How to Cook with Hemp Extracts
Go get your chef’s hat and apron because today, we’re cooking with concentrates. At Cali Vali, one of our favorite ways to consume hemp products is through food and drink. We also use our full-spectrum CBD Diamonds for dabbing and vaping, but we have a special soft spot for consuming diamonds in food and drink. Let’s dive into the kitchen and learn how to transform any dinner into a hemp harvest feast.
Why extracts make for such great ingredients
Even outside the world of hemp, recipes usually call for a small amount of extract to make things taste even more like themselves. Take vanilla extract, for instance. You add just a tiny bit of vanilla extract and it adds dimension and depth to cookies and cakes.
Chopping up the same amount of raw vanilla plant and adding it to your baked goods wouldn’t work the same way. Plus then you’d have crunchy plant bits in your cookies—not quite what you’re going for when you make a dessert.
Vanilla extract works because it’s a concentrate of vanillin, the flavor component in vanilla beans. It’s made with a solvent, alcohol, that draws out all the essential vanilla-ness of vanilla beans.
The same is true for hemp extracts. We use solvents to soak up all the great trichomes, terpenes, and cannabinoids in hemp and bring them to you in their most concentrated form. That way you can add just a little bit to your food and get maximum effect, without also chewing on leaves and stems.
We go into this in our blog post on how extracts are different from flower, but what you absolutely need to know is that cannabis concentrates are more potent, more delicious, and easier to consume. Below, the steps we recommend for using our CBD diamonds for cooking.
Step 1: Start with a familiar snack
You can cook or bake CBD diamonds into just about anything, but it’s nice to start with something familiar. That way you can focus on your new, special ingredient instead of worrying about getting the whole recipe right.
When you’re just starting out with cooking something new, it’s tempting to do a Google search and then rely on the experts’ favorite recipes. But for concentrates to really become a part of your routine, we recommend starting out with foods you already know and love.
If you’re a pasta fan: heat some butter or oil at a low temperature, add a small amount of diamond to the pan, and toss your pasta in it with some parmesan on top.
If cakes are more your thing: try this lemony turmeric tea cake. The flavors compliment our diamonds perfectly, and the recipe already starts with melted butter. Just add a drop of diamond to the butter before you fold in the rest of the batter. (Coconut oil is great, too--especially if you’re vegan.)
If you’re a veggie fanatic: homemade salad dressing might be perfect for you. Heat olive oil at a low temperature to dissolve the diamonds evenly, and then let it cool before stirring it into a vinaigrette.
If you prefer liquid refreshment: Dissolve a small amount of diamond in cooling simple syrup before adding it to a cocktail.
Basically, we encourage you to start with your existing routine and the foods you already love. Hemp concentrates are so versatile that they’ll fit into most diets.
Step 2: Choose flavors that match
Explore your hemp extract with your nose first, and get to know the smell. It’s earthy, and smells a little like a pine tree. Instead of trying to mask that smell, we’d recommend embracing it. Think about what might go well with hemp’s earthy flavor—chocolate of all types, peppermint, menthol, and rich, buttery foods.
Our CBD diamonds lean pretty strongly toward lemon and pine. So when you look at recipes to try at the start, we recommend choosing lemon-forward foods. Anything citrusy will work well, but so will anything that could use a little citrus or acid.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Use your nose before you cook.
Step 3: Dial back the heat
Terpenes are the aromatic molecules that lend distinctive aromas and flavors to our favorite hemp products. Terpenes are also pretty volatile, so they burn off when heat gets too high. If you choose to bake with CBD diamonds, experts say you should try to keep your oven around 340 degrees Fahrenheit. That way you’ll preserve the terpenes and their flavor.
You don’t need to heat our CBD diamonds at all before consuming them because they’re already activated, though a little heat can help the diamonds dissolve evenly.
Step 4: Enjoy your treat in a calm environment
We like to set the table and light a candle before sitting down to a meal infused with CBD, but maybe that’s just us. If you prefer something more chill, do that. Taste what you’ve made while on the couch with some Netflix. The important thing is that you feel calm and comfortable so you can enjoy the experience.
Then, if you enjoy what you make, share the recipe with us! We’re always excited to try new recipes.