What is the Freeze-Drying Process?
Freeze-drying methods have been used for over 100 years, however, the freeze-drying of flowers has been successfully used for the last 20 years.
Freeze-drying is a process for fresh flowers that maintains the natural shape and vibrant color of the botanical. Other methods of preservation are available, but do not compare in the ability to produce an incredibly true to life product. In fact, Good Housekeeping Magazine and NBC Dateline have rated freeze-drying the best preservation method available today.
The basic principal of freeze-drying is the removal of water from a fresh flower. This is accomplished by using a vacuum that pulls the water from the flowers that are frozen to 20 degrees below zero and changes the water to vapor that is collected as ice crystals in a cold chamber.
Austin Preservations re-hydrates each bouquet before the process begins. This helps bring back the natural beauty of the flowers so that they look their very best for the freeze-drying process.
Each bouquet is photographed, inventoried, measured and dismantled so that each flower can be individually treated according to their type and color. Pre-treatments are used to hold natural color and open the cell structure. The flowers are then loaded onto trays and frozen in a holding freezer to prepare them for the freeze-drying process.
Our state-of-the-art freeze-drier removes the moisture from each flower over a period of 16 days. Once the process is complete, the flowers are removed and allowed to cure for a couple of days.
A wire stem is added to each flower head to prepare it for color enhancement and post-treating. A thin polymer coating is applied containing a UVA shield to protect against sunlight and moisture damage. Flowers are stored in plastic boxes by customer job number and are ready for the design process.
It is best to have the display choice made as soon as possible since each display is custom made-to-order. If any mementos are to be included, they should be brought when the display is chosen. The flowers are designed into the display per the directions provided by the client. When complete, the display is closed and ready to be picked up by the customer. The preservation process is a lengthy process and typically can be delivered back to the customer 3-6 months after the event.
Details for Flower Care »