never hesitate to ask your budtender if there’s any other information available pertaining to the storage and shelf life of a product offered. If you’re preparing infusions at home, always keep in mind the perishability of the individual ingredients being used, and take that into consideration when determining a shelf life and storage preference.
Storing Cannabis-Infused Products Long-Term
Aside from refrigerators, freezers can also be a great option when it comes to storing perishable infusions. Not all edible products benefit from the freezer, though with butters, cooking oils, and many other prepared infusions, you can greatly extend the shelf life by freezing and storing them for a longer term.
A great way to store infused cooking oils is to pair them with herbs and freeze them into ice cube trays. Cannabis butters can also be portioned and frozen for long-term storage this way. Even breads and baked goods that would otherwise degrade rapidly under room temperature will last longer if frozen.
Tinctures are high on the list of the longest-lasting orally consumable cannabis-infused products. If stored properly, a well-made tincture can last indefinitely according to author, grower, and cannabis expert Ed Rosenthal in his book “Beyond Buds.” Rosenthal says that amber or blue Boston Round dripper bottles are ideal for storing tinctures, and refrigerators or freezers will vastly reduce any minute degradation that may occur.
It’s important to keep in mind that tinctures prepared with glycerins will degrade and expire much sooner than pure alcohol distillations. An undisturbed, well-stored alcohol infusion can last years or even decades before degrading significantly in any way.
At the end of the day, keeping your cannabis-infused products away from excess light, heat, and air will help to maintain their potency and freshness for longer. Keeping your infusions sealed in a refrigerator or freezer will almost always guarantee a longer shelf life as well.
Not all products are meant to last indefinitely and the perishability of your infusion will almost always depend on other ingredients. Therefore, it’s important always to look for “best by” dates on your purchased products and to store your home creations per their recipe’s recommended conditions.
Ready to bake some infused goodies? Check out all of our infused recipes here!
Patrick lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, where he spends his time writing, photographing, and creating content for the cannabis community.
View Patrick Bennett’s articles
Old Marijuana Edibles: To Eat or Not To Eat?
When stumbling upon a delicious, yet old AF cannabis-infused treat, you need to ask yourself one question: Is this still okay to eat?
It’s always exciting to find something you love and thought lost. Such is the case with edibles. But at what point do they become something you wish you never found in the first place? When stumbling upon a delicious, yet old AF cannabis-infused treat, you need to ask yourself one question: Is this still okay to eat?
Edibles differ from smoking in many ways, from when you get high to the duration of the high to the quality of the high. To simplify: it takes around an hour for an edible to kick in, it can last anywhere from four to 12 hours depending on potency, and the high itself is intense in its own way. Some people see minor tracers with edibles or feel utterly euphoric. Pay attention though — overdoing it on edibles can be a miserable, bedridden mess.
RELATED: 8 Things You Need To Know About Eating Marijuana Edibles
The basic rule is to treat edibles like any other food items. If it has dairy in it and has been left out for more than a few days, you’ll want to smell it before taking a chance and even that’s not foolproof.
If it’s vegan and made with a stable oil like coconut, it’s more likely to still be good, though it may have gone a little stale.
The best thing to do with edibles when you get them is to put them in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how many you have and how long you want them to keep. Generally, a dairy filled goodie will last around a week in the fridge, while you can keep many edibles for up to six months in the freezer.
Maybe even more than spoilage, however, you’re wondering about the potency of the edible and if it’s going to hold its mettle. The answer is a resounding yes. Some people even claim on social threads that the edibles they have get more potent the longer they go without being eaten.
RELATED: Are Marijuana Edibles Better For Your Brain Than Smoking?
Hard candies and gummies likely last the longest without refrigeration or freezing. The gummies might lose their chewiness over time, but they’re not likely to spoil. Hard candies are the edible to stock up on if you’re going on a trip where you can’t be smoking, but still want to be elevated.
For the most part, you’re just going to be using common sense with the aging edibles. If you see any mold? Toss it and get or make some more. If it’s stale? That’s you and your palate’s call.
Remember to do the smell test if they’ve been sitting out and keep others preserved with the cold. Bon appetit!