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Saturday January 15, 2022

By Paul Barach

Freezer with a cannabis chocolate bar on top of other bagged frozen foods. 420 Culture

So, you’ve found yourself with more edibles on hand than you’re looking to consume at the moment. Maybe you baked a big tray of cookies for a party that you had to cancel for some reason. Maybe your favorite brand of gummy just returned to your local dispensary after months of waiting and you wanted to stock up.

Whatever the reason, you have a lot of edibles on hand. This isn’t the worst problem to have, but you want to make sure that they don’t all go bad. That would be a waste of all your time, money, and effort. You can either consume them all once before their expiration date (please, please do not do this) or you can find a way to store them for the long term.

However, storing edibles long term raises some questions. You may be wondering, “Can you freeze pot brownies?” or “Can you freeze cannabutter?” You may even be wondering “Does freezing edibles make them stronger?” (No.)

That’s why PotGuide is here to answer the many ideas and techniques around the question “Can you freeze edibles for long term storage and how?”

Shelf Life of Cannabis Edibles

The good news is that once THC is extracted into cannabutter, oil, or distillate, the activated molecule will lose only a little potency over time. This means that your frozen pot brownies, if properly stored, will hit just about as hard after a month or two as when you pulled them out of the oven.

The bad news is that cannabutter, oil, and baked edibles can spoil pretty fast once they’re out in the air. Most baked edibles aren’t made with a lot of preservatives, which in some ways makes them much healthier than other store bought desserts.

Chocolate chip cookies on a drying rack
Baked goods can go bad quickly, so freezing is a good option to extend their shelf life. photo credit

However, all the sugar and fats that make that treat so tasty also means that mold, mildew, bacteria, and other things you want to avoid will grow pretty quickly on your food and start to colonize it. Most sugar-based edibles like hard candy and gummies can stay good in their containers for a long time without any extra storage steps (besides keeping them in a cool, dry place). So instead, let’s focus on baked goods.

Can You Freeze Pot Brownies or Other Edibles?

While it’s not recommended to store baked goods on your shelves, edibles like pot brownies will last for a while in the freezer and still remain, well, edible. That is, as long as you follow these helpful tips.

Darkness is Your Ally

While light is a necessary part of every plant’s growth, the moment the buds are separated from the branches and packaged is when that relationship should end. Light can degrade cannabis. When freezing edibles for storage, be sure to place them in an opaque container that keeps the light off of them. This will prevent the THC molecules from breaking apart.

Wrap it Up

If you can, avoid putting your edibles in sandwich bags or wrapping them with plastic wrap when you freeze edibles. Not only does the plastic wrap affect the taste, but it can stick to the edibles once frozen and be hard to get off.

Wax paper
Use wax paper rather than plastic to store your edibles. photo credit

Instead, consider using waxed paper when you freeze edibles. This comes off the frozen edible much easier and preserves the taste of your pastries while also making sure they don’t stick together.

If you’re using glass jars or plastic containers to freeze edibles, wrap them in an opaque bag to stop light from coming in. If you’re using plastic bags, it doesn’t hurt to double-wrap them in some black plastic or opaque cloth.

Keep It As Airtight As Possible

Glass Jars and silicone containers are your best bet when you freeze edibles long-term. Both have the advantage of letting in less air and less moisture than other storage methods. Allowing air and moisture in will affect the potency of your frozen edible, as well as leading it to spoil faster since it feeds bacterias and molds.

Glass mason jars with airtight lids
For optimal storage, keep edibles in an airtight container. photo credit

Additionally, though we don’t often think of it as one, air can actually be a pretty destructive substance that contributes to the breakdown of all kinds of substances (like iron), including THC.

If you’re using plastic baggies when you freeze edibles, try to squeeze as much air out of it as possible before freezing your edibles. If you’re using a vacuum sealer when you freeze pot brownies or other edibles, even better.

Save the Date

Whether THC-infused or not, it’s not worth the risk of finding out that what you ate was expired. Luckily there are two pretty clear signs that your frozen edibles are a no-go before they start rioting in your stomach.

Signs of Spoilage When You Freeze Edibles:

  1. If there are condensation droplets in the container, that is a sign that some bacterial reactions could be happening.
  2. If the product feels brittle, dry, or rough, it’s probably gone bad. Your edible should still have a strong smell of weed, and no signs of mildew, mold, or discoloration.

Can You Freeze Cannabutter?

The same rules apply when you freeze cannabutter as when you freeze a pot brownie or other edible. However, you’re much more likely to use a jar or container when you freeze cannabutter or oil, which means there’s extra things to be aware of. First and foremost, when you freeze cannabutter or oil, be sure to leave plenty of room at the top of your jars or containers.

Liquids will expand once they freeze, and that includes frozen cannabutter, oil, and distillate. When you’re freezing cannabutter or infused oil long term, the last thing you want to be dealing with is a cracked glass jar in your freezer. You should also make sure that your freshly made cannabutter/oil reaches room temperature before putting it in the freezer (for the same reason). The same goes with freezing any pot brownies straight out of the oven.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Even wrapped up, airtight, and in the dark, try to consume your frozen cannabutter, oil, or edible within six months of putting it into the deep freeze. Unfortunately, any longer than that and you risk even frozen cannabutter or frozen infused oil going rancid. Bacteria are always on the move, even in the frozen depths. Candies made with pure sugar like hard candy or gummies will last much longer than that since they don’t have the high fat content that bacteria and mold loves.

Four cannabis gummies in the shape of marijuana leaves.
Make sure you consume your edibles before they expire. photo credit

As a side note, chocolate will last up to a year in the freezer, but it may develop a sugar bloom, which is a harmless white film caused by condensation.

Be sure to take the type of food you're storing into consideration whenever you package edibles in the freezer.

Keep it Separated

If you’re freezing cannabutter or oil, a solid tip is to store them in ice cube trays rather than as one whole batch, then store them together in a jar or silicone tray. This way you can grab a couple of doses when you need to cook without having to defrost and refreeze the entire batch.

Similarly, if you’re freezing pot brownies be sure to cut them into smaller portions before wrapping them up for storage. If you’re looking for a smaller dose or trying to ration your supply this is much easier than trying to cut into a frozen pastry.

Storage Solutions

Follow these simple tips once your baking is done and you’ll be able to enjoy your edibles for up to half a year.

Have you had any success storing edibles long term? Share your experiences in the comments!


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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