COOKING WITH CANNABIS: Strategies and Recipes by Pat Crocker
(Updated Nov. 27, 2019)
It is a different experience ingesting Cannabis than smoking it, but certainly not a new one. Legend has it that the Indian God Shiva introduced bhang, an edible form of Cannabis, for the pleasure of humankind. In our book, Healing Cannabis Edibles, we’ve researched eight medical conditions that can be alleviated by Cannabis and we’ve designed recipes that use other power herbs along with Cannabis to target those health issues.
Edibles are ideal for people who don’t want to inhale smoke. Since Cannabis in food or drink goes through the digestive system, it is absorbed more slowly and it takes a lot longer for us to feel the effects of the THC in the herb. In addition, the effects last up to six hours longer than smoking, depending, of course, on the strain and other factors. For this reason, the industry has adopted the following advice: Start Low – Go Slow.
Preparing the Herb
I have designed our recipes to deliver 10 mg THC per serving, but that may be too much for you. If you’ve never used Cannabis, or if it’s been over a year since you have used it, start with 2.5 milligrams THC per dose or less, and increase by 1 or 2 milligrams as your tolerance, body weight, or metabolism dictate until you feel better or reach the maximum dose suggested for medical treatment.
Finding the perfect strain, THC-to-CBD ratio, and dose size that works for you requires experimentation. Your body size, weight, and tolerance for Cannabis are all important factors. When using Cannabis, keep a log that tracks the strain and brand name, along with the ratios, and then take notes on how each strain works in the recipe and how it affects your symptoms.
Be sure to keep the original Cannabis container or write down the percentage of THC and CBD in the Cannabis you are activating because you will need this information in order to calculate the amount of carrier (fat, honey, or alcohol for tinctures) to use in Step Two (see below).
Name of Strain and Producer: Percentage THC: Percentage CBD:
STEP ONE: Heat (Activate) Cannabis Before Using
In its raw form, THCA (the precursor to THC) is unable to bind to the receptors in our brain, which is why a psychoactive experience cannot happen simply by eating raw, fresh, or dried Cannabis. Heating at a precise temperature for a specific time converts the non-bioavailable THCA into psychoactive THC. This process is often referred to as decarboxylation because it removes the carboxyl group of compounds from the raw plant material. In this book, I call the process of converting THCA into THC, and CBDA to CBD, “activating” the THC and CBD.
Activation of THC and CBD only occurs when heat is applied either during smoking, vaping, or heating in an oven or dedicated decarboxylation device. My directions for activating whole or chopped flowers follow. (Note that some Cannabis suppliers are now decarboxylating products for you. If that’s the case, go directly to Step Two.)
How to Activate the THC and CBD: The most widely used home method of activating raw Cannabis is to heat it in the oven. While there are several wild and crazy techniques — from using a toaster oven or coffee press to boiling with water and then freezing, as well as sous vide (immersing Cannabis in boiling water) – that people use, I prefer to activate Cannabis in the oven.
Use: 1/2 ounce (14 grams) whole or coarsely chopped dried Cannabis flower
1) Preheat oven to 240°F (130°C). Position an oven rack in the centre of oven.
2) Spread Cannabis evenly over a heatproof glass or ceramic pie dish. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour for high THC or 1-1/2 hours for high CBD strains. Remove and set aside to cool.
STEP TWO: Infuse Carriers with Cannabis
Okay, you’ve activated a half ounce of precious Cannabis and now you want to cook with it. You can sprinkle some in a brownie mix, or toss with a bag of nuts … but that isn’t the best way to safely enjoy it. In order to make incredible edibles with a known dose in every serving, the next step is to infuse a carrier such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, honey, nut butter, or alcohol with the healing properties of activated Cannabis flower.
“Infusing” means to transfer the healing components from a herb into a carrier (or menstruum). I’ve developed a simple table that takes the guesswork out of using fat or honey, or nut butter, or alcohol in tinctures. For recipes that follow, let’s assume that your Cannabis contains between 14 to 15% THC.
Use high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee (made from unsalted butter). This recipe is specific to a strain of Cannabis that is between 14% and 15% THC.
Use: 3-1/2 to 4 cups (1 L) fat (see above)
½ ounce activated Cannabis
1) Pour oil into a small (4- to 8-cup) slow cooker. Stir in Cannabis, cover, and heat on Low for 4 hours, stirring once or twice. Check the temperature of the oil every hour to be sure that it does not exceed 245°F (118°C).
2) Unplug slow cooker and set aside, covered with lid, for 1 hour or until the crock insert is cool enough to handle.
3) Line a fine-mesh sieve with two or three layers of cheesecloth or a basket-style paper coffee filter. Set the sieve over a 2-cup capacity measuring cup and pour infused oil from the crock through the sieve into the measuring cup. Twist the cheesecloth to encase the plant material and squeeze or press on the filter to extract as much infused oil as possible. Reserve solids for another use or discard.
4) Transfer Canna Oil to a 2-cup capacity jar with lid. Seal, label, and store Canna Oil in the refrigerator, away from the reach of children. 1 Serving = 1 teaspoon
Notes on storage: Infused olive oil will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Infused avocado oil will keep for 6 months in a cool and dark place, or in the refrigerator for up to 9 months. Infused coconut oil needs no refrigeration and keeps for over a year at room temperature. Bring infused oil to room temperature before using.
Note on dosage: 1 tsp Canna Oil provides about 10 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14% – 15% THC.
Adapted from Healing Cannabis Edibles ; Recipes by Pat Crocker
EGG AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOM POPOVERS
- ¼ cup Canna Oil (above)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
- ½ cup chopped spinach (fresh or thawed if frozen)
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons plain non-dairy milk
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-well muffin pan with paper cups or lightly oil.
- Heat Canna Oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add spinach and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute or until wilted. Remove skillet from heat, stir in tomato, and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt in a large bowl. Add sautéed vegetables and stir using a fork, until ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Fill each muffin well with ¼ cup batter. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until eggs are firm. Eat warm or cold. Makes: 12 popovers
1 serving = 1 Egg and Shiitake Mushroom Popover
Store: Let cool completely in pan, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate, away from the reach of children, for up to 4 days.
To freeze: Wrap cooled popovers individually in foil. Transfer to a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To heat from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight (leave in foil) and heat in a preheated 325°F (160°C) oven for 10 minutes or until warm.
Dose: 1 Egg and Shiitake Mushroom Popover provides about 9 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14 to 15% THC.
CANNA NUT BUTTER
- 1 cup nut butter of your choice (cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, peanut, pumpkin, etc.)
- ¼ cup Canna Oil
- 2 Tbsp liquid honey (optional)
1) Combine nut butter, Canna Oil, and honey in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds or until smooth.
2) Transfer to a jar, seal, and label. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator, out of reach of children.
To store: Canna Nut Butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Dose: 2 Tbsp Canna Nut Butter provides about 10 mg THC (if you have used the Recommended Carrier Amounts table to make Canna Oil).
APRICOT ALMOND CHEWS
- 1½ cups granola (homemade or store-bought; see Recipe Note)
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup chopped mixed dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup Canna Oil (recipe above)
- 3 tablespoons liquid honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine granola, almonds, dried fruit, and flaxseed in a food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times or until mixed. Drizzle Canna Oil, honey, and vanilla overtop, and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix.
- Measure 2 tablespoons of dough and roll between the palms of your hands. Place ball on prepared baking sheet. Flatten using the oiled tines of a fork. Repeat until remaining dough is used up. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Makes: 24 chews
1 serving = 2 Apricot Almond Chews
Store: Keep chews in an airtight container in the refrigerator, away from the reach of children, for 14 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Dose: 2 Apricot Almond Chews provide about 10 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14 to 15% THC.
Recipe Note: Use plain granola or a mixture that contain lots of nuts and fruit. You can also substitute an equal amount of rice cereal for the granola in this recipe.
SAVOURY CANNA PEARS
- 2 tablespoons Canna Oil (recipe above)
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1/3 cup large-flake rolled oats
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped candied ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 pears, halved lengthwise, cored
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup liquid honey (optional)
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Make filling: Combine Canna Oil, onion, oats, walnuts, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times, just until uniformly chopped and mixed together. (You can make stuffing, cover, and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead.)
- Prepare pears: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a spoon, scoop out some of the pear flesh to make a cavity for the filling. Set pear flesh aside to add to filling in Step 3. Arrange pear halves, cut-side up, on prepared baking sheet and brush each with lemon juice. Cover pan with foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until pears are tender but offer some resistance when pierced with a sharp knife.
- Chop reserved pear flesh, add to stuffing, and stir well. Divide filling into 4 equal portions and spoon each into pear cavities, mounding it up. Drizzle 1 tablespoon honey over each pear (if using) and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake, uncovered, for 5 to 12 minutes or until filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
Makes: 4 pear halves
1 serving = ½ Savory Canna Pear
Store: Keep pears in an airtight container in the refrigerator, away from the reach of children, for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 300°F (150°F) oven or in the microwave on medium for 4 minutes.
Dose: ½ Savory Canna Pear provides about 10 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14 to 15% THC.
The combination of Cannabis and turmeric makes this an excellent drink to help ease inflammation.
- 2 teaspoons Canna Oil (recipe above)
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 2 cups vanilla-flavoured almond milk
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, for garnish (optional)
- Heat Canna Oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add turmeric, ginger, and cloves, and stir until a smooth paste forms. Gradually add almond milk and pepper, and heat, whisking constantly, until small bubbles form around the inside of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Divide evenly between two glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon (if using). Makes: 2 drinks
1 serving = 1 Golden Elixir (recipe easily halved)
Dose: 1 Golden Elixir provides 9 to 11 mg THC if your strain of Cannabis contains 14 to 15% THC.
Teacher, writer, photographer, and author of 22 cookbooks, Pat Crocker is wild about food, herbs, and health. Some of her books include The Herbalist’s Kitchen, The Healing Herbs Cookbook, The Juicing Bible, and Preserving. Watch for a new, revolutionary book, Cooking and Healing by Pat Crocker in autumn, 2020. For a list of bookstores that carry Healing Cannabis Edibles, or to buy it online, visit www.patcrocker.com