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For Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries and Special Occasions

The Freeze Drying Process

The Freeze Drying Process and some commonly asked questions

Freeze drying is a process that requires skill, time and effort to produce the best quality petals and we would like to tell you a bit more about it – so hopefully you’ll be able to make an informed and intelligent decision when it comes to choosing the best types of petals for you.

We begin by purchasing superior-grade flowers from all over the world including Holland, South America, South Africa and, of course, the UK. This gives us the breadth of variety and a supply of most flowers throughout the year (the exceptions to this however are peonies and hydrangeas which have much shorter growing seasons). The flowers then travel to us in water and flower conditioner within refrigerated transport which allows them to stay as fresh as the day they were cut. On arrival, we allow the heads to open over 2 or 3 days and then, every flower head is cut from the main stem by hand. Imagine cutting off 5000-6000 heads at one go- it’s a great stress buster!

The roses are then loaded into one of the freeze drying machines - again by hand- and they are then deep frozen over a 24 hour period down to approx. minus 30 degrees centigrade….(very cold!). They are then subjected to a vacuum and a pressure similar to being out in space. Under these conditions, the frozen moisture in the flowers, which is now in a solid state (ie ice), passes directly into a gas (water vapour) in a process known as sublimation. The gas is then attracted to a smaller and much colder (minus 50 degrees centigrade) condenser chamber where it re-forms as ice which is removed at regular intervals – it looks like a giant lollipop. As the liquid stage (water) is bypassed during sublimation, the petals retain their cell structure, colour and shape without decaying. Over a period of around 2 weeks the temperature in the flower chamber is gradually increased until all of the frozen moisture is removed. Complicated but very efficient. We then remove every flower, and then we de-petal every flower-again by hand. We get to know our flowers very well!

There are several advantages of freeze drying over other drying methods and they are that the petals remain the same size as they were when they were fresh, they retain all of their curves and shape, they retain their softness and whilst some colours do darken slightly, in the main, they keep all of their colour and subtlety of shading. The process renders them stain resistant and they are still biodegradable and wholly natural.

Air-drying is another preservation process that is used by some companies, but this leads to the flower petals shrinking and going crispy and dry- and they look more like potpourri. They will also stain if they get wet.

Preservation by glycerine is also used by other companies and whilst the results of this are nearer to freeze drying, the petals will still stain if wet.

Freeze drying is the nearest you will get to using fresh petals without all of the associated hassle – for instance, your florist would have to de-petal fresh flowers on the same morning as your wedding so that they don’t wilt and go brown. They need to use open blooms but not ones past their best as these will quickly look very tired. Fresh petals are also very slippery if they get stood on, and they will stain dresses, white table linen, oak floors etc.

We freeze dry a variety of flowers including roses, hydrangeas, peonies, carnation and delphiniums. None of our flowers are pre-dyed and they are totally natural. We buy the best quality grades of flower because the better the flower that goes in, the better the result. Like everything, if you put in rubbish, this is what comes out. Not all freeze dried petals that are on offer in the market place are of the same quality as ours because lesser grades of flowers are used. We also grade our petals as we de-petal the flowers and any that are torn or miscoloured go straight into our Bargain bags. We offer a sample service so that you can see for yourself the quality, the colours on offer and the size of the petals.

In terms of petal size hydrangeas and roses are very similar (although the hydrangeas are flatter) and are a medium size, the peonies are the biggest, and the carnations are the smallest. All of these petals are suitable for use as throwing confetti or as table decoration. All can be used with cones or baskets but if you want to put them into envelopes then you need to use the flatter petals such as hydrangeas, delphinium or carnations.

Freeze dried petals can last up to a year, but after 4 or 5 months they will start to fade, especially if exposed to prolonged sunlight and humidity. We ensure that all of our petals are sent out with plenty of shelf life so that they will be still perfect for your special day and because of that we tend to send them no more that 6 weeks prior to your wedding. When you receive them, they will be absolutely fine if kept in a dry cupboard out of direct sunlight. They don’t need to be kept in a fridge! If you want the petals to feel softer than they do already a day or two in a steamy bathroom will enable them to absorb more moisture and become even more pliable. This is not, however, something that is a necessity to do.

Finally, we are constantly bringing new products to market so that we can offer you the most comprehensive range of natural petal confetti, not only in the UK but worldwide. We were the first in the UK to offer peonies, carnations and hydrangeas. We look for petals to complement the “in” colours/themes of wedding/bridesmaids dresses without resorting to dyeing –. We strive to offer a very personal human service because we know how much very detail means to you. So, on your very special day, you deserve to have the very best – the best selection of the highest quality flower petals in the greatest choice of colours- and all this from a small company that really cares that you are happy.

With much love from all at Truly Madly Deeply™.

Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!


Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!

Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!


Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!

Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!


Hydrangeas and roses waiting for the "Big Chop"!

Loading one of the large freeze drying machines


Loading one of the large freeze drying machines