Updated: Feb 2
Clean Your Cannabis/ Hemp to Make The Best Tasting Clean Cannabutter
When I started cooking with cannabis, I realized that there are four challenges everyone faces when making edibles: cleanliness, the herbaceous taste, proper dosing, and knowing how an edible will make you feel. All challenges that I became obsessed with solving. After almost 2 years of tinkering, lab testing, and sampling, I developed a process to make “Light Tasting”, easily dosed cannabutter and cannaoil. Your cannabutter and cannaoil will be clean and virtually tasteless if you follow the process properly.
Why Clean your Cannabis and Hemp?
Let's just say you took your weed and put it into a crockpot, like a lot of people do, with some butter, oil, and water and let it simmer. What you're really doing, in addition to simmering all of those cannabinoids into the butter or oil, is adding burnt terpenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids as well as any impurities that are in that bud, into the mix. In addition, you could be infusing surface insecticides like neem oil or insecticidal soap, as well as other contaminants.
The root of my process is something we should all be doing with our cannabis, CLEANING IT! Just as we do with any other fruit, vegetable or herb. 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. The picture here shows you the difference between cannaoil made with cleaned cannabis (L) and non-cleaned cannabis (R).
Terpenes, Chlorophyll and flavonoids all burn off between 100ºF-212ºF. When they burn off, they leave behind a "burnt" taste. That is why no matter what strain of cannabis you use to make your cannabutter or cannaoil, it always has the same "weedy" taste. It's similar to when you burn toast. It doesn't matter what kind of toast you burn, the charred part always tastes the same! So to remove the "weedy" taste, you basically have to extract as much of these compounds as possible. It's a process, but I think you'll find that it's well worth the effort.
The process starts by soaking the bud for a couple of days in distilled water in a French Press. During the first few days of the soaking process, the water will either be brown, dark gold, green, clear or cloudy. You may also find that the water is "soapy" if you agitate it by pushing down the plunger a few times. If it is, this is from the insecticidal soap I mentioned earlier. After 2-3 days the water should run clear.
Once the water runs clear, the next step is to blanch it. Yep, that's right, you have to put it in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes and then in ice water for a minute or two. When you blanch your flower, you're basically getting rid of more of the remaining surface contaminants as more of the compounds responsible for the danky taste. Your waste water will be colored again, but much cleaner. You may also see sludge on top with some trichomes floating in the water, as well as some sticking to the inside surface of your pot. This is normal. These trichomes are ones that have broken off from other bud and dusted other buds as well as some trichomes that may have broken off while handling. The majority of the trichomes, however, are hydrophobic and will stick to the cellulose of the plant at all costs. Most of the trichomes will still be intact. To put your mind at ease, we have had the final cleaned flower tested by five of the best labs in California and the potency per gram is virtually the same as before the process. Granted, the terepenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids will be gone, but when you cook with cannabis, these compounds burn off anyway. Better to remove them before you start cooking or baking than have to deal with the taste after.
How to Clean Your Cannabis or Hemp Flower 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 your local budtender to suggest a strain that will impart the effects you are looking for or check out Leafly to find a strain that makes sense and get ready to hunt it down! Make sure you 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 cannaoil.
To make one stick of butter or 8 oz of oil I suggest starting with 7 grams of raw cannabis.
Also, to yield 1 stick of butter you will need to use 1⅓ stick of butter to make up for the volume of water and milk solids that you will lose through the process.
Next, you will need a French press (any size will work as long as it’s large enough to accommodate soaking your herb), at least 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 butter mold or jar for oil.
Steps 1 and 2: CLEAN YOUR BUD (2-3 days depending on how dirty your cannabis is)
Break apart the buds and place pieces and stems into a french press
Soak cannabis for 2-3 days, changing the water about 12 every hours until the water runs clear
Agitate the soaking cannabis by quickly pressing the plunger up and down. If you see "soap bubbles" when you do this, change out the water and continue the soaking process.
Step 3: BLANCH YOUR BUD
When water runs clear, transfer the buds from the french press into a tea strainer
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and prepare of 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 or hemp enough for the next step.
Step 4: DRY AND DECARB YOUR BUD
Spin out all of the water from the cooled cannabis in a salad spinner.
Preheat your oven to 240ºF
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 the smell of cannabis. Covering tightly with aluminum foil will significantly reduce the odor
Place in 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 ensure 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 a 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 cannaoil. 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 grass-fed butter or a healthy high-fat oil such as coconut or olive.
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 3 hours or oil for 4 hours
When steeping is complete, press plunger down all the way and pout into your heat resistant storage container and refrigerate. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months
Note: If you are making butter, there may be residual moisture from the butter once it has re-solidified. To remove the moisture, turn the re-solidified butter out onto a plate and dab the extra moisture with a paper towel. Re-refrigerate. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Mathew Masin and Pixels and Crumbs (Cascadia Blooms)