The legalization of cannabis has encouraged more people to grow and use their own products. With some states raising red flags about CBD edibles, more customers are heading to the kitchen to prepare their own the way they want.
There’s little risk in cooking with CBD. It’s hard to overdose. But the CBD comes in strengths and smacking of flavors and aromas, so you should plan on your recipe and the ingredients called for.
Too much CBD won’t kill you, but it could ruin your recipe. You don’t want to be tasting the CBD, so you should start small and build on your strengths. As you know, CBD occurs in a ratio with THC in various cannabis strains.
Once you find the ratio you enjoy, you can build your recipes on that hybrid. Any recipe works better when the ingredients are fresh so you should not approach your CBD cupboard to get rid of aging flowers. Start with top-of-the-line ingredients, and your results will taste better.
But before you start cooking
CBD does not trigger a brain high. It is not the psychoactive element in cannabis. But people have created a high demand for its medicinal benefits. For those unwilling and unable to smoke or vape, CBD edibles offer a great option.
The chemical structure of CBD makes it lipid-soluble. That makes it easy to work into fatty bases like butter and oils. These derivatives then work into any recipe calling for fats. Everyone’s familiar with the cannabis-based cookies and brownies. New marketing campaigns are promoting cannabis beverages, wines, and beers. But, the average cook in the average kitchen will work cannabis into sauces, dressings, soups, smoothies, and more.
♦ Decarboxylation: CBD is not CBD until it is heated. So, you must pay attention to the temperature. Too much heat will damage the terpenes and health benefits. You shouldn’t use it in a frying pan and walk away. You must monitor the temperature because the CBD will break down above 200°F. To protect it and improve your cooking, you should cook low and slow.
So, let’s back up a bit. CBD starts as CBDA, an acid. You must decarboxylate the natural raw product to activate the CBD. The high temperature in smoking and vaping will pull decarboxylation off with their combustion as the flame consumes the carbon. Some recipes might have the same effect on raw marijuana, but it’s easier and smarter to work with a decarboxylated product from the beginning.
To decarboxylate, you grind raw flowers and place the grind on a cookie sheet and bake for one hour at 110-120°F.
♦ Grinding: When you grind your flowers extra fine, it will leach into the preparation and other ingredients to enrich the weed taste. If you grind into pieces instead of powder, the taste will be lighter and subtler.
There are amateur ways to grind with kitchen utensils, but good cannabis grinders are cheap enough to buy and use. A grinder is easy to use and more efficient. You don’t overfill it or put the flower in the middle. You will produce more powder than you might expect, so it makes sense to produce what you need at the time.
With a three-chamber, you simply twist the grinder until there is no more resistance. Your product should be ready, and kief will have dropped into the bottom chamber. That kief will contain a lot of THC which you can put aside for other uses.
♦ Oil: Recipes will call for CBD-infused oil, and there are several ways to create it. It is an extraction process, and some methods use alcohol to breakdown the cannabis plant material. But you might start with the oil method.
You grind the trim, leaves, and stems of high-quality, high-CBD flowers and decarboxylate the results. Using a Mason jar, you add the grind to your favorite oil. You can use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but you might prefer canola oil, almond oil or coconut oil, each of which has other health benefits.
Once the product has soaked in the oil for some time, you pour it into the top of a double boiler over the bottom with simmering water. You let it process for 2-3 hours under a close watch and with frequent stirring. You are waiting for it to develop a dark brownish color.
Using cheesecloth, you strain the oil into another container, repeating the straining until you have separated the cannabis debris from the oil. You can then store it in bottles or jars of your choice in a cool dark place. You can brew several types using different strains and different base oils and label them for storage before use in recipes, salad dressings, and marinades.
♦ Butter: Almost every recipe calls for butter, especially baking assignments. And, you can also spread it on bread, crackers, and more. You prepare as you did with the oil process to grind and decarboxylate to produce 1 cup of cannabis.
You melt a cup of butter with a cup of water in a saucepan over low heat. Adding more water will not hurt the butter and it will prevent scorching. Once the butter has melted, you stir in your cannabis. You occasionally stir the mixture simmering at 160°F for 2-3 hours without letting it boil.
Using the same cheesecloth method, you strain the butter mixture into clean jars after it has cooled. Labeling the jar with details about strain and CBD concentration, you can refrigerate it until used.
Your pantry’s stocked
With CBD oil and cannabutter at hand, you can cook to your heart’s desire. Beyond this, it takes some patience and some trial and error. You should start small to find the taste you want in oil and butter. And, you should begin with small batch recipes to see if it works.
You want to check how it affects moisture and texture in the edibles you prepare. And, you want to check how it affects the taste. For example, you don’t want the cannabis taste to override the chocolate in brownies. You can invest in a good cookbook for beginners.
You might try Aaron and Eva Hammond’s The Vegan Cannabis Cookbook, Cheri Sicard’s The Easy Cannabis Cookbook, or Cedella Marley and Raquel Pelzel’s Cooking with Herb. You have only to remember you want to focus on CBD dominant strains and CBD medical benefits.