Sous Vide Your Weed: Cannabis Cooking for Experts and Amateurs

In today’s trendy culinary arts kitchen “sous vide” is now a modernist’s de rigueur for aspiring and accomplished chefs. The concept is fairly new, yet rather simple: the food is cooked in a hot water bath inside a waterproof pouch using a technique called thermal immersion. Some predict sous vide, pronounced sue veed, will be a ubiquitous fixture in the home kitchen to help precisely control and perfectly cook a seemingly endless variety of foods.

The other benefit of using the sous vide method is that when properly sealed the submerged food never actually touches the water, meaning all of the desirable molecular flavors and nutrients remain in the food. This technique allows for an enhanced gourmet experience embraced by today’s molecular foodies and the burgeoning organic “farm-to-table” buy local food movement, while simultaneously delighting epicurean “super tasters.” The ability to maintain flavor profiles using the sous vide methodology is fascinating since accessing the full medicinal and recreational benefits of marijuana are aided by the retention of the plant’s flavonoids and terpenes.

As a professional cannabis chef and artisanal food designer for Cheffettes, I began to contemplate the potential virtues of infusing my cooking butters and oils with cannabis using the sous vide technique. The unique ability of thermal immersion to precisely control the temperature seemed like a natural fit with cannabis. This is due to the fact that the activation of marijuana’s psychotropic properties is accomplished through a process known as decarboxylation which requires exact time and temperature controls to convert the naturally occurring, non-psychotropic Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid, known as THCA, into Tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, renowned for its psychotropic and healing properties.

Although decarboxylating, or decarbing, cannabis is an incredibly time consuming process and controlling the temperature can be elusive and frustrating, a greater annoyance can be the pungent and often overwhelming aromatics of cooking with cannabis, filling the air with the telltale pungent odor and potentially creating a nuisance that can alert neighbors to your culinary exploits. While most cannabis enthusiasts relish the aroma of cooking with marijuana, the neighbors might think otherwise and the vacuum-sealed sous vide pouches help keep dank odors at bay.

On the forefront of the sous vide home cooking movement is a young, San Francisco-based company called Nomiku. Monica Lo, the company’s test kitchen creative director, also happens to be a cannabis enthusiast, contributing photographer for Stock Pot Images and a talented blogger who visually delights with her fun food forays on her blog Sous Weed. Of special interest are her recipes for decarbing your cannabis and a recipe for making cannabutter all using the trending sous vide methodology.

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