Freeze-Dried Flowers_ Everything You Need to know

Freeze-Dried Flowers: Everything You Need to Know

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Whether it’s a flower arrangement from your wedding, a corsage from your prom, or just an elegant bouquet you want to preserve as a keepsake, freeze-drying is the way to go.

So, if you’re looking for ways to preserve and maintain flowers without losing their soft texture and vibrant colors, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a guide on how to freeze-dry flowers so you can get beautiful, colorful blooms to enjoy for years to come.

freeze dried flower shadow box

What Are Freeze-Dried Flowers?

Freeze-drying, known as lyophilization, is about preserving blooms in the form of timeless mementos.

For years, it was used to preserve meat, seafood, dairy products, candies, dog food and other cool items. But, botanists recently discovered that it can also be used on other organic materials such as flowers. Unlike air drying, freeze-drying is a reliable way to maintain the texture, color, size, and shape of your blooms.

The process is pretty straightforward. First, the flowers are carefully placed on trays and loaded into a freeze-drier to lock in the moisture.

Then, the air within the chamber is pumped out, creating a vacuum, forcing the frozen moisture to turn into vapor. When the vapor comes in contact with the icy-cold condenser, it turns back into solid ice.

Through this process, known as sublimation, the blooms are able to retain their size and shape.

Sometimes, chemical enhancements are added to preserve the flowers’ color while protecting them from environmental changes.

The end result is a beautifully preserved bouquet of vibrant flowers that will last for many years.

How Long Do Freeze-Dried Flowers Last?

Even though freeze-drying doesn’t mean flowers can last forever, it does mean they’ll probably last well beyond their natural lifetime expectancy.

With proper care and maintenance, your freeze-dried blooms will remain fresh and vibrant for about 2–3 years. Make sure you keep them in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight, humid areas, and drafts.

freeze dried flower

Can You Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Flowers?

Yes, you can!

If your freeze-dried flowers are starting to show signs of drying out or fading, you can rehydrate them to restore their soft texture and vibrant colors.

The easiest way to do that is to put them in the bathroom with you when you take a shower. The petals will absorb the steam, which will help revive your blooms and even make their colors pop.

Are Freeze-Dried Flowers Biodegradable?

Yes, freeze-dried flowers are 100% biodegradable! They’re an eco-friendly way to decorate and preserve special memories.

Then, once they’ve lost their appeal, you have the peace of mind of knowing that they’ll naturally break down and biodegrade.

freeze dried edible flowers

How to Freeze-Dry Flowers at Home?

To freeze-dry flowers at home, you need to do the following:

  1. Buy a freeze-drying machine from a home supply store or online.
  2. Prepare the flowers. For best results, pick flowers that are mature and open.
  3. If you’re using fresh-cut flowers, place them in some water for up to 12 hours to absorb as much moisture as they can. Then, remove the leaves and cut the stem to the desired length depending on the type of arrangement you have in mind.
  4. If you’re using a bouquet or corsage, you’ll need to gently take it apart.
  5. Pre-cool the machine to -5℉.
  6. Space out the flowers on the tray in a single layer.
  7. Slide the tray into the machine and close the door tightly.
  8. Press ‘Start’ and let the machine work its magic.
  9. After the first 24 hours, increase the temperature from -5℉ to 0℉. Continue raising the temperature every other day for 10 days until you reach 20℉.
  10. After 10 days, check the flowers. If they’re cold, it means they still contain moisture and need to go back in the machine for another day. If not, that means you can remove them from the machine.

Freeze-Dried Flowers

How Long Does it Take to Freeze-Dry Flowers?

On average, freeze-drying flowers takes about 10 to 12 days. After the 10th day, you should take out the tray and touch the flowers. If they are still cold, they still contain moisture and need to be freeze-dried for longer.

How long it takes to freeze dry largely depends on the heat and humidity outside. If the weather is hot and humid, it can take another couple of days to ensure they’re fully dried.

But the exact time it takes flowers to freeze-dry depends on several factors, including:

  • The time of year; the process takes longer in the warmer months
  • The location of the freeze-dryer: the process takes less time if the dryer is in a cool basement compared to a hot garage
  • The size of the flowers
  • The amount of blooms you’re planning on placing in the freeze-dryer

How to Store Freeze-Dried Flowers

For decorative purposes, the most effective way to store freeze-dried flowers is to place them in a shadow box, which is an enclosed display case with a glass front.

First, measure the height of the flowers. This will help you pick out a box that’s deep enough so it doesn’t flatten the blooms.

Next, add hot glue to the bottom of the flowers or stems if they’re small. Then, arrange the flowers on the back of the shadow box. Make sure you leave about half an inch around all the edges.

After the glue has dried, gently place the back in place and secure the metal tabs in place. Finally, flip over the shadow box and enjoy your beautiful blooms.

Which Flowers Can Be Freeze-Dried?

You can freeze-dry almost any type of flower that you can fit into the freeze-dryer.

For smaller flowers, like celosia, lavender, or amaranth, you can keep the blooms attached to their stems. This will help retain their shape and make them easier to place on the trays.

Alternatively, for more substantial blooms, like zinnias and roses, you’ll need to snip the stem right under the pedicels. Doing this will allow the buds to fit into the freezer-dryer shelves without getting crushed or flattened.

You can also freeze-dry edible flowers, such as orchids and pansies. Then, anytime you want to add some excitement and bright colors to any dish, simply place a couple of freeze-dried flowers. Freeze-dried edible flowers can help transform a boring dish into something new and beautiful.

The only exceptions are poisonous flowers like Aconitum, Angel’s Trumpet, Morning Glory, and Stink Lily.

Final Thoughts

Freeze-dried flowers are a beautiful way to add color and vibrancy. You can use them to garnish your dinner table, as office decorations, or as accents on the wall at home.

Freeze-drying edible flowers is another wonderful way to decorate cakes, smoothies, cocktails, and even just a run-of-the-mill Tuesday dinner plate.

By preserving the shape, size, and vibrant colors of these blooms, they can last longer and maybe even hang on to their fragrance just a little bit more.

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