Easy to bake, yet challenging to master. Perfecting the art of edible making is hard. Unlike other culinary delicacies, there are a lot of ways you can mess up a cannabis edible. Between decarboxylation, dosing, oven temperatures, and binders, there’s a lot to learn about. Then there’s the question of which strain to use. Currently, there are at least 780 recognized strains, but that number increases to well over 1000 depending on who you talk to. With so many options available, just how do you decide which are the best strains to cook with?
Let’s start with the misnomers. Modern strains are the result of so many breeding experiments that they’ve long since diverged from the underlying genetics of founding strains. Indica and sativa it turns out were much more relevant denominations in the past. Strains such as Hindu Kush from the Afghan-Pakistan border exhibit what we assume to be the sedating dominant indica forces. While Lamb’s Bread from Jamaica exhibits that uplifting introspective sativa feel.
The human mind however still wants to persist in distinguishing them by easily definable means. But modern strains aren’t so easily quantifiable, and unfortunately, indica and sativa just aren’t deep enough when it comes to modern cannabis.
Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids along with a host of other compounds make up the 480+ compounds in the cannabis plant. By understanding a little about terpenes in particular, you can begin to holistically combine flavors and take your edibles to the next level.
Many people select a strain with little regard for how it combines with existing ingredients. The potent flavor and scent of terpenes in cannabis can provide a potent synergistic sensual experience. By selecting wisely, you can say goodbye to the pungent overpowering taste of weed in your edibles. Instead, you can begin to enjoy the natural interplay of complementing flavors, not to mention the medicinal effects that terpenes bring to the party.
This Californian strain has an underlying fruity and spicy base that leads to a deeply relaxing high that also helps with sleep. The short onset time that many experience make this one an old reliable for those battling insomnia.
When it comes to cooking, Purple Urkle is one of the best strains to cook with. It’s the presence of the terpene linalool that ensures it stands apart as a culinary strain. This terpene has a floral fragrance with a hint of spice. It pairs wonderfully in dishes with lavender, mint or coriander to provide that fragrant base flavor with calming properties. Incorporate this strain into lemon pestos or peppermint patties for a wonderful synergy of flavors!
An uplifting strain, Super Lemon Haze is world-renowned for its happy, energetic, and uplifting effects. The presence of the terpene limonene means that the strain exudes a citrus aroma. The taste and flavor is not overpowering, but the distinct lemon taste ensures that Super Lemon Haze pairs well with citrus fruits. The enhanced flavor it provides can work well with any lemon-scented dish.
With a distinctive mango taste, Mango Kush is known to provide a flavorful high with a happy relaxed vibe. High in the terpene myrcene, Mango Kush exudes an earthy scent that’s accompanied with deep grounding. Those suffering from any sleep disorder or pain often revert to Mango Kush for its ability to bring about deep relaxation.
As one of the best strains to cook wit, it pairs well with basil, lemongrass, verbena, eucalyptus, and, as its name might suggest, mangoes. When used in a recipe, it can take any dish with a sweet or savory underpinning to the next level.
A cross between the world-renowned Blue Dream and Bay 11, Bay Dream is high in one of the most interesting terpenes named pinene. Pinene is known to help considerably with one of the most unattractive side effects of weed, that of short term memory loss.
Bay Dream will help ensure you stay focused and mentally engaged. It’s often a wonderful choice of strain for those who need to work or avoid falling into that couchlock realm after consumption. It combines well with dishes that contain basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, or dill and complements their underlying savory flavor. Try it in soups or potato dishes with the aforementioned herbs for a flavorful experience that’ll soon turn on the rocket boosters!
Regardless of which strain you use, when correctly prepared they can all have beneficial attributes when it comes to flavor and the ensuing high. If you have smoked a particular strain that exhibits certain characteristics, then there’s a good chance that the high in its edible form will be similar. Once you’ve found your strain, then all you have to worry about is dosing. Happy cooking!
Writer: Francis Cassidy