We’ve received numerous inquiries about just how one goes about making butter for all of these recipes. Well, folks have been making butter from cannabis for as long as I can remember which unfortunately is quite long. In the 60’s butter was not widely used as cannabis was in short supply and many folks smoked the leaves as well as any flowers (bud) they might acquire.
Even before the widespread use of medical cannabis in the 80’s and 90’s, increasing numbers of folks who had access to significant quantities of leaf, began to use basic recipes to make cooking products including butter and oil. All of these basic recipes involved slow and low cooking of dairy butter (or oil) and chopped leaf (in roughly equal proportions) to produce a deep green butter. This butter could be very potent but tastes pretty terrible. The problem is that butter made from the whole leaf will include both the chlorophyll and terpenes (as in turpentine) from the plant.
The use of Cannabis for medical purposes has spurred innovation and variety in Cannabis products. Many patients cannot or will not smoke. Of course there are vaporizers and tincture (the subject of a future recipe) but butter is the easiest to cook with and food products are not only well tolerated but can be very tasty and add much needed nutrition. The better the butter the greater the application is in recipes ranging from baked goods to soups to stews, to a wide variety of sauces.
This author relies on the "experts" for the following butter recipes. There are a few basic principles to good butter:
- Use very low heat as to not lower the potency or alter the biochemical characteristics of the Cannabis.
- Use high quality sweet unsalted dairy butter.
- Use a roughly 50/50 ratio (by weight) of plant product and dairy butter. With potent strains or flowers instead of trim the ratio can be easily changed to 10/1 (butter to plant). The resulting butter will have lighter color and better taste.
Bud Butter and Trim Butter: Manicure and dry flowers and/or bud trimmings. Grind to a powder with an electric coffee grinder. Melt the unsalted dairy butter first in a crock pot set on low. Gradually add the trim or flower powder with constant stirring. Cook in crock pot covered on the lowest setting with frequent stirring for two to four hours. Before the dark green butter cools, pour through a cheese cloth and squeeze into plastic tubs. Once the butter cools you can cover the tubs and place them in the refrigerator to finish cooling.
Potency: Potency of butter can vary tremendously depending upon the strain and which portions of the plant are used. Adding four to six ounces of powdered bud trim to two pounds of dairy butter will produce extremely powerful butter. Adding 2-4 tablespoons of such butter to a recipe that serves 10 means that each portion is receiving approximately 1-3 grams of Cannabis. Cookies and brownies made with this butter can be even stronger. Most of the good cookie recipes call for as much as 16 tablespoons of butter to three dozen cookies. These cookies are strong. Although patient dose requirements for orally delivered Cannabis are 4-10X higher than when smoked, one can see a portion can be quite potent. Unlike smoked Cannabis, the effects of the butter will appear more slowly and have much longer duration.
Storage: Butter can be kept in the freezer in airtight containers. Butter kept in this fashion can last many months. One should frequently inspect the butter to insure mold has not spoiled it. If mold has developed or the butter has been exposed and become rancid then it is best to toss it. When in doubt, throw it out.