How to ‘Decarb’ and Infuse Medicinal Hemp Using Your Oven and Stovetop
If you're new to making homemade edibles, you may have experienced the trial and error of getting that mouthwatering recipe just right. That could include the correct method of incorporating your medicinal flower into your creations, whether by infusing your butter, other carrier oil, or some other creative means.
You may have just added some ground flower to the recipe, thinking that would provide you the same psychoactive effects as the store-bought edibles you've enjoyed in the past, but to no avail. Or perhaps, at one time or another, you chewed on some hemp flower and wondered why nothing happened.
Consuming hemp via either of these techniques won't create the edible effects for which you're using the plant. Your medicinal flower needs to be activated through a process called 'decarboxylation', (or ‘decarbing' for short), to feel any intoxicating effects.
The process of decarboxylation involves carefully heating your flower at a particular temperature over a specific period of time, which can vary depending on several factors.
Your medicinal hemp has very little of the active ingredients in it when it is still part of the live plant, or even when it’s been dried. In its natural form, the hemp plant produces compounds in an acid form. The chemical chain of the raw flower has an ‘A’ (acid) that makes the flower almost inert. It must be removed (or activated) for humans to feel its psychoactive effects. Decarbing removes this ‘A’ (acid) from the chemical chain and turns it into a form of the active ingredients that the body can use. ‘Activating’ the plant means the chemical chain has been broken and has had the carboxyl group removed— hence the term ‘de-carboxyl-ation.’
There are a variety of methods you can experiment with when it comes to decarbing your flower for your edible creations. If you don’t have an infusion device with decarb capabilities like LĒVO machines, you will need to rely on the methods laid out below.
How to Decarb Your Medicinal Flower
Decarbing your flower for your homemade edibles is vital to feeling the desired effects of your brownies, gummies or other infused treats. Researchers have found that using the method below to decarb your medicinal hemp will convert 80 percent of the psychoactive composites into active compounds for the body and mind to utilize and enjoy. Using a LĒVO machine gets you closer to 99%! To decarboxylate your flower using the oven, follow the directions below.
- A baking sheet
- Aluminum foil (shiny side up) or parchment paper for easy cleanup
- Your chosen strain of medicinal flower
1. Preheat the oven to 250° Fahrenheit or 120° Celsius.
Note: Your physical altitude above sea level as well as working with older ovens, can cause a variation in your oven's temperature. It is best to use a secondary, oven-safe thermometer to double-check your oven's actual temperature.
2. Break the hemp flower into small but uniform-sized pieces and place them onto the lined baking sheet. Avoid grinding as it increases the chance of it burning. Grinding your hemp too finely can also make it more challenging to strain during the infusion process. Go for a small pea-size.
3. Bake the flower for exactly 30 minutes. Use a spatula to gently toss your flower every 10 minutes or so. Doing this helps ensure uniform activation of your flower while reducing the odds of it burning.
Note: Using this antiquated method of decarbing requires constant attention, as your flower can burn easily. If you smell burning at any point during the decarboxylation process,, remove the tray immediately.
Note: This process will make your kitchen and possibly your whole house smell, so keep this in mind when choosing the time to decarb your flower if you’re not using LĒVO. Keeping a window open for ventilation is also recommended when decarbing using an oven.
4. Remove your tray from the oven and allow the flower to cool. There may be some liquid on the baking surface, but know that it has no intoxicating properties and itmay taste bad. Removing the activated hemp from the baking sheet while it cools is also recommended.
Decarboxylating your flower for edibles can be exercised more accurately and efficiently when performed using LĒVO infusion machines. These all-in-one kitchen devices can dry, decarb and infuse at the click of a button. It's simple, mess-free and takes the confusion out of infusion!
An Alternative Stovetop Method to Decarb Your Flower
If you prefer not to use an oven, consider another decarbing option (with less smell). Note: A variation of this stove-top method could be performed using a crock-pot or slow cooker.
- Stovetop (Crock-pot/slow cooker)
- Large Pot filled halfway with cold water
- Sealed Mason jar
- Ground flower
1. Fill a large pot about halfway with cold water. It's important to start with cold water so that the mason jar doesn't crack.
2. Add a sealed mason jar containing your ground, medicinal herb to the pot.
3. Bring the water up to a full boil, and then immediately drop the temperature back down to a low simmer for at least 90 minutes, keeping the jar in place.
Note: It is crucial to ensure the water doesn't boil off while it is simmering. This could cause a number of problems, the least of them being your jar would crack!
4. Approximately every 15 minutes, safely remove the jar from the water. Using oven mitts, shake the contents of the jar. You should see bits of the flower sticking to the sides of the jar (this is a good sign). Place the jar back in the water before it cools too much. Repeat this step every 15 minutes until it has simmered for a total of at least 90 minutes.
Note: This method will help contain the smell in your kitchen. Ensure the jar has cooled completely before opening, storing, infusing or using the decarbed contents in a recipe.
Infusing the Activated Hemp
Activated hemp can be added directly into an edible recipe, though it is rather undesired. Imagine infused brownies with hemp flower stuck in your teeth? Not ideal.
The best way to prepare any type of edible is to infuse your decarbed flower into butter, coconut oil, or other carrier oil. To infuse your activated hemp into butter using the stovetop method, follow the instructions below.
1. Add 1 pound (4 full sticks) of unsalted butter to a pot and heat it on low until it melts.
2. Add 7-14g of your decarbed flower directly into your melted butter. Stir in 2-3g at a time, repeat until all of your decarbed flower is incorporated into the butter.
Note: Scale down this ratio to your desired potency.
3. Allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Separate your infused butter from the plant material using a fine-mesh metal strainer, or a cheesecloth. Squeeze the mixture gently with a spoon to get all of the infused butter out of your straining device. If some plant matter escapes into your infused product, you may want to strain it a second time. Be sure to do this quickly before the butter starts to cool.
5. Store your infused butter in a lidded mason jar. Make sure you date and label your infusion. Keep in mind that infused butter, when properly stored, should last for approximately 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
6. Now you can use your infused butter in your cooking or baking!
Note: Remember to try your measured creations yourself before offering them to others. Take your time and enjoy the process. It's always best to manage your infused recipes by trying a little bit at a time and waiting at least an hour before partaking in more. This process helps you to know how to portion your edibles and what to safely recommend or share with family and friends. *This is especially important to those less familiar with infused edibles.
If you're looking to make edibles or infused items at home, there are various ways to activate your medicinal hemp in preparation to infuse with butter or chosen carrier oil. If you don't have a LĒVO infusion machine (and why not?!), you can always decarb and infuse your hemp by hand by using the oven or stovetop methods explored above. However, keep in mind that these methods require close attention for their safe preparation. The benefit of LĒVO is that it streamlines the process of drying, activating, and infusing your flower. It controls the process for you so that with the touch of a button, you can step away, knowing your infusion will turn out the way you envision it to be.
Isn't it time to expand your repertoire of culinary arts into the world of home infusions? LĒVO has a library of recipes, educational content, calculators, photos, and MORE available on our website. Visit us on YouTube to see videos of recipes and our products in action! Not sure where to start? Take the LĒVO Quiz to see which machine is suitable for you! #LĒVOmade
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