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Making and Using Cannabis Infused Butter and Oil

19 August 2011 No Comment

Cannabis or Marijuana Infused Butter and Cooking OilNote: This is a very basic guideline to making cannabis infused butter and cooking oil. More detailed information can be found in The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook by Cheri Sicard, available January, 2012 from your favorite bookseller or on this blog.

THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana is fat soluble, making butter and oil ideal ways to bond it to food.  Likewise cannabis infused butter, margarine, or cooking oils are the backbone of many medicated foods.  With these staples stored in your refrigerator or freezer you’re always ready to cook with cannabis.

You can cook with any kind of marijuana from trimmings to flowers.  You will need to adjust the amount used depending on the potency of the plant and what parts of it you are using.  Check out the Understanding Cannabis Dosages page for additional information and dose ranges.

I’ve listed the amounts I use to test the recipes for this blog as well as those in The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook.  You can and should alter the suggested amounts to meet your needs, but these will give you a starting guideline.

To Make About 1 Cup Cannabis Infused Butter or Margarine:

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 ounce average to high quality trim or low quality dried bud; OR 1/2 ounce average quality dried bud
  • About 4 cups water

To Make About 1 Cup Cannabis Infused Oil

  • 1 1/4 cups cooking oil: olive, vegetable, canola, corn, peanut or grapeseed.  You can even infuse solid-at-room-temperature fats like coconut oil or vegetable shortening should you choose
  • 1 ounce average to high quality trim or low quality dried bud; OR 1/2 ounce average quality dried bud
  • About 4 cups water

Why Water?

You might be wondering why I include water as an ingredient.  Including water, especially when cooking on the stovetop, insures the cannabis will never reach a higher temperature than the boiling point or 212 degrees F.  More importantly, the chlorophyll and terpenes – the parts of the plant that give it its flavor and color — are water soluble and most will likewise bind to water during the cooking process instead of infusing themselves into the fats along with the THC.  In practical terms this means less herbal flavor and green color in the finished marijuana infused butter or oil.

That said, the butter or oil might still appear mighty green, even when cooked with water.  The amount will vary from strain to strain with some coming out pale green or almost yellow, while others take on a deep forest green color.  You can see the differences in the photo above where I used a different strain to make the 2 different butters and oils pictured.  The visual difference is especially apparent in the butter, but keep in mind that color has nothing to do with potency.

Without water in the mix, the plant material tends absorbs too much of the butter and oil.  This means usable product is going into the trash, a problem that’s reduced when adding water.  The increased liquid volume also gives cooks the option to add more plant material in order to make more concentrated infusions if they wish.

How to Make Cannabis Infused Butter or Oil:

  • Slow Cooker Method: Add butter or oil, plant material, and water to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 16 hours.  I know some cooks who cook their butter for as much as 2 or 3 days in the slow cooker.  Feel free to do so if you choose.  It seems like overkill to me and after having tested longer cooking times, I found no improvement in quality or potency.  In fact, I noticed a stronger herbal flavor and not much else.

OR

  •  Stovetop Method:  Place butter or oil, plant material, and water in a large lidded Dutch oven on the stove top.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and simmer for 6 to 12 hours.  Take care and monitor the liquid level often, adding water as necessary to always keep at least 3 cups in the pot.  Simmering marijuana on the stovetop is very aromatic.  If you’re worried about nosy neighbors, cook other strong smelling foods such as roasting garlic at the same time in order to help camouflage the smell.  Better still, use a slow cooker.

Drain, Rinse, and Strain

The method of draining is the same for stovetop and slow cooker methods.  Place a cheesecloth line strainer over a large pot or bowl and stain the liquid through this.  Before discarding plant material, pour a large kettle full of boiling water over the full strainer in order to wash through any extra butter or oil clinging to the plant material.  Allow to cool then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Discard the plant material.  Now chill the rest, water and oil or liquid butter.  The fats will rise to the top.

Butter will harden into a solid when chilled making it easy for you to simply lift the piece off of the water below and discard the water. Rinse the butter chunk with cold, fresh water to wash off any of the canna-water or plant material left on the butter.

Oil will rise to the top of the water but often won’t solidify.  No problem.  You can use a spoon to skim the oil off the water.  Even better is a kitchen gadget called a gravy separator that looks like a small pitcher with the spout originating on the bottom.  This unique design allows the water to be poured out while retaining every drop of the oil floating at the top.  During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, gravy separators are sold everywhere, otherwise find them at gourmet shops.  You can also find extra large gravy separators year round at restaurant supply stores.

Now it’s time to strain one more time to remove as much sediment as possible.  Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the oil mixture through.  To strain butter, melt it, strain, then chill again until solid.

Refrigerate infused butter or oil until ready to use or freeze for even longer storage.  Fats can still go rancid in the freezer so try to use within 3 months.

You’re now ready to start cooking with canna-butter and canna-oil!

 

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