Why I Don’t Blanche My Cannabis Before Making Edibles…
This is going to be a short post, but I felt compelled to do it this very moment because I’m getting lots of questions about it. You may have noticed that I don’t recommend blanching your cannabis in any of my recipes or oil tutorials.
Some chefs recommend blanching your cannabis before cooking with it and say it’s the bees knees, but I’ve gotten lots of comments from you guys about how it’s more like being stung by 1123314 hornets, leaving you with soggy half burnt weed and weird textured oils.
So what’s up with this technique? And why don’t I talk about it in my recipes or oil tutorials?
Why Blanched Cannabis Isn’t My Thing
There are edibles chefs that argue that for flavor’s sake, you need to blanche your cannabis before infusing oil with it to remove all of the “impurities” found in cannabis. Otherwise those impurities will make your infused foods taste terrible. And that’s really the only argument I’ve ever heard for blanching. They claim that the blanching process will remove all of those nasty little things, make your weed food taste better and give you a more pure cannabis infused oil.
Let’s get very clear about this. When chefs talk about the reason for soaking and blanching, the “impurities” they mention include things like “insecticides” and “chlorophyll.”
I’ll touch base in just a moment why labeling chlorophyll an impurity is ridiculous, but what I’d love to drive home about this topic is that whenever possible, let’s all use cannabis that is grown without using chemical pesticides and fungicides. Especially if you’re using it to treat a condition.
Blanching and Chemical Residues
I’d love to dive into the topic of alllll of the different pesticides and fungicides that are currently being used while growing cannabis, but I don’t have the time to do that here today. What I will say is that the chemicals used on cannabis are typically much more dubious than those used while growing conventional food.
If you’re consuming black market cannabis, you may be ingesting chemicals that are not legal for human consumption. Many of these chemicals are supposed to only be used in low concentrations on ornamental plants (like the sad shrubs growing in medians and in bank parking lots) and are being used in high concentrations on a plant you put into your lungs and your poor digestive system.
Buy weed without chemicals. Grow weed without chemicals. However you get your cannabis, try your damnedest to buy or grow it sans gnar.
If you do have to buy cannabis without knowing what’s on it, then by all means try to do something about it… these non-scientists say that soaking it in water for a few days and then blanching it will remove all of that, so I guess?… go for it?
I’m not convinced that it removes pesticides from the plant material entirely, and have never been presented with evidence to back up these claims, but I feel like it’s something worth researching.
Chlorophyll is Gross… wait… what?
So now we’re onto that supposed infusion ruiner – chlorophyll.
It’s what makes infused oil green and apparently (according to some chefs) makes your food taste bad. I get that I have a health-based palate (I’d drink Multigreen Kombucha over Dr. Pepper every. single. time.), but I think that there are many cases where infused oil enhances the flavor of what I’m eating.
I think I made one smoothie that tasted a little odd (pears and cannabis aren’t bffs), but I mess up the flavor of my smoothie about 3 times a week, so that’s really not all that special.
IMHO, nearly everything I’ve ever made with cannabis tasted great when I added my infused coconut oil. I put it on toast. I put it in my tea. I like the flavor of cannabis infused coconut oil. Scratch that. I love that flavor.
And here’s what’s crazy to me about this idea… chlorophyl is AMAZING for you. That green stuff that these flavor purist cannabis chefs are saying is the scourge of cannabis is considered a superfood. It is reportedly a cancer-fighting, liver detoxing, wound healing, colon cleansing badass.
And I don’t know about you, but taking all of the trouble of blanching to get rid of something that is good for me? Nah. I’ll pass.
Again, if you hate the flavor of cannabis, really want to put cannabis on fish or in delicate pastries, or if the cannabis you’re using is covered in chemicals, then… why not give it a shot? Otherwise… if you’re using tasty organic homegrown or dispensary cannabis, IMHO it’s unnecessary and can potentially make your next batch of oil more complicated then it needs to be.
I feel like this is going to be one of those troll bait posts that I’m going to wish I never wrote. Let’s do it… in the comments section below 😉
Blanching your cannabis is becoming popular with cannabis chefs, but is it really all it's cracked up to be? In this post, I share why I skip it completely.
Baby Boomers who smoked marijuana in the sixties are, today, not getting diagnosed with Alzheimers at the rate they should be.
Oct 11 Decarboxylation
If you pluck a flower bud from a marijuana plant, pop it in your mouth and swallow it, you will not get high. There is no THC in raw marijuana. THCA is the compound in raw marijuana that converts to THC when exposed to heat.
When we light a bowl on fire or heat up a vaporizer, THCA is converted to THC and we get high. Decarboxylation is the process of heating marijuana until the THCA has converted to THC (CBDA is also present in the marijuana plant and converts to CBD when heated) and is the first step when creating any infused product.
Infused products in dispensaries are made with marijuana that has already been decarboxylated. When you make your own marijuana infused edibles and topicals at home, you need to do the decarboxylation process before you infuse marijuana into butter, oil or alcohol.
If you skip the decarboxylation step, you will end up with non-psychoactive, yet powerful medicine. THCA and CBDA are strong anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. The reason some people juice raw cannabis leaves is to get the benefits of THCA. Topical skin treatments are more effective with fresh, non-decarboxylated marijuana, too.
For marijuana infused medicine with a full range of cannabinoids, including THCA and THC, follow the instructions for decarboxylation but only keep cannabis in the oven for half the time so only half of the cannabinoids convert and the other half remain THCA and CBDA.
The good news is that decarbing is easy. As a commercial producer I am able to do a potency test to make sure all of the cannabinoids have fully converted, but at home we can’t check, so we go by time and temperature. The higher the temperature you set your oven at, the less time the plant needs to bake. High temps destroy cannabinoids and terpenes, so we want to keep temps low and decarb for longer periods of time for the most effective medicine.
Be aware that the decarboxylation process creates a strong odor. Open windows and turn on fans to air out the kitchen.
CBDA takes longer to convert to CBD, and larger amounts of marijuana take longer to fully decarb, so adjust the hour as needed. An eighth of high THC flower might only need 30 minutes, while high CBD strains need an hour to fully convert the cannabinoids. You know your flower is ready when it changes from green to brown and becomes toasty and dry. If there are still green flecks in the flower, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.
We blanch vegetables to make them taste good, and we can do the same thing to cannabis. To give your cannabutter or canna oil a lighter color and more delicate flavor, blanch marijuana before decarboxylating and infusing into butter, oil or alcohol. This process removes chlorophyll without destroying the medicinal compounds in marijuana.
Just like blanching vegetables, drop marijuana flowers into boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then quickly plunge into a bowl of ice water. Let dry, then grind and decarboxylate blanched marijuana flowers like normal.I like to blanch the day before I decarb and infuse, and I lay my wet flower out to dry overnight.
Yield: Decarboxylation releases moisture and results in a 10-12% decrease in weight, so an ounce of marijuana (28 grams) dries out to 24-25 grams.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Coarsely grind marijuana to break down flower buds. Place marijuana on a baking sheet or dish and wrap with foil to protect terpenes.
Bake for 30 minutes. Pull from the oven, peel back the foil and stir. Return to oven for another 30 minutes. It’s finished when the color has turned a lightly toasted brown and is bone dry. If any bits of marijuana are still green, there is still THCA in the plant matter. Return to the oven until every bit has turned brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing foil.
Spray marijuana with a light coating of Everclear to break down cellulose. This step reduces the green hue of the butter, oil or alcohol infusion.
When dry, store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place for several months.
Make sure your baking sheet has sides and a smooth bottom. Otherwise the plant matter will get stuck in the tray or slide off the sides.
Blanching weed Baby Boomers who smoked marijuana in the sixties are, today, not getting diagnosed with Alzheimers at the rate they should be. Oct 11 Decarboxylation If you pluck a flower