We've all got that friend who spends tons of time and money on his grow just to screw it up in the end and have a harvest that smells like hay. He's got the most expensive bulbs, nutrients, environmental controllers, and crushes it on his yield. But, at the end of the day drying and curing is an art and your friend probably isn't an artist.
So, why does his produce smell like hay? The reason is usually because he is excited to sell it all and get the money back that he dumped into his grow, so he dries it quickly with fans and a dehumidifier. A simple solution to this is, you guessed it! Turn off the fans and turn down the dehumidifier so it can dry slower!
Another reason is he didn't purchase his Happy Hydro Curved Tip Trimming Scissors so his trim job has a lot of leaf left. That leaf isn't doing anyone any favors, especially himself if he is trying to keep that hay smell away!
You want your produce to take about 5-7 days to dry while hanging on the stem. You don't want it to get any dryer in that room than 65% relative humidity. Also, you want it dark! Sunlight will cause oxidation and degradation of your favorite plant.
So, your room is dark and the dehumidifier is set to 65%. Your RH (relative humidity) meter is reading 65% and it is now day 5. Your produce has gotten crispy on the outside and you think it's ready! Guess what!? It's not. There is still moisture inside of the stem and middle of the fruit. But, when you bend the stem it snaps a little bit which lets you know, it's time to trim the fruit off of the stem.
This is where it gets a little tricky, and becomes a bit of an art form. I recommend purchasing a small RH meter that can fit inside your jars. Always cure in glass jars, for real. You can buy 2.5 gallon glass jars for $7-$10 from Walmart and they work great.
Put your fruit in jars, put a RH meter inside the jar, and seal it shut. Let it sit for at least 12 hours and come back and check the humidity. If the humidity is reading above 70% take your produce out of the jars and let it sit out for 6-7 hours to dry a bit further and put it back in. Once your RH is down to 65% you are good to keep the produce in the jars while opening them once a day for 15 minutes.
After about a week longer, the RH will be at 62% which is ideal! At this point you can crack the jars once a week or so to continue the curing process. After another two weeks you will have the ripest tomatoes on the block. I mean, your friend will have the ripest tomatoes on the block, errr not as ripe as yours, but still pretty ripe.