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On this page I'll talk about the methods that I use for flowers, herbs and fruits.
I use: 1. air-drying 2. oven 3. microwave 4. desiccants - silica gel 5. glycerin - mixture of water and glycerin - air dry 6. dehydrator 7. press drying
Drying flowers, herbs and fruits. Herbs:
I use mostly, air-drying, dehydrator, oven and the microwave.
Now I use the oven. I was careless with the microwave a couple of times and I was forbidden from using it again. I don't know what's their problem. I'm getting use to the large brown spot in the microwave. I'm being good. Now, I use the oven and my kids always know that Christmas is just around the corner by the smell. Burnt pinecones at our home is one of our Christmas fragrances. :)
I use the dehydrator. It makes the best raisins and apple slices.
I use air-drying, hanging method or a screen and let it air-dry.
A cookie tray lined with paper towel works well too. Stir a couple times during the day until it's fully dry.
I've just about used everything that's easy to do on flowers. Air-drying, air-drying with glycerin, microwave, oven, dehydrator, silica gel and press drying.
Air-drying has to be the easiest method, but sometimes I need different results.
When using the air-drying method, the plant material will be hard and brittle. It works for some things.
To hang and dry, I just tie bunches with elastic bands. I prefer rubber-bands to string because as the stems dry they'll shrink and the rubber-bands will compensate for the shrinkage.
When air-drying herbs, I also thread my herb bunches through the bottom of a paper bag and then hang them. That keeps some of the dust off my herbs. I love the look of bunches of herbs and flowers hanging everywhere, but I don't like the dust.
To air-dry, I hang them in a warm, dry place and out of the sunlight.
I've used this method on flowers and herbs.
I have used this method on flowers and leaves.
Basically I just mix 1 part of glycerin to 2 parts of water.
Pour in it in a vase and display my flowers.
The flowers will soak up the glycerin water and leaving your flowers and leaves supple when dry.
I do keep an eye on my bouquet, if I have roses in glycerin and the flower is drooped over, I'll bunch them up and hang them to dry right away.
When the flowers and leaves are dried using this method, they'll feel supple and not hard or crumble to the touch. I tried this method on leaves that I wanted to paint. It was a lot easier to paint on the leaves after they were dried with glycerin.
With leaves; I soaked them in glycerine for a few minutes and then press them.
I use the dehydrator mostly for fruits, but it works on flowers and leaves as well.
Desiccants - silica gel:
I used this method on the microwave with rose buds. The colours were beautiful.
Spoon some silica gel on the shallow dish.
Set your flowers in the silica gel and spoon in the remaining silica gel over the blossoms making sure every crevice is full.
Add one cup of water to your microwave, put dish in with flowers and turn microwave on for 1 to 2 minutes at a time and check. Or just set your flowers in silica gel and wait.
Microwave is definitely a lot faster way of dry anything.
It's just you have to watch it. I usually start it on high for a minute or two.
I also line my microwave tray with paper towel to absorb the moisture.
Can't forget the oven, it was invented long before the microwave. :)
I've used the oven to dry pinecones or sterilize a lot of big stuff from the garden as well.
I line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and cook whatever for a while. I cook Pinecones until the pitch glazes over.
Soil, I sterilize it in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
When I'm making pinecone wreaths,
I use the oven to evict the small critters from my pinecone wreaths, but it also melts the pitch from the pinecones giving my pinecones a free shine.
It's also a bonus when the pitch glues my wreath together for me.
One less thing that I've to do and the glue doesn't look natural on a pinecone wreath anyway. :)
With the wreath I use a wire frame, insert all of the pinecones, line a cookie sheet and put the whole wreath in the oven and bake until the pitch is all melted.
Let the wreath cool and decorate as usual.
Drying big head flowers, like sunflowers.
I soak the whole sunflower in glycerin and then let it drip dry in framed chicken wire.
I poke my sunflowers through the mesh screen and let it sunflower head rest on the screen and dry it away from the sunlight.
Fresh versus dried herbs Video
P.Allen Smith Says: