The fan leaves from cannabis plants are recognizable by most people, yet often get overlooked in actual importance. Fan-leaves ultimately act as the plant's solar panels, turning sunlight into energy. Throughout the season, it's helpful to prune these leaves to allow for better flower yield and overall plant growth; a process called defoliation. While most people may just dispose of or compost them, fan leaves are actually really versatile and have many uses. Instead of overlooking them, challenge yourself to view them in a new light.
I love to use these leaves raw as I would any leafy green, like in a salad, blended into a smoothie, juiced, or chopped up and used in the same ways as an herb. Similarly, mixing them into cooked recipes like a baked pasta, curry, or omelette is another great way to utilize them.
When these leaves are raw they contain cannabinoid acids, which are becoming known to be anti-inflammatory in ways that many superfoods are. When heat is applied a process called decarboxylation occurs. Decarboxylation allows the cannabinoids to get converted into their active forms, turning them into THC and CBD. Mind you, the fan leaves only contain a very small amount of THC/CBD whether active or not, so it would take ingesting A LOT of fan leaves to feel any sort of "high". The fact that the THC/CBD levels are so low in fan leaves is exactly what makes them so easy to integrate into your kitchen. It's just a green leafy plant!
One of my favourite ways to use fan leaves is in this spicy, acidic, flavour-packed chimichurri.
The best thing about chimichurri, is that you really cant go wrong with your herb choices. This means that you can almost always just throw one together using whatever you have around! I love adding in things like tarragon, basil, mint, pineapple sage, carrot/radish/beet tops, etc. Similarly, I highly recommend experimenting with add-ins like shallot, red onion, jalapeno, avocado, or roasted garlic, which will really help take the flavour to another level.
I make some kind of variation of this probably once every-other-week if it's summertime. I use it as a topping for pizzas, portobello mushroom or cauliflower steaks, over BBQ's veggies, on freshly toasted crispy bread, etc. It's such a fresh and vibrant item to have stashed in your fridge.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 BUNCH CANNABIS FAN LEAVES (stems removed)
1 BUNCH PARSLEY (stems removed)
1 BUNCH CILANTRO (stems included)
1/2 BUNCH CHIVES
1/4-1/2 OF A FRESH CHILI
3 CLOVES OF GARLIC
1/4 TSP DRIED CHILI FLAKES
2 TBSP RED/WHITE WINE VINEGAR/ACV
1/2 FRESH SQUEEZED LEMON OR LIME (ABOUT 2-3TBSP)
SALT AND PEPPER
Finely chop all herbs: cannabis leaves, parsley, cilantro, chives, and place in a bowl. Very finely chop the chili and garlic and add it to the bowl. Add dried chili flakes, about 1 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Add in vinegar of choice, and lemon/lime juice. Then add enough olive oil to top off your herbs - usually about 1/2 a cup. Mix very well with a fork. Taste, and season with extra salt and pepper accordingly. I like to let it sit for 30mins- 1 hour before eating, as I find it allows the flavours to mell together.
This will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Ensure there is enough olive oil to cover the herbs, as it helps keep it fresh for longer. You can also freeze leftovers in ice-cube trays and pop them out for future use.