With the advent of consumer-grade sous-vide machines from companies like Anova, Sansaire, and Nomiku, getting started with this method of cooking has never been easier or more affordable. If you’re unfamiliar with sous-vide, it's is a technique where food is sealed in plastic bags or canning jars and cooked in a water bath held to a specific temperature. A precisely heated water bath is wonderful for both decarboxylating your main ingredient and infusing your cooking oil or butter. But why is the sous-vide method so perfect for infusing oils, and why should you consider switching from your classic approach to making edibles?
1. Sous-Vide Offers Precise (and Easy) Temperature Control
One of the biggest concerns while infusing canna-oil is the temperature – If it’s too cool, the THC will bind to the oil at a diminished rate (or not bind at all), and if it’s too hot, you’re vaporizing some of the psychoactive ingredients and losing potency.
As a general rule, a higher temperature leads to a faster reaction rate and therefore requires less cooking time to be activated; it should be noted, however, that temperatures above 140 [degrees] C run the risk of beginning to vaporize compounds out of the mixture and temperatures below 90 [degrees] C may not lead to significant chemical conversion on a time scale of less than 24 hours. (ScienceDirect and Perrotin-Brunel, H, Buijs, W, Spronsen, JV, Roosmalen, MJEV, Peters, CJ, Verpoorte, R, Wikamp, GJ. via Wikipedia)
Unlike a saucepan, slow cooker, or double boiler, with a sous-vide you simply input a temperature on the digital display (or your smartphone!) and rest assured, your oil with remain within +/- 1° of the chosen temperature for the entire cooking duration. No fuss, no muss, and I guarantee you’ll get it right the very first time.
Plus, once you’ve found a recipe that works for you (Sousweed has a lot of great ones) and your material, you’ll be able to reproduce it every time. This is great because you’ll never have to worry about accidentally wasting your top shelf bud or hash in a temperature-related cooking accident.
2. Sous-Vide is Hands-Free and Low Stress
Infusing oil can be an all-day process that requires some amount of attention throughout. With sous-vide, the only thing you have to worry about is water evaporation during the cooking process — but with a good lid, saran-wrap, or ping pong balls, you won’t have to baby-sit the infusion process at all!
Additionally, if you feel comfortable leaving a crockpot unattended in your house, you can also feel comfortable leaving your sous-vide unattended, affording you time to do other more important things.
3. Sous-Vide is Courteous and Covert
Decarbing flower in your oven and infusing oil on your stovetop can make one’s kitchen smell a bit dank, which is less than ideal when you have neighbors with sensitive noses or you want to keep your cannabis use private.
Well, it turns out that when you cook your cannabis in an airtight, sealed container that’s also under water, there’s not a whole lot to smell, which means you can whip up a delicious batch of infused goodies without stinking up your kitchen.
Have you ever made edibles with a sous-vide machine? If so, how'd your infusions turn out? Share your experience in the comments!