So, you have discovered cannabis. You have smoked it, vaped it, maybe even used it externally. Now you want to cook with it. Perfectly natural. Except that it is not so easy. There are a few things you need to do when preparing cannabis for cooking. And a few common mistakes you can easily avoid.

YOU CANNOT COOK WITH RAW CANNABIS!

The number one mistake of newbies? Assuming that you can use raw cannabis.

Wrong.

The first thing you must do if cooking with cannabis is to activate the THC and/or CBD. And that requires heat. The process you will use to do this is called decarboxylation. This is what will give your edibles the “buzz” you want. Beyond that, however, raw cannabis placed directly into recipes will not allow the range of cannabinoids found in the plant to activate and bind to fat. You will just be wasting cannabis, in other words. And who wants that?

Decarboxylation is a simple process. All you have to do is grind your cannabis and place it on a cookie sheet. Then pop it in the oven between 110°C and 120°C and roast for 1 hour.

If making cannabutter, remember you will have to keep the temperature low and steady for an extended period of time. This is why slow cookers are so good for making cannabutter. You may also want to decarboxylate your bud before adding it to the fat.

Raw Cannabis Bud For Cooking

SET YOUR COOKING TEMPERATURE & COOK TIME CAREFULLY

Whether you are decarboxylating your ground cannabis in an oven or in the fat itself, there is one rule you cannot break; extracting cannabinoids is a time and temperature sensitive process.

You must preheat your oven. You should also make sure to mix the bud every 10 minutes.

When infusing your ground cannabis in butter/oil, set a low temperature (between 160-200°C). Use a thermometer to check the temperature. You will need to cook your fat for about three hours.

DO NOT GRIND YOUR CANNABIS TOO FINE

While some canna-chefs recommend grinding cannabis with a food processor or coffee grinder, you might want to reconsider. Pulverising the bud gives edibles a strong grassy flavour. It also causes your butter or oil to turn green.

Instead, use a course grinder so that your buds have at least the consistency of table salt.

DO NOT SPEND HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY ON YOUR COOKING BUD

A little goes a long way. Many novices waste lots of bud when they start experimenting in the kitchen.

In general, you do not need a huge amount of cannabis to create the punch you are looking for. Check out this cannabutter recipe to get an idea of how much you should be using.

Also, remember that you do not have to use just the primo bud. You can also extract cannabinoids from shake, stems, leaves, and trim. Shake is the leftover pieces at the bottom of your bag that frequently contain a mix of several kinds of cannabis. Commercial kitchens, especially in the United States, frequently use mixed bud for their cooking. If you can find it, consider this option. Save the primo stuff for smoking!

ADD WATER WHEN INFUSING OIL OR BUTTER

While some purists will tell you this is hearsay, adding water to your infusing process is a nifty trick. This way, you can infuse at a lower temperature. The amount of water you add is not important, but try to use at least as much water as oil or butter. The water boils off. You can also see the difference in your “washed” end product. It is not as green.

DON’T GO FOR EVERY LAST DROP OF THE INFUSION

When straining cannabis oil after infusing it, go slow and be careful. Cheesecloth is the best strainer to use. It only allows the oil through. However, while many people will then squeeze the remaining oil out of the leaves, be careful. If you squeeze too hard, you will get extra plant material. Instead, be gentle and let gravity do the work for you.

TEST POTENCY OF INFUSIONS BEFORE COOKING

Cooking at home with cannabis does not have to be a game of Russian Roulette. It is important, especially if trying a new recipe, to test the octane! Check out how strong your infused oil is on yourself. Just take a small teaspoon of your newly infused fat as a personal dose. Wait an hour. This will help you determine how strong the batch is. Then use accordingly.

Another alternative is to add it as a topping or drizzle over a recipe at first. This is a very easy way to control dosage and gauge the effects.

Cooking With Cannabutter

STIR YOUR RECIPE - VERY WELL

If adding infused oil or butter to a recipe, you will also need to make sure it is distributed evenly throughout. Otherwise, some people will feel nothing and others may end up in space.

Stir your recipe. And then stir again.

COOKING WITH CONCENTRATES IS A DIFFERENT ANIMAL

Cooking with premade concentrates is also an art that takes a little practice to get right. Cooking with kief is fun and easy. Its fine texture dissolves almost instantly in liquids and fats, sometimes even at room temperature. Hash, however, will take a little preparation, and this also depends on its consistency. Dry hash can be put in a food processor to grind it. The sticky variety needs to be heated until it melts.

IGNORING PORTION SIZES

This can be a tough one, especially with a favourite recipe. Be disciplined.

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