Cooking with Concentrates
Cooking with Concentrated Marijuana Products (Hash, Kief, RSO, etc.)
When most people make edibles, they use buds or leaf from the marijuana plant, and not concentrates like hash or kief. With cannabis concentrates becoming more available and more affordable every day, many home bakers are making the switch from viewing cooking with concentrates as an extravagance to seeing it as a viable alternative to traditional cannabutter. Even shatter (aka BHO extracts), which can be as much as 80% THC, are coming down in price and becoming viable ingredients to get high on while you eat. Read on to find out everything home chefs and professional cannabakers need to know to jump on board with this emerging trend as soon as possible.
The Benefits of Cooking with Concentrates
The drawback of cooking with concentrates are obvious. Hash and kief are more expensive than leaf and low-quality buds. Not everyone has to worry about that, though. Those who grow their own THC or CBD cannabis seeds, for example, often have a surplus of these marijuana products, and discerning weed aficionados may care more about quality than price points. For them, the benefits of cooking with concentrates outweighs the cost.
Processed hash and kief contain less chlorophyll than undoctored plant matter, so they have a less weedy taste. Instead, foods cooked with hash have a complex, earthy flavor that makes a great addition to many dishes and baked goods. The more high yield high thc seeds your raw materials comes from, the less “green” tasting it should be when it comes to the end product.
Hash and kief are more potent than buds and leaf. As a general rule, bakers can substitute 3-4 grams of hash for one ounce of trim. The increase in potency helps to offset the higher cost of purchasing concentrates, especially for those who would otherwise be using high-grade sinsemilla. As a final note, it is far cheaper to buy thc seeds and grow them yourself, when comparing to black market prices for high potency concentrates.
Easier to Dose
Traditional water hash contains around 50% THC, which means one gram of hash has around 500mg of this desirable cannabinoid. This even number makes it relatively easy to figure out the dosage. Bakers and chefs who buy their hash from a dispensary will be able to dose their edibles with even greater precision since most commercial products undergo lab testing to determine potency. Kief and some kinds of professionally produced hash have even higher THC concentrations, so when possible, ask the grower or producer how potent the product will be to ensure the correct dosage.
Hash and kief are more versatile than traditional cannabutter. They still need to be decarboxylated, but their increased potency means chefs and bakers can use far less fat to infuse them into their foods. This lets bakers and chefs follow recipes that call for less butter or oil, allowing them to create healthier, but equally potent, meals or confectionary treats. Plus, it’s much easier to incorporate a small amount of concentrate-infused oil into a savory dish than it is to accommodate a full cup of cannabutter.
Tips for Infusing Concentrates
The process of infusing butter or oils with concentrates is very similar to that of making traditional cannabutter, but there are a few things cooks need to know. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure maximum potency and proper dosage.
It Still Needs to Be Decarboxylated
Kief and hash contain more THC than regular plant matter since they’re composed almost exclusively of THC-producing trichomes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to be decarbed before use. In fact, most experts recommend decarbing concentrates for slightly longer or at higher temperatures. It’s still best to aim for around 250 degrees Fahrenheit when decarbing concentrates. Just leave them in for 45 minutes to an hour instead of the half-hour recommended for buds and trim.
Some chefs prefer using a water bath method for decarbing hash and kief. Just place a Pyrex dish into heated water, using a thermometer to ensure that the water bath doesn’t get hotter than 250 degrees, then drop the concentrates in. This reduces the time required to decarb to around 30 minutes.
There are some exceptions to the rule when it comes to decarbing concentrates. Those that were exposed to heat during the extraction process don’t need to be decarbed. Heat-extracted products include rosin, RSO, and most distillates.
Look for Food Grade Hash When Cooking on a Budget
Some hash manufacturers produce what’s known as “food-grade” products. They’re filtered to a slightly coarser grade, which means there might be slightly more plant material in the mix, but food-grade hash products are more affordable than more heavily refined products and they still have plenty of THC.
Choose the Right Oils
Most cannabakers infuse butter, but that can be limiting. Since all oils contain fats, they’re all good options for concentrate infusions. Bakers tend to prefer butter or coconut oil, but chefs may want to infuse olive oil for use in cannabis-infused main courses. Those who want to go the extra mile to create truly gourmet dishes can even infuse avocado oil, walnut oil, or MCT oil for some extra flavor. Just make sure to read up on flashpoints for different types of oil to avoid overheating it. When you grow your own feminized sativa seeds or indica hybrid seeds, this can be a great use of your leftover trim and sugarleaf.
Learn How to Make Dry Ice Kief
Dry ice extracted kief is the exception to the rule when it comes to infusions in that it doesn’t have to be diffused in oil before cooking. Chefs can buy it in some dispensaries, but they can also make it themselves in just a few minutes using simple tools and some unprocessed marijuana.
To make dry ice kief, break up the dry ice into small chunks, making sure to follow appropriate safety precautions, then place some crumbled, not finely ground, marijuana in a filter bag with the dry ice. Shake the bag over a piece of parchment paper for four minutes, then scrape up the kief. The kief will still need to be decarbed, but it can then be added to almost any dish. If the dish doesn’t have any fat, make sure to serve it with another one that has some kind of oil, dairy product, nuts, or fatty fruits like avocado, or serve it with coffee or tea that contains creamer.
Tips for Cooking with Concentrates
Once chefs have chosen an oil, decarbed their concentrates, and infused them, they can start experimenting. The sky’s the limit when it comes to using concentrate-infused oils, so experienced chefs can come up with some incredible dishes, but not every home chef is an expert in the field of cooking with concentrates. If you are an inexperienced grower and have never cooked with concentrates, you can dramatically increase your chances of success by following the tips below.
Find the Right Pairings
The unique, earthy flavor of hash pairs well with many boldly flavored foods. Try incorporating edible hash oil into meat or mushroom sauces for a gourmet meal that will leave diners both high and immensely satisfied. Concentrate-infused oils also pair well with chocolate or caramel in dessert dishes. Think about the strain that your edible was extracted from. Super lemon haze oil may offer a sweet citrus profile while strains like og kush or white widow will have a much more earthy flavour because of the different plant terpenes.
Don’t Overheat the Oil
Exposing THC in any form to high heat for too long can cause it to degrade. It can also alter the terpene profile of the concentrate, which will affect its taste and can create less desirable psychoactive effects. THC also starts to evaporate when it reaches 392 degrees Fahrenheit, so while it’s fine to set the burners on high, chefs should make sure the dishes themselves don’t get above this temperature.
When marijuana-infused oils are overheated, it degrades into CBN, a cannabinoid responsible for inducing sleepiness. Unless chefs want to provide their guests with someplace to take a nice, post-dinner nap, they should only cook the oil as much as necessary to flavor the dish. Since hash and kief-infused oils are so heavily concentrated, chefs can use undoctored oil through the majority of the cooking process, then add a small amount at the end for flavoring and effect.
Add Some Lecithin
Lecithin is an emulsifier used to create smoother mixtures by preventing butter and oils from separating. Products like sunflower lecithin can be added immediately after the infusion process, or they can be incorporated into individual meals. Sunflower lecithin doesn’t just act as an emulsifier. It also promotes increased absorption of THC, so it makes a great addition to any concentrate-infused dish.
Serving Concentrate-Infused Foods
Even veteran stoners aren’t used to eating main-course dishes infused with THC, so chefs need to give their dinner guests some warning. It’s best to use minimal amounts of infused oils or dry ice kief to avoid inducing the unwanted side effects associated with overconsumption.
Incorporating spices like black pepper or liquids like lemon juice into the meal can help to prevent issues with anxiety since these foods naturally contain terpenes like limonene and beta-caryophyllene, which bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as THC to promote a more calming experience. Those who want to accommodate guests with different tolerance levels can always bake some traditional edibles to serve after the meal so that guests who haven’t gotten the buzz they want from the main courses can determine their own doses for desert.
Also keep in mind how the strain choice will also impact the mood of your dinner guests. Strains like blue dream will increase the silly chatter and fun energy for you and your company. Heavier strains like hindu kush may induce heavy eyelids and a “couch-lock” feeling when consumed in high amounts. This is also a fitting reminder to make sure everyone gets home safely, as driving under the influence of weed edibles is extremely un-safe not to mention illegal.
The Bottom Line
Cooking with hash, kief, and other concentrates is becoming more popular as interest in marijuana products increases. That’s good news for serious bakers and chefs since these products are more versatile than traditional cannabutter and confer a unique flavor profile that’s perfect for savory dishes. Whether they have experience making and cooking with leaf- or bud-infused butter or not, home chefs should now have all the knowledge they need to start creating unique, delicious THC-infused dishes and desserts. The only step left is to get cooking.