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Like Butter

Mr. Smith becomes the Martha Stewart of cannabinoid cooking

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I made butter once - just plain, old regular butter. It's actually really easy.

All you have to do is put some heavy cream in a jar and shake it for a while. You can do it much quicker by beating the cream with a hand or bowl mixer until it forms stiff peaks, then beating it some more. Eventually (after about 10 minutes) the cream breaks down, separating into fat solids (butter) and buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk, and you have butter. Try it at home - it's surprisingly simple and fun and kids love it. Plus, you then get to eat fresh butter. Six cups of cream makes about a pound of butter.

After you make a pound of butter, you're ready for the real fun - making yourself some cannabis butter. This part is also surprisingly easy and fun, and you don't have to share it with the kids. Hehe. Making cannabis butter is a bit of a moonshine operation that involves a little more than making the butter itself, but it's also very easy.

The basic premise for any recipe is the same - leach the cannabinoids (which bind to fat) out of the plants and into the oil. You can use any kind of oil, but butter is the most common. You can then use the butter in virtually anything - spread it on toast, slip it between your pancakes, mix it in some brownies. Never heat cannabis butter past 350 degrees, when you're making it or when you're cooking with it. The THC breaks down at high temperatures, and your butter becomes plain old $300 per pound butter. Ouch.

An ounce of cheap schwag or trim is about the least you will want in a pound of butter. I suggest using quality buds in the same ratio, which will yield a correspondingly stronger product. Low-quality cannabis is about 4 to 5 percent THC, whereas medical quality stuff is more like 15 to 20 percent. Do the math. ;)

Start by grinding your buds or shake or trim into a fine powder in a food processor or a coffee grinder. The fine powder allows more surface area to contact the oil, which lets more cannabinoids bind to the butter. After this step, there are a million variations.

The most common method is to melt the butter in water, then simmer it (do NOT boil) for at least three and up to 24 hours. The theory is that the longer you simmer the mixture, the more cannabinoids you leach out. After you simmer the cannabis stew for a few hours, strain it through some cheesecloth, and squeeze out the liquid from the cheesecloth.

Put your bowl of watery oily goodness in the fridge overnight, and when you wake up you'll have a solid disc of green butter on top of a bunch of disgusting water. Lift off the butter, toss the water, and start baking.

As a reformed vegan who now eats meat and eggs and cheese at will, I have experience with cooking sans animal products. Making vegan cannabis oil is just as easy as making the barbaric kind from animal excretions. Mix an ounce of finely ground buds with two cups of coconut oil, then heat it in a slow cooker. I like the slow cooker, because the constant temperature means I don't have to watch it. Put about 2 inches of water in the slow cooker, then set a container of oil in the water. Put the lid on, then let it cook for 12 hours or so (watch that the water doesn't dry up). You can also use olive oil, which gives you something to drizzle on a salad or soak up with some yummy whole grain bread made from non-GMO wheat. ;)

However you make them, cannabis oil and butter are healthier alternatives to smoking. They give you hundreds and hundreds of ways to get your meds in your head without inhaling clouds of carcinogens and smut and disgusting tar and ... well, you get the picture.

Bon appétit.

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