Learn how to dry rose petals at home!
The uses of flowers don’t have to be short-lived and limited to aesthetics. By drying rose petals, you can preserve the well-loved blooms and tap them in the future.
There are different ways of drying rose petals for personal use. Some are easier and more effective than others. While the methods aren’t complicated, it pays to be meticulous at all times, starting from the selection stage.
How to Dry Rose Petals at Home
As much as possible, choose freshly harvested blooms from your own garden. Weeks before and during the flowering season, watch out for bugs. If you spot them, spray the plants with soap and water solution. You can also handpick the bugs.
The biggest, brightest and bug-free blooms are the best for drying. To harvest them, you need gloves, a pruner and a basket (or any other container for the flowers).
Pick the flowers during midmorning. By this time, the morning dew in the petals is already dried but the midday sun has yet to affect the fragrance. Cut the roses the way you would when you’re picking them for bouquets or for displays. This means the flowers should still be attached to their stems.
Store-brought roses are also fine. Just make sure you don’t use the dried rose petals for your drinks or meals later on. Even if your florist claims that these are fresh, you can’t really be sure.
Suppliers usually spray chemicals during the cultivation and before the delivery of the flowers. Despite washing and drying the blooms, there may still be traces of the chemicals afterward. However, you can still use the dried petals for other purposes.
When handling the flowers, be as gentle as possible. Be mindful of the thorns as well. When the roses are prepared, you can proceed to any of the following drying methods.
Drying rose petals
Air-drying rose petals
Leaving the rose petals in the open is the traditional way of drying them. It’s also the least expensive method because it doesn’t require any equipment. You will only need a mesh screen for this.
However, it’s worth noting that the traditional method is divided into two: air-drying rose petals and sun-drying rose petals. The latter involves drying the petals under direct sunlight. This isn’t recommended because the sun’s rays can reduce the flowers’ natural color and fragrance. As for proper air-drying, below are the steps to carry it out.
- Step 1: Gently pluck the petals from the base. You can also use scissors. Always start with the outermost petals.
- Step 2: Arrange the petals in a single layer. Avoid overlapping them because they will get attached to each other as they dry. Make sure there’s also at least half an inch space between each petal.
- Step 3: Keep the petal-filled mesh away from direct sunlight and breezes. Avoid placing it in the kitchen, bathroom or basement because the moisture in the said rooms may cause the petals to rot sooner.
- Step 4: Leave the petals to dry. The drying process may take at least a week. At least once or twice a day, turn the petals upside down to speed up the process.
Once the rose petals turn crisp (like that of cornflakes, collect them and put them in a clean jar. Seal the jar tightly.
Drying rose petals in a dehydrator
If you love drying fruits, vegetables, and flowers, a dehydrator is a great investment for you. Depending on the model, using a dehydrator to dry up your petals may take at least two hours to an entire day.
READ ALSO: Which Food Dehydrator is Right for You
Even so, it’s still among the easiest methods. It’s also one of the most effective ways of preserving the roses’ fragrance. Follow the steps below on how to use a dehydrator for drying petals.
- Step 1: Gently pluck or cut the petals from the base.
- Step 2: Arrange the petals on the dehydrator’s tray. Avoid overlapping them.
- Step 3: Set the dehydrator to low.
- Step 4: After two hours, turn off the dehydrator and check the petals.
If they’re crisp enough, leave them for at least an hour. Then, collect them and keep them in a jar.
If there’s still moisture left, use the dehydrator once again. You should also alternate the placements of the trays.
Avoid leaving the dehydrator on for more than a day. Otherwise, the dried petals will end up cracking.
Drying rose petals in a microwave
Microwaving is the quickest way of drying rose petals. However, this method isn’t recommended if you want to preserve the flowers for their fragrance. The dried petals from this method are only ideal as ornaments. To microwave petals, follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Prepare a microwave-safe plate and a pack of paper towels. Line the said plate with two layers of paper towels.
- Step 2: Gently pluck or cut the petals from the base.
- Step 3: Arrange the petals on the paper towel-lined plate. There should be no overlapping petals. (If there are too many petals for a single plate, you can simply microwave by batch. Just make sure you change the paper towels. If you’re drying by batch, you should group them based on their size.)
- Step 4: Cover the petals with one layer of paper towel.
- Step 5: Set the microwave on high. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. (Thirty seconds may be enough for small petals, while it may take a bit longer for bigger ones.)
Collect the crisp petals and keep them in a clean jar. If some petals still feel a bit moist, microwave them for an additional 30 seconds.
How to dry rose petals in an oven
Using a conventional oven to dry rose petals only takes an hour or even less. While the preparation for this method is simple, you have to oversee the petals as they dry. Otherwise, your petals may turn out brownish or even burnt. The proper steps of drying using conventional oven are as follows:
- Step 1: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Step 2: Put the cooking sheet on your baking tray.
- Step 3: Gently pluck or cut the petals from the base.
- Step 4: Arrange the petals on the baking tray. They should be on a single layer and at least one inch away from each other.
- Step 5: Put the petal-filled tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. By the 20th minute, you should watch the petals as they dry.
Once the petals become crisp, you can turn off the oven. If the 30-minute baking period is over but some petals don’t look crisp, bring out the tray. Collect the dried ones first and put them in a clean jar. Leave the other petals on the tray and put them back in the oven. No need to turn the oven on.
This classic method requires the least effort. However, the waiting period is quite unpredictable. If you’re not going to use the petals right away and/or if you’re unsure about how you’ll use it, book-drying is an ideal method for you.
One of the challenges with this method is book selection. As much as possible, use a hardbound book that’s at least two inches thick. It should be free from yellowing pages as well. After you find such a book, continue with the following steps:
- Step 1: Go to one of the last few pages of the book. Line it with two layers of paper towel.
- Step 2: Gently pluck or cut the petals from the base.
- Step 3: Arrange the petals on the paper towel-lined page. No overlapping. Every petal should be at least half an inch away from the other. If a single page isn’t enough, use the other pages above the first page you’ve filled with petals.
- Step 4: Cover the petals with another layer of paper towel.
- Step 5: Gently close the book.
- Step 6: Wait for at least two weeks. Afterward, check the petals. If they’re still a bit moist, replace the paper towels and wait for another week or two.
- Step 7: Once the petals become crisp, get them and put them in a jar.
Don’t leave the petals longer than a month because they’ll start to become brownish by then. However, you might still want to use the browning petals for preparing potpourri.
Storage and Uses of Rose Petals
After you tightly seal the jar of petals, put it on a dark and dry place. Avoid putting it near the window because the sun’s rays may discolor the petals overtime. You can store the jar in a cupboard, except for the compartment on or near the sink and waste bin.
The most enjoyable part of drying rose petals is using them. You can add a dried petal to a drink. You can also chop the dried petals and add them to your soap-making recipe. Except for the microwaved flowers, you can mix them along with other dried blooms and leaves to make potpourri. Chopped or not, the petals also make a great addition to a homemade candle. You can even sell your preserved roses.