It’s summertime, and that means all the produce is loud, bright, ripe, and bursting with its most juicy terps of the season! You know it when you bite into a piece of fruit, and it literally explodes into juice in your mouth.
If you have ever taken a dab right after eating fresh fruit, you may already know what I am talking about. A delightful enhancement of the flavors of the fruit combined with the rich flavors of the hash to create a new flavor and effect!
I will explore some of my favorite seasonally available pairings in this series.
Food, like cannabis, is full of Terpenes. Through a happy accident and following years of research, we know that eating food rich in Terpenes just before taking a dab of hash enhances both the flavor and effects. The Terpenes from the food on your palate react with the Terpenes in the vapor, often creating new flavors and changing how the dab affects you, such as providing a more powerful initial onset and longer-lasting, more intense euphoric effect.
Terpenes are found in varying combinations and concentrations in cannabis that affect the flavor and aroma and how the other chemical compounds found in cannabis, such as the THC and CBD, affect each individual.
When you do a dab pairing, starting simple rather than complex is ideal. Simple flavors like fruit and spices will be easier to pair.
When selecting fruit for pairings, it is important to factor in flavor first. Sadly our American food system prioritizes looks and shelf life over flavor. If you have access, I suggest farm stands and farmers’ markets (seasonally), co-ops, and local organic grocers as your best source. And, of course, homegrown is best when you can.
The best way to select for flavor is to smell it. Since smell and taste are related, often, I find the aroma is a good precursor to the flavor. I have also found that when doing pairings, riper is better. If it looks like it is at its peak—then it’s prime. Soft and squishy makes for more juice. More juice equals more flavor. But you never want to overdo it either— there is a small window between prime ripeness and spoiled.
The pairing that started it all: Strawberries and OG Kush
Strawberries and sweet gassy kush cultivars are still one of my favorite pairings of all time, and coincidentally the pairing that started it all.
The Strawberries and Sweet, gassy cultivars, such as OG Kush, are high in the Terpene Linalool. Linalool has a relaxing, euphoric effect. Just as mangoes, which are high in Myrcene, are known to increase the couch-locked effect, combining Linalool terpenes from two different sources seems to increase the euphoric effect resulting in a rush of increased euphoric high.
Linalool is the terpene responsible for a relaxing effect. It is so powerfully concentrated that only the littlest bit is needed to drastically impact the intensity of its relaxing effect.
The flavor combination of these two is out of this world. It increases the sweetness of the strawberries, and when combined with the gassy flavor of OG, they create a completely new, different, extremely complimentary flavor. If you only try one pairing, I highly recommend this one.
For this experiment, I recommend using ripe strawberries- preferably from a farm stand or farmer’s market if you have access. My favorite variety is the Chandlers (only available in the spring and early summer).
The very first time I tried this combination was back in 2013/2014 when slabs were still a thing, and I had a fat slab of nug run OG I was smoking on. I had also made myself a very strawberry heavy strawberry orange juice from the chandler strawberries I had just purchased from Swanton Berry Farm at the farmers’ market.
I took a big sip of the juice and then took a dab, and something magical happened on my palate when I dabbed the OG while the juice coated the inside of my mouth. All my taste buds and their receptors in my brain lit up at once and went into overdrive. A new flavor was made, and I was overcome with an intense euphoria. So I took another, and another—you know, for the sake of research.
Then I ran out of juice, so I grabbed the basket of strawberries from the fridge and proceeded to eat one before taking my dab. It was definitely the strawberries because I kept experiencing the same flavor and effect when I combined the two, so long as the fruit preceded the dab. Several hours and baskets of strawberries later, I was very late to whatever I had to do that day, but something magical had happened- that day forever changed my life; strawberries and OG was born, and I began my journey to becoming the hash sommelier!
Feature photo Credit: Terp.Atelier
Sarah Jane Bergman is the Hash Sommelier and a Certified Ganjier. She specializes in high-quality small-batch concentrates, food + dab pairings, and educational tasting demos. Sarah has 14+ years of experience in the cannabis industry. She started out as a professional model and cannabis influencer, which allowed her to travel and live abroad. Her passion for cannabis and hash brought her to California, then Amsterdam, and on to Barcelona, where she launched her first international hash competition- “Hash Masters Challenge,” helping guide the developing Barcelona cannabis scene in a more dab-friendly way than the rest of Europe. Back in California, she continued to pursue her passion for her food and hash pairings developing her Hash Sommelier brand and ultimately getting her Ganjier Certification when the program first launched in 2021. Over the last decade, she has judged concentrates for some of the most prestigious competitions in the industry, adding the crown jewel of cannabis competitions- The Emerald Cup to the list. The services she currently offers include high-end tasting dinners, dab pairing bars, cannabis concierge services, private events, product reviews and ratings, Budtender training, and more education and speaking.