First Things First: Clean Your Bud
Portions excerpted and revised from The 420 Gourmet, The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine by JeffThe420Chef (Harper Wave, 2016)
Cooking with cannabis is both an art and a science. The art is in cooking and baking food so that it tastes and looks great. The science is in choosing the right strain of cannabis to achieve your desired results and then dosing your edibles properly. Bring them both together, and you’ve got yourself a successful edible experience.
As you begin your journey cooking with cannabis, it’s essential to know and understand the ingredient with which you are working. Knowledge of the herb itself is a good place to start, along with details about the various strains and their effects. Having a handle on this information will allow you to have a safe, enjoyable edible experience.
Cannabis is a complex herb and there are certain important elements and compounds to consider when cooking with it. Trichomes are the beautiful crystal-like resin glands you see on your flower or “bud.” Trichomes are also hydrophobic and cannot be washed off the plant—and that’s lucky for us, because this is where the cannabis plant stores all of its THC and CBD. Terpenes and flavonoids are responsible for variations in the plant’s smell and flavor profile, and they also have certain medicinal properties of their own.
Along with THC and CBD, terpenes and flavonoids contribute to the overall effect of a strain. Though they are the lesser-known compounds within cannabis plants, researchers are uncovering the increasingly important role they play alongside the more popular elements of THC and CBD. When cooking and baking with cannabis, it is also critically important to know the percentage of THC and CBD in the flower (or bud) you are using to infuse your butters and oils. If you shop at a reputable dispensary or health center, they will be able to give you this information. You can only dose your edibles properly if you know the potency of the herb you are working with.
Start with clean ingredients. The same way you need to wash your herbs, fruits and vegetables prior to eating or cooking with them, you need to clean your cannabis. Cannabis is an aggregator plant meaning that it absorbs everything from its environment. A lot depends on where you purchased your bud, how it was grown, handled, transported and packaged. It can contain numerous contaminants including insects, their eggs and dropping, mold, fungus, microbes and bacteria. Imagine what may be lurking in your cannabutter or cannaoil if you just throw the bud in a crock pot of butter making machine without cleaning it. So how do you clean your bud? I’m glad you asked. Cleaning your cannabis takes a little time, but it’s time well spent. It’s fairly simple but takes a few days. Check out the sidebar to learn how.
When it comes to enjoying a full 420 meal and/or more than one mouthwatering edible, I have found that “low dosing” THC is the key. Low dosing means that you use less THC-infused butter or oil for each recipe, which allows you to enjoy safely more of the great-tasting food that you make.
Regardless of your edible goals, make sure you clean your bud and know the potency and purported effects of the strain of cannabis you are planning to cook with. The more you know, the better your experience and intended outcome will be.
- Pick the buds off the stem.
- In a French Press Completely immerse the buds and stems in distilled water and soak for up to 3 days.
- Change the water twice a day until the water in the French press is clear.
- Bring a pot of distilled water to a boil.
- Transfer the herb from the French Press to a tea strainer.
- Place the tea strainer in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea strainer and place in a bowl of ice water for 1 minute to cool.
- Remove from the ice water and pour distilled water over the tea strainer to rinse out any residual impurities.
- Remove the herb from the strainer and place in a salad spinner.
- Spin for about 30 seconds to remove excess water.
Dry and Decarb
- Preheat oven to 240º F.
- Spread the cannabis evenly over a large baking sheet and place a large piece of light aluminum foil loosely over the top of it. Crimp the edges to keep in any odor.
- Bake for 60 to 90 minutes until completely dry.
- Your bud is now clean and ready for infusion into your butter, oil, alcohol or vegetable glycerin.