If you’ve been keeping up with cannabis news, you’ve read recent reports that a significant quantity of tested cannabis has contained contaminants such as mold, heavy metals, pesticides and even soap! Pretty bad things that you don’t want to smoke and definitely don’t want in your food.
There are also natural compounds found in cannabis such as chlorophyll that may be healthy, but that you don’t necessarily want in your cookies or grandma’s meatloaf.
Most reputable growers and dispensaries painstakingly take the necessary steps to insure that you are getting the highest quality cannabis. And the state will soon require all cannabis that’s legally sold in California to be tested for safety. But not everyone is privy to top-shelf, non-contaminated cannabis.
Five years ago, when I started cooking with cannabis, I realized that there are three challenges everyone faces when making edibles: the herbaceous taste, proper dosing and knowing how an edible will make you feel. All challenges that I became obsessed with solving. Thankfully, after about 18 months of tinkering, lab testing and sampling, I came up with the process to make “light tasting” (virtually no cannabis flavor if you follow the process properly), strain-specific, easily dosed cannabutter and canna-oil. And the root of the process is something that we all should be doing with our cannabis — just as we do with any other fruit, vegetable or herbs — and that is to CLEAN IT!
Common wisdom has always been to “never” get your cannabis wet, but that is precisely what you need to do in order to properly clean your bud. The best part is that you can easily do it yourself at home. Here’s how.
To start, choose a strain of cannabis that you like and that you know works for you. If you’re not sure, and this is your first time, ask the budtender at your dispensary to suggest a strain that will impart the effects you are looking for. To make one stick of butter or 4 ounces of oil, I suggest 7 grams of cannabis.
Make sure to note the percentage of THC in the strain you choose to use. This is important information that you will need to calculate the potency of your finished cannabutter or canna-oil.
Next you will need to have:
- A French press (any size will work as long as it’s large enough to accommodate soaking your herb)
- A gallon of distilled water
- A large tea strainer
- A pot for boiling water
- A bowl of ice water
- A flat sheet pan or Pyrex dish
- An oven (or toaster oven)
- And a heat resistant container to store your finished butter or oil in
Steps 1 and 2 : CLEAN YOUR BUD
Break apart cannabis and place bud pieces and stems into a French press.
Soak cannabis in distilled water for two to three days (depending how dirty it is), changing the water about 12 every hours until the water runs clear.
Step 3: BLANCH YOUR BUD
When water runs clear, transfer the cannabis from the French press into a tea strainer.
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.
Immerse the tea strainer into the boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.
Immediately remove the tea strainer after 5 minutes and immerse in the ice water for 1 minute. This stops the cleaning process and shocks the cannabis back to reality. It will also cool the cannabis enough for the next step.
STEP 4: DRY AND DECARB YOUR BUD
Preheat your oven to 240 degrees.
Break apart the bud ball into an oven-safe dish or pan.
Cover tightly with foil. This is the one step that might infuse your kitchen or home briefly with smell of cannabis. Covering tightly with aluminum foil will significantly reduce the odor.
Place in the oven to dry and decarb for 1 hour. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven so any steam floating around can settle and dissipate.
Remove the foil and insure that your bud is COMPLETELY DRY! If there is any leftover moisture, it will impart moisture and an herbaceous taste into your butter or oil.
If your bud is not completely dry after you remove it from the oven, cover it loosely with paper towel and let it sit overnight. It should be completely dry by the morning.
When your dried and decarbed bud is completely dry, weigh it.
You will notice that what was once 7 grams of cannabis is now more like 3, 4 or 5 grams. Your difference between your starting weight and the final weight will vary based on how moist or dry your cannabis was when you started.
Write down the final weight. You will need this to calculate the potency of your cannabutter or canna-oil. To easily calculate the approximate potency of your butter or oil, including the potency per serving, visit www.JeffThe420Chef.com/calculator.
STEP 5: INFUSE
Choose the fat you want to infuse. Any high fat butter or oil will work. I suggest grassfed butter such as Kerrygold or a healthy high fat oil such as coconut or olive.
Note: You will lose some volume of butter and oil. If you want your yield to be the equivalent of 1 stick of infused butter, I suggest infusing your cannabis into one full stick plus one-third of a second stick of butter. For 4 ounces of infused oil, I suggest starting with 4 ½ ounces of oil.
Place dried and decarbed cannabis back into a clean French press and add your fat.
If you are using butter or a solid oil such as coconut oil, melt it before adding the cannabis.
Bring the plunger down to the top of the oil line.
Immerse the French press in a pot of water and bring the water to slow boil.
Let cannabis steep in butter for three hours or oil for four hours.
When steeping is complete, press plunger down all the way and pour into your heat-resistant storage container.
Refrigerate. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to two months.
Note: If you are making butter, there may be residual moisture from the butter once it has resolidified. To remove the moisture, turn the resolidified butter out onto a plate and dab the extra moisture with a paper towel. Re-refrigerate.