Hemp flower is the bud of the female hemp plant. Grown for their high cannabidiol, or CBD, content and their relatively low THC concentration, they are an option for those looking for a legal, non-psychoactive alternative to traditional marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Cooking With Hemp
Much like in cooking with marijuana, the cannabinoids in hemp flower are fat-soluble: meaning that in order to extract the medicinal qualities of the plant, you must first decarboxylate it with heat. To do this spread roughly ground hemp flower evenly onto a baking sheet and bake at a low heat (around 250 F) for 30-40 minutes. Heating up the hemp flower does emit a smell very much like marijuana so be sure to well ventilate your kitchen while doing this. After decarboxylating, your processed hemp flower should be added to a food-grade oil and heated at a very low temperature for about 3 hours before being strained with cheesecloth and stored in an airtight glass jar. Butter, coconut, and olive oils are the most popular choice to make these infusions for cooking. Believe it or not, your processed hemp flower can also be infused into honey in very much the same way.
Uses of Hemp Cooking Oil
With this infused oil you can make a variety of dishes. The most simple and direct way to use your hemp flower oil is as a normal oil used in stir-fries and similar cooking applications or added into drinks such as smoothies or tea. Baked goods are a classic choice: simply use the hemp flower-infused oil in place of the normal oil/fat called for in the recipe. Another great use of the oil is to use it as an ingredient to make condiments such as salad dressings or mayonnaise, creating a ready-to-use cannabinoid-infused ingredient that’s easily stored in your fridge. Infused honey can be used in place of regular honey as a sweetener or used as a topping for desserts.
Benefits of Hemp Cooking Oil
The benefits of cooking with hemp flower are numerous and its popularity as an ingredient is supported by both its medicinal and recreational effects. CBD has a wide range of health benefits and uses depending on the strain of the plant that you choose, ranging from focusing to calming to pain-relieving effects. Eating dishes made with hemp flower is an easier and more covert way to enjoy its CBD properties than smoking the flower, which might not always be appropriate in all situations. Ingesting foods made with the hemp flower also allows for a slower release of CBD into the bloodstream and can also mask the sometimes bitter taste that tinctures have. Making infused oils is also highly customizable to your needs, as you’re able to choose and research the strain that you work with and pick one that has the specific effects that you would like to enjoy. The process of cooking with the flower and participating in the creation of your tinctures and infusions can also be a social activity, bringing you and your people closer together as you all share in the event of making and sharing a meal.