Marijuana and food have one thing in common — they make people very happy.
It’s difficult to find a better pairing for meals. Even wine doesn’t offer as many combinations with meals as marijuana.
Not only is cannabis a great cooking ingredient, but it can also spice up your next meal when you smoke or vape it beforehand.
The question is: how to go about pairing marijuana with meals for best results? How do you get the most out of both your strain and cooking ingredients?
Even if you haven’t paired food with anything before, don’t be afraid to try it — it’s easier than you think. In fact, sometimes, all you need to do is trust your nose.
And if you haven’t been born with a flavor radar, we’re here to help you out with our guide.
Read on and learn everything there is to know about pairing marijuana with meals.
Basic Principles of Pairing Marijuana With Meals
All marijuana pairings start with an understanding of terpenes — the naturally occurring aromatic compounds that give each strain its unique fragrances and flavors.
Terpenes are found in different concentrations depending on the strain, with all varieties containing at least a few different terpenes. For example, strains redolent of exotic fruits (e.g. Mango Haze or Pineapple Express) have a high terpene content; on the other hand, strains like Jack Herer are rich in pinene, meaning they smell like a fresh forest.
Terpenes are also present in food. They are responsible for the flavors, aromas, and health benefits in everything from strawberries and cucumbers to seafood and spices.
1. Use Marijuana Terpenes to Highlight or Complement Certain Flavors
The key to successfully pairing marijuana with meals is to match the aroma and flavor profiles of your strain with other aromas and flavors that accentuate or complement them.
That’s how you pair food with wine. For the record, wine comes from fermented grapes — and grapes have their own set of terpenes, too.
Now to the point: say you’re making some cuban pulled pork and the recipe you’re using calls for a squeeze of juice from different citrus fruits: lime, lemon, orange, etc. A lemony strain, such as Lemon Skunk, will help draw out those lemon flavors from the dish.
That’s how you accentuate certain flavors with marijuana.
But what about the complementary notes?
Imagine you’re making a lemon tart for dessert. Such recipes are made for strains carrying grape or berry notes, such as Blueberry, to level out those sweet and sour tones. Whether you choose similar or contrasting flavors is up to your preferences — there are usually no wrong answers when it comes to pairing marijuana with meals.
It actually boils down to whether YOU like it or not.
Remember that everybody has a unique body chemistry, past experiences, and comes from a different culinary culture. That’s why we experience flavors a bit differently.
2. Pick Marijuana Strains With a High Terpene Content
If this is your first time pairing marijuana with meals, we suggest that you pick a strain with a high terpene content. In other words, choose a bud that will let you know of its presence from the first waft.
It’s in a good tone to ask your local budtender about the levels of terpenes in any given strain — usually, 2–4% total terpene content is considered high.
Smell your flowers and consider what do you smell. Is it earthy? Woody? Are there more spicy notes or is the strain dominated by sweet and pungent fragrances?
Once you’ve answered these questions, think about what foods and/or beverages would go well with it.
For example, stocking your nose in a jar of stinky Buddha Cheese may inspire you to cook some cheesy casserole or mushroom risotto with blue cheese.
Girl Scout Cookies, in turn, should pair well with cherry desserts and dark meat.
3. Use the Strain’s Name as a Clue for Pairing Marijuana with Meal
Descriptively named strains can give you a hint as to what meals could go well with their flowers. Tangerine is named for its juicy orange sweetness, so you can use it for eating some orange chicken or drinking mint iced tea.
By the same token, you can use Strawberry Cheesecake to enjoy fruity desserts that leave a dry aftertaste on the palate.
4. Choose Vaping Over Smoking
Vaping is hands down the best consumption method when it comes to pairing marijuana with meals. Vaporization allows for precise terpene extraction without destroying them like combustion does. You can even customize which terpenes you want to inhale by manipulating the temperature settings in more advanced models.
Practice makes perfect — it’s an obvious truth but some people tend to forget it, looking for miracle techniques for pairing marijuana with meals.
Pairing isn’t any kind of science, so you essentially need to follow your gut — or nose, for that part. The most important thing is to learn what you like and play around enough with your food and strains. Be sure to write down whether you like a new pairing to learn from your experience.
Basic Marijuana & Meal Pairings for Beginners
Here are a few basic pairings that you can use to get yourself started on this beautiful adventure:
- Hawaiian Pizza and Pineapple Express — if you savor this controversial type of pizza (we believe that everybody does), then you’re in for a treat with a hit of sweet, tropical Pineapple Express to accentuate the flavor of your dish
- Spinach Strawberry Salad with Blue Cheese — a fresh salad straight from farmers, particularly one with sliced strawberries, is only made better with this indica-dominant strain. And those cheesy notes!
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sour Diesel — this classic dessert just screams for being offset with the pungent, earthy flavor of the Sour Diesel strain.
How do you pair marijuana with meals? What are your favorite strains for both savory meals and desserts? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!