Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff
So what happens if you wind up too wet? This is my second harvest and I picked my Centennials last week. I got 13 oz wet and they've been on a window screen over a box fan in the basement for the last week. I wound up with a little under 4 oz dry and that's around 30% of the original mass. I thought that was within reason and have already vac-packed and tossed in the freezer then of course started to research what they should have been.
I guess I'm a little surprised they only got down to 30% with a week over the air. I had them single layer and enough air movement to jostle them around with them blowing everywhere.
Am I screwed? I'm planning to pick my Cascades this weekend.
Your problem with measurement is that you don't know the %water in the freshly picked hop. If they are more dry than 80%water, then they will reduce less when 10%water when properly dry (example; 8-12% is good). The better way to know the moisture content for storage does not require the fresh-picked weight: if you have a sensitive and accurate scale - one that can repeatably weigh to 0.1g precision and is accurate....
1) take a small paper bag and run it 5s in a microwave to dry it. It should feel really dry, possibly hot, not steamy. Run it briefly again if needed. Tare it on the scale after drying. Bag must be dry when tared.....
2) weigh out ~10.0g of your "dry" hops into the tared bag and record this weight. see note about "10.0g" below.....
3) hit it ~2 or 3x for 5 sec in the microwave, removing and "airing-out" after each pulse to feel the temp and observed "dryness" - careful not to set on fire!!!! After the first pulse it may seem moist and steamy. Then it will seem toasty dry and hot. Let it air out briefly and hit it one more time. Now it is totally bone dry - assume 0% moisture.
4)Weigh it again now and record the weight. If it was 10.0g and is 9.0g now, then it WAS 10% moisture level at the start, and safe to pack. Note that it is not necessary to start with exactly 10.0g; hop cones are somewhat quantized; 11.3g will be just fine!
((orig weight - bone-dry-weight)/original weight) x 100 = %moisture
Please be really careful with microwave not to set it on fire - use brief bursts on low power. The hops may not be good after this treatment so consider it destructive. If you have a sensitive scale and can accept a lower accuracy, just use 1.0g sample to start; at 9.0g final it is 10% moisture (not 10.0%....), but since 9%, or 11%, may be fine, that's all you need; just make sure you get then to about 10% and that the ones you tested are truly representative of you bulk batch you are checking.