To celebrate 4/20 and all things munchies, CULTURE chatted with culinary specialist Rachel Burkons, master of all things cannabis baking and cooking. From classic edibles like gummies or brownies to high-end cannabis-infused creations, Burkons broke down food, cannabis and the intersection of the two.
What got you interested in cannabis and cooking, and why do you think they are such a good pairing?
I think that food is an incredible tool in normalizing and educating about cannabis. We all eat, so there’s a universal understanding of how food plays a role in our daily lives and routines, so incorporating cannabis into that space feels less foreign to people who are new to the plant.
What are some of the best recipes to make into cannabis-infused goodies?
The best thing about cooking with cannabis is that anything can be an infused dish! Working with a base of infused olive oil or butter gives you endless applications for using cannabis in your cooking. Once you understand the basics of the science behind cooking with cannabis, you have the tools you need to incorporate your infusions into nearly anything! That said, I tend to keep a jar of infused oil around to make quick and easy dips and dressings, or just drizzle on top of whatever it is I’m eating!
What benefits can patients and recreational consumers get from making their own edibles?
First of all, making your own edibles is an incredibly cost efficient way to consume cannabis. For example, I purchased an eighth of the Caliva Alien OG to make an infusion. In one gram of that flower, I’m able to capture 321mg of THC. One gram of flower is a pretty small amount—but it can make more than 300mg of infusions!
Secondly, when you’re making your own infusions, as I said above, you can infuse anything you want—smoothies, coffee, healthy foods, etc., so you don’t need to only consume edibles that are more like candy than food. This is especially important for people who use cannabis for its medicinal effects and for those who don’t want to be limited to retail options like gummies and candies.
What do you think of the fact that Food Network is taking on cannabis-related cooking shows?
I think it’s amazing! I’ve had the opportunity to work with several of the chefs featured on the new season, and I am so excited for them to have this platform to show their talents and educate the world about cannabis.
What is your favorite strain to cook with, and why?
I don’t have a favorite strain to cook with, but I do love pairing various varieties with food and treating cannabis pairings like one might treat wine pairings. I tend to find that bright, citrusy varieties pairing beautifully with foods that are light and fresh, while more heady, myrcene-dominant varieties can stand up to bold, robust food flavors.
Do you think cooking with cannabis can help take away the stigma?
10,000 percent! I think that food is the best way to teach people about cannabis!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re interested in learning more and joining the culinary cannabis community, please check out an organization I am a part of called Crop-to-Kitchen which advocates for the culinary cannabis community and industry.
You can also check out Burkon’s cooking sessions on Caliva’s 420 Session program this month!