How to Freeze-Dry Rose Petals
Freeze-dried rose petals can provide a beautiful setting without the worries of color stains and watering. The process of freeze-drying can takes about four weeks to complete and requires a freeze-dryer. Though the process can be lengthy and requires some experience, the results provide realistic petals that are right for any occasion.
Remove your rose petals from the stem. This should be completed gently and by hand using high-quality and healthy roses. The roses should be cut a few days before beginning the process and allowed to open completely. Separate the rose petals by quality and appearance. Choose only well-developed and opened petals that are void of wilting and browning.
Place the selected petals into the freeze-dryer and set the dryer to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The dryer will vacuum the oxygen from the chamber and freeze the petals. The extreme temperatures and lack of oxygen will force the petals to free immediately.
Continue the freeze-drying process. Once the petals are frozen, they need to be brought back to standard room temperature. The chamber will proceed by slowly increasing the temperature, over the course of two weeks. The lack of oxygen allows the water in the petals to change directly from solid ice to gaseous water vapor. This process, sublimation, allows the rose petals to maintain their shape without wilting or decomposing.
Remove the freeze-dried rose petals from the chamber and place them in a storage box or container. These rose petals can last for months when stored appropriately. Always store the petals in a cool, dry place, away from high temperatures, humidity, and sunlight. Never store your freeze-dried rose petals in the freezer because the moist conditions could damage your petals.
Soften your freeze-dried petals by subjecting the petals to small amounts of humidity. Freeze-dried rose petals are somewhat hard to the touch. You can soften this texture by subjecting the petals to small amounts of humidity for short periods. The simplest way to soften these petals is to place them on a bathroom shelf or counter while taking a shower. This will gently soften the petals and brighten their colors. However, too much exposure to humidity can undo the freeze-dried process and cause wilting and browning of the petals.