I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2018 Vancouver LIFT Expo where industry professionals gathered from around the country to network and participate in conversations about medical and soon to be recreational cannabis. This was the busiest LIFT expo to date, having been to the Toronto Expo back in April – there was an energy in the convention centre that you just couldn’t describe!
On Saturday I gave a cooking demonstration as well as spoke on a panel about women in the cannabis industry with some pretty kick ass women. The cooking demo focused on how to properly infuse cannabis into different foods and highlighting terpenes that vary from strain to strain.
For those that don’t know, terpenes (also called terpenoids) are located in the trichomes (the resiny sack on the plant) along with cannabinoids and flavonoids, and give cannabis its smell and flavour, and produce a biochemical effect. I usually give the example of the terpene Linalool, found in Lavender as well as the cannabis plant, which is well known for its relaxing effect on the body. Well, there are about 30 other terpenes that we’ve discovered in cannabis that all have different effects, and are now being considered the compounds that drive your overall experience.
Tilray, a Licensed Producer in British Columbia, was kind enough to sponsor my demo and hooked me up with two of my favourite strains; White Widow, an Indica dominant strain that has a creative and uplifting start from with a nice clam, relaxing finish without tiring you out too much, and Jack Herer – a classic sativa with some great energetic and mood elevating properties.
When choosing which strain I wanted to use, I went for something that would pair well with my dish; Turmeric Poached Pears with Coconut Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce with hints of star anise and ginger. Two of the dominant terpenes found in White Widow are Myrcene (earthy) and Limonene (citrusy) which would work really well to give the caramel sauce an extra oomph.
Now, terpenes are the most volatile compounds in the cannabis plant, meaning that they can be destroyed easily in low temperatures, so much so that even if your bud is laying around or in too hot of an environment, they start to off-gas (that’s why cannabis smells so potent) and you can lose a lot of the beneficial effects. That’s why temperature control is so important! You can check out my decarboxylation post for a bunch of different ways to activate and extract your oils, but for this demo I was lucky enough to use the LEVO oil extractor and I have fallen in love! Simply combine your herb with oil of your choosing, press a button, and walk away! The LEVO produces a beautiful, terpene rich extraction – more to come on this fantastic machine soon! Now for the recipes:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to cook over medium-low heat on a slow simmer, whisking often. As it begins to come together and thicken, you will need to whisk more frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn. Allow the sauce to cook for 20-30 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon and has turned a nice golden to darker brown colour. It will thicken slightly as it cools.
Once the sauce has cooled down slightly you can incorporate your cannabis coconut oil by whisking in 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp per serving. The coconut oil infusion I had made only had 5mg of THC for a delightful, indicia dominant hybrid end to an infused dinner experience.
Turmeric Poached Pear
1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 star anise
1 bottle of sweet Moscato white wine
2 tsp turmeric
1-2 pears, peeled and poached whole, or sliced as desired
Combine wine, turmeric, ginger and star anise in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil to infuse the spices. Add pears and poach for 30-40 minutes (for full pears) or until they pierce easily with a fork/knife.
Plate with your caramel sauce, some candied nuts, coconut whip, or other fresh fruit. Enjoy responsibly!!