Top 10 Mistakes Rookies Make When Cooking Edibles
Whether you’re new to making edibles or you’ve never quite gotten it right, we examine the typical mistakes people make when cooking with weed. Read on to right your wrongs and head towards a world of culinary cannabis delights.
There are so many inventive ways to enjoy cannabis, and edibles is one of our favourites. We run through some of the most common mistakes to avoid below, so you can make delicious, potent edibles every time.
1. COOKING WITH RAW CANNABIS
The number one mistake newbies make? Trying to use raw cannabis.
Heat is necessary to activate the THC and/or CBD in cannabis, via a process known as decarboxylation. While it sounds complicated, it is actually quite simple. Start by preheating your oven to 110–120°C. Now, spread your ground weed on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven for around 1 hour. Make sure to stir the bud AT LEAST every 15 minutes—you want to activate the compounds, not burn them.
When making cannabutter, remember you will have to keep the temperature low and steady for an extended period, which slow cookers are perfect for (if you have one).
Remember: You MUST decarboxylate your bud before adding it to fat.
2. GRINDING YOUR CANNABIS TOO FINE
While some canna chefs recommend grinding cannabis with a food processor or coffee grinder, there are convincing reasons not to. Pulverising the bud gives edibles a grassy flavour you may not enjoy, and it can cause your butter or oil to turn a dark shade of green. Instead, use a coarse grinder—ideally you’re looking for the consistency of coarse salt.
3. SPENDING 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.
Unlike smoking, you aren’t just looking to use the primo bud. You can also extract valuable cannabinoids from shake, stems, leaves, and trim. Shake is the leftover pieces at the bottom of your bag that frequently contains a mix of several kinds of cannabis. Commercial kitchens, especially in the United States, often use mixed bud for their cooking, so if you can find it, consider this option. Save the prime stuff for smoking.
4. FORGETTING TO ADD WATER TO YOUR OIL OR BUTTER
While some purists will tell you this is hearsay, adding water to your infusion is a nifty trick. This way, your butter/oil won’t burn and your cannabinoids won’t degrade. There is no exact amount of water to add, 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.
5. SQUEEZING OUT EVERY LAST DROP OF THE INFUSION
After infusing cannabutter, you’ll need to slowly and carefully strain it. As with many things in the kitchen, cheesecloth is the most ideal filter as it only lets the oil through. Be careful not to squeeze too hard because you might end up with excess plant material in your mix. Instead, be gentle and let it filter over a bowl so gravity does the work for you.
6. NOT TESTING THE POTENCY OF YOUR INFUSION BEFORE COOKING
Cooking at home with cannabis does not have to be a game of Russian roulette. It is crucial, especially if trying a new recipe, to test the octane. Check out how potent your infusion is before you cook.
Take a small teaspoon of your newly enriched fat as a personal dose. Wait an hour and gauge the effects. This will help you determine how strong the batch is.
Another alternative is to add your infusion as a topping or drizzle over a recipe at first. This is an effortless way to control the dose and gauge the effects when taken with food, and to determine how long it takes to kick in.
7. FAILING TO STIR AND DISTRIBUTE
When 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.
8. NOT KNOWING HOW TO INCORPORATE CONCENTRATES
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. A sticky variety needs to be heated until it melts.
Keep in mind that cannabis concentrates are stronger than regular bud, so you will need comparatively less to achieve the same potency. This is especially true with modern concentrates like waxes, oils, etc.
9. IGNORING PORTION SIZE
When it comes to knowing how potent your edibles are, it’s crucial to calculate the doses. On average, most bud today contains between 15–20% THC, but what does this mean when you’re cooking with it?
If we lived in a world where 100% of the THC from the plant is transferred to your edibles, a strain with 20% THC would break down like this:
1 gram of bud = 1000mg dry weight = 200mg THC
So, if you were making a beginner’s sized edible (usually between 5 and 10mg per edible), then 1 gram of herb would make you 20 edibles. But, we don’t live in a world of 100% transfer—instead, you can expect around 50% transfer. So, to make 20 edibles from a 20% THC herb, you’re going to need 2 grams of bud.
10. IGNORING STRAIN CHOICE
In precisely the same way as when you’re smoking it, different strains promote different effects. While this has a bit to do with the genetics of the plant (indica vs sativa), you’ll find that specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles play the largest role here.
Terpenes are responsible for the flavours and aromas of a plant. As we learn more about cannabis, we’re discovering that terpenes also play a massive part in the herb’s effects too.
The entourage effect is a phenomenon of chemical synergy that occurs between various cannabis compounds when ingested together. This applies to THC, CBD, terpenes, as well as the other myriad compounds in the plant.
Depending on the effect you’re looking for, one of the four strains below is a great place to start when making edibles:
• High in THC for a strong effect: Royal Gorilla
A 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid, Royal Gorilla features a pinene-dominated terpene profile, which translates to a cerebral high alongside a relaxing physical effect that puts the entire body at ease. Featuring THC levels at or above 25%, this strain is not to be underestimated! Dose with caution.
Cooking with cannabis is fun, rewarding, and, of course, delicious. But it can take a bit of practice to get things right. Here are some things to look out for.
If you consume cannabis, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes you’re left with a lot of scraps. There are the stems, dust and leaves stuck in your grinder or rolling tray, the post-vape plant material from your vaporizer, cannabis pulp left over from making edibles—there’s even that little bit of extract that gets stuck to the inside of your concentrate container.
For many of us who hate to throw away this precious medicine, we wonder about what to do with these remnants. Luckily, cannabis consumers have spent a lot of time figuring out how to recycle these scraps. So, check out these three ways to use your cannabis scraps instead of just throwing them away.
1. Turn Cannabis Crumbs Into an Edible Base
There are all kinds of cannabis crumbs that may come from:
- Little bits of bud
Cannabis consumers usually find these crumbs:
- At the bottom of their stash jar
- Stuck in the crevices of their grinder
- Littering their rolling tray
The easiest way to use these cannabis crumbs is to turn them into something to make cannabis edibles. Some options include:
To get started, gather all of your cannabis crumbs together. You can infuse something with just the scraps or add them in with shake or bud if you don’t have enough scraps for a full batch.
Once you’ve made your edible base, you can use your butter, oil or milk in whatever recipes you like. With this method, you never need to toss your cannabis crumbs out again.
2. Use Cannabis Pulp in High-Fiber Dishes
So, we know how to use up all of our cannabis crumbs, but what about after we’ve made our edible base? The process of making cannabis-infused oils, butter or milk usually leaves behind some cannabis pulp (the scraps that you strain out of your butter or oil, for example, once it’s infused).
While most of the cannabis compounds wind up in your oil, butter or milk, not all of them do. There’s still a ton of therapeutic ingredients in this pulp that you don’t have to waste.
So, how can we recycle this cannabis pulp? Many people choose to use them in high-fiber dishes to add even more fibrous material to the meal.
Bulking up your food with fiber can help:
- Boost colon health
- Lower cholesterol
- Regulate blood sugars
To reuse your cannabis this way, you should first put it through a blender to make sure it has a smooth and even consistency—no one wants to bite down on a stem while they’re eating.
Then you can add this smooth pulp to dishes like
You can even use this pulp as a garnish on top of your infused dishes for an elegant presentation.
3. Turn Leftover Extract Into Cannabis Topicals
If you prefer marijuana extracts to flower and edibles, you may find you have a different kind of leftover—the bits of cannabis extract that get stuck to the sides of the container they come in. Sometimes this means concentrate stuck to a tiny glass or plastic jar, parchment paper or a prefilled tank. It can feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get to that last bit of extract.
But don’t worry, there are ways to salvage this leftover concentrate. My favorite way to use it is to turn the extract into a cannabis topical.
To do this, you’ll need to find a carrier oil that works well with your skin. I like to use argan oil, because it doesn’t clog my pores. But you can use just about any oil that stays in liquid form at room temperature.
When you’ve picked out a good oil, pour a little bit into the extract container. If you’re using a tank, you may need to pop part of the tank off to access the concentrate. Make sure the oil is touching all of the extract in the container, and then close it up. If you’re working with parchment paper, you can put the entire thing into another container.
Once you’ve got your container sealed, let it sit in a cool dark place for three to five days. If you’d like, you can periodically shake the container to mix it. After a few days, check on your container. You should have an infused oil that can rub directly onto your skin for localized pain relief.
Photo credit: Creative Family/Shutterstock.com
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.
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Ever wonder what to do with cannabis stems, dust, leaves and shake? We show you how to put your marijuana scraps to good use instead of throwing them out.