Want a cannabis-infused holiday meal? Read this

cannabis-infused holiday meal

The holidays are upon us. Big box stores are setting up dancing Santa displays, and houses on the block are beginning to twinkle with festive lights. But winter holidays aren’t just about shopping and decor–there’s also the food.

Every American family has their own holiday culinary traditions. These recipes can harken back to when the family first moved to the U.S., or they can be regional, inspired by local produce or immigrant groups that settled in the area.

My aunt made a potato casserole that I loved so much that she made me an extra tray on holidays. I can’t eat dairy anymore, but I spend every December fine-tuning my dairy-free version of that cheesy hash brown delight topped with cornflakes. Whatever traditional dishes grace the table, cannabis connoisseurs have likely pondered how they can infuse it–I know that I have.

While I would never recommend unknowingly dosing the family with cannabis cranberry sauce, there could be an infused holiday meal in store this season. Whether it’s one dish diligently stored away from the traditional buffet or a catered dinner party expertly dosed for a social good time–there are many ways to get weed on the menu.

Common methods for infusing dishes

When assessing how to infuse a dish, take stock of its elements. Cannabis must be introduced to fat in the recipe, so seeking these ingredients on the list is the best first step. Those in states with adult-use dispensaries might have more options, though. This rings especially true in more developed markets with more product differentiation.

The classic Crock Pot is always in play for those opting to infuse their own butter. But weed technology has evolved, and now, machines dedicated to making butter, oils, tinctures, and topicals from flower and extracts are available.

I have used most cannabis infusion machines and recommend this method to anyone who has the funds to get one. A home chef can offset some legwork buying products at the dispensary to include in the recipes.

In California, It’s All About Choices offers inventive edible products that break the mold. A few of them, like the Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Soup Mix, and an array of seasonings, make the brand a solid option for a home chef seeking to elevate their dinner party.

Drink mixes are another excellent way to use cannabis products as an ingredient. There are a lot of canned and bottled cannabis drinks at dispensaries, but keep a lookout for powdered mixes like Brelixi. These products can be used in desserts like jello or mealtime favorites like cranberry sauce. When using this method, taste edibles before banking on them for a recipe. Some will add extra flavor. Brelixi comes in flavors that will add to the dish, and others might have some dankness to them (a.k.a. they taste like the kind herb).

There are also brands that sell the infused fats to take home and cook with. In Washington, Double Delicious sells Infusionz, THC-infused vials of liquid coconut oil. Californians can enjoy cooking with Clarified cannabis ghee. Over in Minnesota, Dope Roots offers a hemp butter spread.

There are many options for the home chef interested in cooking with weed. However you decide to add the plant to dinner, consider the dose before serving it up.

Considerations for serving cannabis

Flavor, texture, color, and aroma are all top of mind while cooking dinner. But this one thing is more important when cannabis is on the ingredient list: dosing. There should be ample consideration of dosing and cannabinoid content when making the grocery list for a weed dinner party.

The camp that chooses to infuse its ingredients will need to do some math to accurately distribute cannabinoids in each serving. There are online butter calculators or equations in cannabis cookbooks. I specifically like the one laid out in The Weed Gummies Cookbook.

Much of the equating is already done in cannabis products, making this ideal for those who don’t like math. Lots of dispensary products are 10 milligrams, which is an impactful dose for many. Instead of serving the products outright, stretch them out so they offer about 1-2 mg per serving.

Mix products like Choices Garlic Mashed Potatoes into an unadulterated large batch, or their onion soup into the green bean casserole. Add drink mixes to a pot of cranberry sauce that serves eight to 10 or sprinkled into raw sugar to line the rim of a mocktail.

There are lots of ways to add weed to food, but when serving it to friends, safety is of the utmost importance. If children are present, consider opting out of having a shared cannabis offering. Additionally, nobody wants to green out, an intense experience that equates to a THC overdose, so play it safe and do the math.

While planning the menu, consider adding CBD or making dishes between THC dishes with CBD instead of the heavily psychoactive cannabinoid. The two compounds can help balance one another, so play around with cannabinoids to influence guests’ experiences.

There’s some extra work to do when weed is on the menu. The cook has to figure out how cannabis will get into a dish and then calculate just how potent each serving will be. Once these things are done, the cooking can start. To me, that’s the fun part. That’s why I have formulated some holiday weed recipes to please the table.

Keep an eye out for those coming soon. In the meantime, take these considerations before serving grandma a heaping THC-mashed potato volcano this season.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.