Do you love cooking and also love cannabis? Well, good news! Today we’ll show you how to combine both of these things by imbuing your favorite foods with the complex flavors of hemp and marijuana.
Some people may not think of cannabis as having rich culinary applications and only see cooking with the plant as a means to an end.
However, cannabis brings a lot more to a dish than just psychoactive cannabinoids.
What Does Cannabis Taste Like?
You already use plenty of herbs in your cooking, so why would cannabis be any different? Just like bay leaves, thyme, or oregano, marijuana and hemp have their own distinct flavors that can add a little extra something to your mealtime.
Upon first tasting cannabis flower, one immediately notices a robust earthiness, somewhat akin to freshly picked mushrooms. Underneath that, a green vegetal flavor reminiscent of leafy salad greens brightens up your palate. There may also be subtle hints of fruit and citrus, which get complimented nicely by a trace of mild bitterness and surprising black pepper-esque spice.
The exact taste of cannabis will heavily depend on which strain you’re using. They say smell is 80% of what we taste, and cannabis undoubtedly has a pungent aroma. That quintessential weed smell comes from terpenes — little aromatic molecules responsible for the fragrances found in nature. Cannabis, in particular, contains an incredibly wide and diverse array of these terpenes.
Current research suggests that terpenes may have their own health benefits and may play a significant role in determining the effects produced by cannabis consumption. As we’ve learned more about terpenes, cultivators have made a point of cross-breeding plants in hopes of achieving specific terpene profiles. As a result, there’s more terpene diversity in cannabis than ever before.
So what does that mean for your dinner preparations? If the cannabis strain you’re using has a high caryophyllene content, for example, then your bud will have a spicier, more peppery flavor. If it’s higher in limonene, then the cannabis will have a fruiter, almost sour taste.
Learning more about terpenes will help hone your cannabis culinary craft as it gives the chef more control over the flavor of the final product.
How To Make Cannabis-Infused Spices
These delicious flavors are all present in raw, untreated cannabis. However, without doing a little prep work first, there will be little in the way of recreational or therapeutic effects. You may be surprised to learn that the cannabinoids CBD and THC aren’t naturally present in most forms of cannabis.
Instead, raw cannabis flower typically has more of the acidic forms of these compounds, CBDA and THCA. In order to unlock the full potential of cannabis, the CBDA or THCA needs to get converted into CBD or THC. This happens when flower is exposed to heat, which is why smoking or vaping cannabis doesn’t require users to first activate the cannabinoids.
Decarboxylation, sometimes shortened to decarbing, refers to a process by which CBDA and THCA are converted to regular ole CBD and THC. The first step of making cannabis cooking oils and spices will also be to decarb the bud so that the effects will be activated.
This can be done in either a Sous Vide or in an oven using a baking sheet. The key to decarboxylation is balance. You want enough heat to fully activate the flower, but not so much that it damages the cannabis.
With the oven method, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, then use a grinder to break apart the flower. Sandwich the ground cannabis between two sheets of foil, and bake for around 45 minutes.
Everyone’s oven will be a little different, so be sure to keep an eye on it. If it starts to turn brown, or you smell burning, go ahead and lower the temperature.
Once you’ve successfully decarbed your ground flower, you can easily combine it with other spices to create an infused spice blend. Combine equal parts dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil, and decarbed ground cannabis to create an Italian seasoning that packs a cannabinoid punch. This is perfect for making pasta sauces, or on top of salads.
Also, consider combining your decarbed flower with spices such as: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, and paprika to create a delicious infused taco seasoning that will take Tuesdays to the next level.
Once you’ve decarbed your flower, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to get creative when creating your own infused spice blends—coming up with new recipes is all part of the fun! Shout us out on Twitter or Instagram and share your creations with us!