Valentines Day has been and gone and by now those beautiful red roses have begun to fade. It’s a shame to throw them away when they can so easily be dried and used for pot pourri that will last for many, many weeks, if not months ahead.
The time to turn them into pot pourri is really just as the flower heads start to droop and the petals are dropping away because once removed from the stem, the petals are still colourful and beautiful.
There are a few methods for drying flower petals, two of which require patience, one of which is quick and easy. Here’s the quick and easy method and all it requires is a few pieces of kitchen paper, a microwave and a small bottle of rose essential oil (a scent ‘fixative’ of orris root powder is an optional extra).
Gently separate the petals from the stems and scatter them in a single layer on a microwaveable plate onto which you have placed a piece of kitchen paper. Microwave on a medium setting for 15 seconds, turn the petals and microwave again for another 15 seconds. The petals will become a richer, darker colour but shouldn’t be brittle. I find that I can generally do one bloom at a time like this.
When they’re all done pop them in a plastic bag and scatter with a few drops of rose essential oil, close the top of the bag and gently toss the petals in the bag. Then preferably leave the bag shut for half an hour or so before use. Display in pretty, open containers around the house and top up the scent with more drops of essential oil as and when necessary.
If you want to make the scent last longer, you can add approx. one tablespoon of orris root powder per cup of petals just before you sprinkle on your initial dose of rose oil. Orris root is simply a natural fixative, derived from the root of a species of iris, and can be obtained from many herb supply outlets.