I use a lot of dried flowers in my crafts and basically the 3 easiest ways to preserve them are by air drying, silica crystals, or pressing. Air drying is by far the easiest. Just tie a string ’round the flowers and hang ’em to dry. Silica crystals are cool because they preserve the original shape and color for the most part. Plus the silica crystals can be reused again and again. (An alternative, but similar method to silica is to put the flowers in a pan of sand and bake them on low for about 20 minutes. It sucks the moisture right out of them). And of course pressing is an irreplaceable method to obtain preserved flowers suitable for note cards or other projects requiring flat blossoms.
A beautiful dried flower wreath is much easier to make than it looks, but it’s very time consuming so be sure you have a couple hours to spend before you try to tackle this project in one sitting.
Everyone knows that flowers are pretty to look at, but a lot of people don’t realize that many of those delicate blossoms are also quite edible. A few years ago at the local farm market I attend, one of the vendors had implemented the ingenuous idea of selling “edible bouquets.” They were exactly what they sound like, aesthetically pleasing bunches of flowers that were also one-hundred percent edible.
A few edible flowers include:
Dandelions – Though generally thought of as a weed, dandelion leaves go great on a salads and rival many traditional vegetables with their health benefits. My family has used the dandelion heads for years to make excellent wine.
Squash blossoms – Those big yellow flowers that appear on your squash vines and eventually turn into pumpkins are very edible and quite delicious when fried up with a little butter and Cinnamon.
Violets – With violets both the flowers and the leaves can be eaten. They make beautiful candied flowers are also a good addition to jelly, so I’m told.
Day lilies – These flowers are often seen growing along the roadside. The blossoms have a sweet flavor even when eaten raw and provide a good source of vitamin C. (A warning, however, they are poisonous to cats)
Honeysuckle – As one might image the tiny blossoms of this plant have a sweet taste and go great when added to salad and the like.
Red Clover – Again, generally thought of as a weed, those big purplish globes that grow out in open meadows have some of the sweetest sugar you’re ever likely to taste. These are so good, I don’t even add them to food, I just grab a few and suck on the blossoms as I’m walking through the field. Tasty!
A fun way to use edible flowers is to “sugarize” them. You can make sugared flowers by boiling together a little water and sugar, which will create a type of paste. Dip your flowers in the sugar paste and let them harden. You can then use them to decorate cakes. Or skip the sugaring process altogether and just decorate the cake directly with the flowers for more vibrant colors. No marzipan roses here!
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf
I made this little teapot flowerpot as a special request for someone at the farm market. She gave me the teapot and asked me if I could do some kind of dried flower arrangement in it.
To make this project you will need:
An empty teapot
Dried flowers (I used two kinds statis, strawflowers, coxcomb and goldenrod, but dried yarrow would also be a nice addition if you have any)
A piece of brightly colored ribbon
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Begin by putting the floral foam in the bottom of the pot (I glued my foam to the bottom of the pot so it wouldn’t move around). Start by sticking a spring of goldenrod right in the center. This will be the base that everything else gets worked around.
Continue adding statis, strawflowers, and coxcomb to all sides of the goldenrod, sticking them firmly into the floral foam. Make sure the goldenrod remains taller than the rest of the arrangement. Keep adding flowers until the entire teapot is filled, then add a 3 or 4 springs of whispy, white statis (it looks similar to dried baby’s breath), so that the stems stick of out of arrangement.
Take a thick piece of statis and coat the stem in hot glue. Slide it into the spout and hold it for a moment so the glue secures it to the inside of the teapot spout. Lastly, form a nice bow out of the ribbon and hot glue it onto the handle of the teapot.
Anyone can air-dry beautiful bouquets of flowers.
Air-drying is one of the easiest, least fuss methods of drying flowers. The downside, however, is that many flowers do not lend themselves to air-drying. Often trial and error is the best way to learn if a particular flower will air-dry well. Flowers with firm, woody stems such as roses, lavender, and coxcomb take very well to air-drying, but flowers with smaller, flimsy stems such as asters and daisies do not.
To air-dry flowers, tie a small bunch of the chosen flower together. Be sure not to put too many flowers in one bunch or they may rot in the middle. Hang the flowers upside down to help them keep their shape. It is best to hang the flowers in a dry place with a bit of airflow. In general, a back bedroom or pantry works very well for air-drying most flowers. Some flowers, such as straw flowers, are an exception to the rule and will dry just about anywhere, including my moist, warm kitchen!
Leave the flowers to hang for three to four weeks, checking periodically to be sure they are not molding. They should feel crispy and crackle under the touch when they are thoroughly dried. Once dried, the flowers can be used for a myriad of craft or decorating projects, or they can simply be left hanging from the ceiling for an aesthetically pleasing effect.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf