Edibles are one of the most popular ways of enjoying cannabis. In addition to providing a stronger, longer-lasting high it tastes good and fills you up. While there are excellent companies in DC that can provide professionally made edibles nothing quite compares to good old home-cooking. There’s something about having baked and fixed up something for yourself or your friends, in your own home, that adds an ephemeral but delicious quality to whatever you are tasting. So if you want to enjoy your own home-cooked edibles, enjoy the act of cooking yourself, or want to feed your (knowing) friends, here are some tips to keep in mind when cooking with cannabis.
1- The Right Cannabis in the Right Amount
Perhaps one of, if not the most important part of cooking with cannabis is of course the cannabis itself. Before you start cooking anything you should know the ingredients you want to work with. How to bring out the best qualities of the ingredient. How not to waste an ingredient. What does it taste like, especially when mixed with something else. In cannabis’ case it also means knowing how potent the cannabis strain or product is before you cook with it.
Knowing a strain or product’s potency can have a massive effect on how to divide it into doses. It is all too easy to have a bad experience because you misjudged or were unaware of a strain’s strength or a product’s concentration of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. This is not helped by the fact that edibles can take much longer to take effect compared to other methods of enjoying cannabis. Thus people assume the edible has had no effect and carelessly consume more than they should, leading to far more powerful trips than they were looking for.
Make sure to start small with small portions. Perhaps try a half-dose within an edible, wait about 45 minutes to an hour before considering taking the rest of the dose if you even need to.
When picking the strain to cook with, smell the flowers of the plant. If possible smell the flowers of different strains. Whichever flower smells best to you could be your body letting you know what terpenes it is hankering for. Also make sure to keep in mind the strain’s effects and the kind of effect you want to experience with your edibles. Do not use more than one strain in your edible and if sharing it with others do serve your edible responsibly.
Also be sure to taste the cannabis. See if it has the flavor you are looking for to go with what you intend to cook. It would be a waste for you to go through all the time, money, and work of cooking only for the final product to taste terrible.
2- Clean Your Cannabis
Cooking cannabis into food is not a simple matter of mixing weed with butter or oil. A great deal of preparation is needed to bring the best out of the plant, not waste your cannabis, and not create something disgusting you will have to throw into the garbage. One of those steps is cleaning and blanching your cannabis.
Most of the time the cannabis you will be cooking with is still dirty with substances including insecticides, fungicides, and natural chlorophyll to name a few. All these impurities are neither good for you nor tasty for you.
For the cleaner and tastier edibles clean your cannabis by soaking it in distilled water for approximately 3 days. Make sure you change out the water every 12 hours. Afterwards you should blanche the now-cleansed plants in boiling water for 5 minutes. Follow the boiling water with 1 minute in ice water.
After your cannabis has been cleaned do not grind or cut it. Though there are many recipes that call for grinding weed ultra-fine but the result will just be tiny, gritty flakes throughout whatever you make. Break the cannabis by hand into pieces large enough to still be caught in a strainer or cheesecloth.
The most common mistake made by first-time cannabis cookers is forgetting to decarboxylate. Remember that marijuana is more commonly smoked than eaten. While full of THCA and enough (400) vitamins, acids, and essential oils to be considered a superfood, raw marijuana is non-psychoactive. It needs to be burned or heated up for the plant’s true effects to be unlocked. THC’s boiling point is at 314ºF. If you heat cannabis too high for too long you reduce its potency.
According to Chef Coreen you should preheat your oven to 275ºF (140ºC). Line parchment paper in your pan. Cut your cannabis flowers (all of one strain) into smalle, pea-sized pieces then put them on the parchment-lined pan. Bake for 20 minutes. When decarboxylating do not go below 240ºF and try not to go past 295ºF. Certainly do not past 300ºF. Try to use all parts of the flower- bud, stems, shake- so long as they are all of one strain there should not be a problem. This is to prevent waste.
Next comes the portion where you convert cannabis into something that can be incorporated into baking. Butter. Or ‘cannabutter’ to be more precise. Though the methods for creating cannabutter are many- including some that take 8 hours- The Cannabist cites this as the best method:
Bring a quart of water to boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the water has reached boiling you then add sticks of butter. Allow them to melt completely. Once the butter has melted you add the cannabis and reduce the heat to simmer. Always make sure the marijuana is floating 1.5 to 2 inches above the bottom of the pan. Over the course of three hours the butter should cook at low heat with the mixture getting thick at the top. Once that step is completed put the mixture into a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze out the remaining liquid butter. Let the liquid butter cool for an hour, let it sit in the fridge. It should only stay in the fridge until the butter’s texture and consistency are that of a spread.
5- Too Hot
As you might infer from section 3-Decarboxylate it is important you don’t expose the cannabis to too much heat. This also applies when cooking with it. Do not cook it too close to 366ºF (186ºC) as otherwise that will burn the THC thus reduce its potency.
We hope these tips are useful in getting you started on cooking with cannabis.
What have been your experiences cooking with cannabis? What techniques and recipes have you enjoyed with positive results.