Unconventional Recipes: Cooking with Sticks

Written and photographed by Renee Thompson

*Edibles should only be shared and eaten by consenting adults and/or medical patients. Cannabis ingredients should be stored in a safe place away from children.*

 When I first started smoking, I thought the only useful thing a leftover cannabis stem could do was clean out a bowl in a pinch. It wasn’t until I started getting into edibles that I learned you can actually use sticks in cooking. The first thing I ever made was a simple stick tea. Unlike a high from smoking, I have found that using sticks in edibles leads to a less powerful taste and less intense high than cooking exclusively with buds. This type of high is more of a physical one and is great for managing pain. But you can also cook with a combination of sticks and flower if you want to get the best of both worlds. The more earthy tea-like taste of the sticks pairs wonderfully with nuts in cookies or spices in curries.

Finding Your Happy Place

Know that anything with sugar, oil, or butter in a recipe can be substituted for a medicated equivalent, but pay attention to how much you add in. In recipes that only call for a tablespoon or two of butter I usually use all cannabutter, but in recipes with more than a ½ cup of butter I usually only use half cannabutter in order to better control my edible experience. This is because everyone processes THC differently, so it is extremely important to start small and start slowly. If you are new to taking edibles, try using less potent THC ingredients or half of the suggested amount in recipes. It is extremely important to decarboxylate your flower and sticks so that the mixture stays intact enough for the stomach to absorb it but also be altered by the heat to activate the THC.

After everything is decarboxylated you can experiment with everyday cooking, like mixing it with salt or other spices. I have found that adding a few pinches of decarboxylated bud can bring out new flavors in everyday foods like pasta or salad and in some cases a very light high. Keeping a journal is a must when making your own edibles. You can experiment with different recipes, dosages, decarboxylation time, infusion time, and amounts of bud to sticks. Keep an eye on yourself and how you feel, and adjust your recipes slowly. Finally, when consuming a final product you haven’t tried before, try eating half a serving then waiting 30 minutes before having more. Remember that you can always have more later but you can’t travel back in time once the edibles have activated.

Pairings

Certain foods mix well with edibles because they contain molecules that can enhance the THC experience. For instance, when I made pancakes with stick butter, I topped them with a mango syrup and the experience was much more intense than just having a pancake with maple syrup. This is because mangoes have myrcene terpenes, which are known to interact with and even enhance THC. Similarly, chocolate has anandamide inside of it, which can bind to the brain in a similar way that THC does. So using these ingredients in addition to medicated ingredients can create intense feelings without using up your whole cannabis supply.

It may seem like a lot of work, but making your own edibles is a great way to have a more personal relationship with how you get high or medicate. At first, there might be some trial and error, but the pay-off is more than worth it. Working on basic cooking skills helps a lot too, and if you’ve waited for a reason to get into baking, kombucha or breadmaking, now is your time. Above all, listen to your body and be as creative as you can!

Stick Tea

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Decarboxylation Time: 40 minutes

Activation Time: approx.15-40 minutes

Serving: 1

         Ingredients

                     -1/2 tsp of sticks

                     -1/2 tsp tea

                     -1 cup of hot water

         Directions

 1. Decarboxylate your sticks by placing them in an oven safe glass pan for 40 minutes at 220-240F. Stir them every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.

2. In a tea strainer, reusable tea bag, or cheese cloth, place the sticks and tea inside.

 3. Let the mixture steep for ten minutes in hot water.

 4. Consume and enjoy!

Butter with Sticks

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Decarboxylation Time: 40 minutes

Activation Time: approx. 20-45 minutes

Servings: 8-12

         Ingredients

                     -1 stick of butter

                     -2 TBS of water

                     -2g of sticks

                     -0.5g of flower

         Directions

1. Grind the sticks and bud using a grinder. The sticks should be finely chopped, and the bud should be finely grated.

2. Use a mortar and pestle to finely grind the sticks and stems, or put them through the grinder two-four more times.

3. Once this is done place your mixture in a glass oven safe pan or inside a metal pan with tin foil. Let the mixture bake at 235F for forty minutes. Stir them every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning. This will decarboxylate the ingredients. 

4. Fill a small saucepan 2/3 of the way with water and place a metal bowl on top creating a double boiler. On a medium heat, melt the butter inside the metal bowl and wait for it to melt.

5. Once the butter has melted and the stick and flowers have decarboxylated, place the mixture in a stainless-steel tea strainer and turn the heat down to low.

6. Add the 2 TBS of water to the melted butter and let this mixture cook for four and a half hours, stirring the mixture every half hour. To make the butter absorb all of the THC goodness, when you stir the butter open up your strainer carefully and press down on the butter soaked stem/flower mixture with a spoon letting any excess butter drip into your bowl.

7. There should be a visible change in color and odor in your butter. Once this is achieved do a final drain of your tea strainer and put the butter mixture in a container with a lid. The butter should harden after three hours. Take the butter out of the container and drain any excess water that may be inside. Place back into the container or cook with it immediately. Store the butter in the fridge for up to a week.

Tiger Butter Fudge

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Chill Time: 40-60 minutes

Decarboxylation Time: 40 minutes

Activation Time: approx. 20-50 minutes

Servings: 13

         Ingredients

-2 TBS coconut oil (Infused with 1.5g sticks and 0.5g flower)

-1/2 cups peanut butter

-1/4 cup white chocolate chips

-1/2 cup of milk or dark chocolate chips

         Directions

1. Decarboxylate your ingredients, and infuse the coconut oil using the double boiler and tea strainer method on a low heat until there is a visible change in color/odor.

2. Mix in the peanut butter with the infused coconut oil until it is completely melted. Keep on a low to medium heat to avoid burning.

3. Add white chocolate chips, wait until they have completely melted into the peanut butter before taking it off the heat source.

4. In a separate double boiler, place the milk or dark chocolate chips in the bowl on a low heat until completely melted. 

5. In a glass oven-safe dish or pan place about ¼ of the peanut butter mixture. Be sure to cover as much of the bottom as you can and work quickly before the mixture hardens.

6. Add about 1/3 of the milk/dark chocolate mixture in various areas of the pan. Mix lightly with a chopstick.

7. Alternate between adding the peanut butter mixture and the milk/dark chocolate mixture until they are both depleted. You should end with milk/dark chocolate to get the distinctive tiger stripes.

8. Use the chopstick to design the tiger stripes, I recommend using s-shaped swirls. Stop when you have reached a nice design, but before the two mixtures are completely incorporated.

9. Place in the fridge for 40-60 minutes, the fudge should be solid and cool to the touch.

10. Take out of the fridge and cut 13 even slices. Store in the freezer for a week or the fridge for a week and a half. 

11. Consume one slice at a time, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating more. Enjoy with strawberry ice cream for a canna-peanut butter and jelly flavored sundae.

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