Cooking with Cannabis: Guide to Baking with Cannabis
There's a new ingredient being used across kitchens in America: cannabis. As recreational and medical marijuana programs are expanded at the state level, more home cooks and trained chefs are incorporating cannabis into their cuisines. If you want to learn more about cooking with marijuana basics, here’s a quick guide to help you out.
Select Your Base Ingredients
Anyone who has spent time in the kitchen knows that not all butters and oils are created equal -- the same goes for flower! When gathering your ingredients, think about how they will impact your finished dish, as well as what you can store and use again later.
- Cannabutter: choose a butter with a high fat content, as this will help it better absorb the cannabinoids. And remember to use butter, not margarine!
- Cannaoil: Select a cooking oil that pairs with what you are making: coconut oil can be used for cooking and baking, while olive or avocado oils tend to be more savory.
Before you start cooking or baking with cannabis, it’s a good idea to do some flower research. Determining what flavors you enjoy and your desired effects can help ensure you create an edible that not only tastes good but feels good, too.
Making Cannaoil and Cannabutter
The most common way to cook with cannabis is to use cannabutter or cannaoil. Once you have infused butter or oil prepped, you can use it as a substitute in recipes where you’d normally use oil or butter to make marijuana edibles.
Here are the basic steps involved in the infusion process:
- Pick your Flower: The first step to cooking with cannabis is to pick your flower based on what you want out of your edibles. When you look at dispensary product menus, you’ll see a variety of strains in indica, sativa, and hybrid, available as premium, popcorn, or shake flower. This can be intimidating! If you need help, the dispensary budtenders are there for guidance.
- Decarboxylate the Marijuana: Once you’ve got the right flower, it’s time to decarboxylate (or decarb) the marijuana. This refers to the process of heating flower to activate the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.). Without it, your infused dishes won’t allow diners to experience the plant’s unique effects. Need help? Check out our guide to decarboxylating flower.
- Grind the Flower: Once decarboxylated, you will need to grind your flower into a fine powder. While some people use a clean coffee grinder or scissors, it’s best to use an herb grinder to get a consistent grind. These grinders are affordable and easy to use.
- Infuse with Your Ingredients: When infusing cooking oil or butter with cannabis, remember to use low heat and take your time. You’ll want to ensure the entire contents of the pan are infused with flower.
- Strain & Store: After you’ve infused your oil or butter with marijuana, it’s time to strain out the flower so you’re left with an infused product with a smooth consistency. You can use a fine mesh strainer to do this, but you may end up with small bits of leaves and buds in your finished product. Using a cheesecloth is a good way to make sure you get all the chunks out for a smooth, consistent product.
Once you have your finished cannabutter or cannaoil, store it in the refrigerator for all your cooking and baking needs.
Cannabis Baking Options
Because cannabis has a naturally earthy flavor, it can be challenging to create edibles that suit your palette. Of course, some flavor combinations lend themselves to this earthy essence, but it may involve some trial and error in order to get it right.
Some of the most popular recipes for cooking with cannabis include:
- Marijuana Brownies
- Cannaoil Vinaigrette
- Cannabis-Infused BBQ Condiments
- Pineapple Express Upside Down Cake
- Marijuana Mac and Cheese
The Do’s and Don’ts
As is the case with anything, there are rules to follow if you want to make cannabutter or cannaoil correctly. First and foremost, start with the right flower. Here are some of the other do’s and don’ts of cooking with cannabis:
- Use high-quality butter or oil to start
- Keep your butter or oil at a consistent temperature
- Cook your butter or oil for 2 - 3 hours
- Choose quality flower that offers the effects you desire
- Place cannabutter or cannaoil in the fridge as soon as it’s strained
- Rush the process
- Skip decarboxylation
- Overcook butter or oil
Common Questions About Baking with Cannabis
Why is my cannabutter green?
It’s perfectly normal for your cannabutter or cannaoil to have a green tint to it, as the cannabis flower is also green. The more flower you use in your recipe, the greener it will look.
Will my edibles taste like marijuana?
That depends on the recipe and the amount of cannabutter or cannaoil you use. A simple brownie recipe could have a cannabis taste to it. (Which is not always a bad thing!) A good way to avoid it, though, is to use a flavorful recipe to mask the marijuana taste.
What happens if I want to bake with raw marijuana flower?
It may seem much easier to sprinkle popcorn flower into your batter, but if you don’t decarboxylate the cannabis then you will just be eating edibles with chunks of plants in it. Decarboxylation is how the cannabinoids (like THC) are activated to give the edibles the effects you want.
Storing Your Cannabis Creations
You can store your edibles for a while after you bake them, but it’s important that you do it the right way. Both your cannabutter (or cannaoil) and edibles should be stored in an airtight, food-safe container. If the recipe you’re making is typically stored in the fridge after baking, make sure you store your edibles in the fridge to keep them safe as long as possible. Of course, keep your edibles stowed securely away from your pets and little ones, and always label them accordingly.
Cooking with cannabis is as easy as that. With a few simple tools and a bit of time, you can make your own edibles at home.
Once you’ve made your cannabutter or cannaoil, you may add it to your favorite recipes. Some of the most popular recipe ideas for baking with cannabis include brownies and cookies, but you can use cannabutter or cannaoil in place of butter or oil in any recipe.
Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.
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