If you ever desire to have some extra brightly coloured toppings on your cocktails, desserts, and salad, it is most likely that will be searching for edible flowers to satisfy your taste buds.
Whether used as food toppings or added to baked foods and cookies, edible flowers such as roses, sunflowers, violets, citrus blossom, clover, lilac, and mums have been a part and parcel of most culinary traditions in many countries of the world.
Well, assuming that you find success in buying edible flowers, the next thing you possibly will be considering is how to store edible flowers to ensure that they remain fresh pretty and fresh just as though you just sourced them.
Thankfully, there are a couple of simple and inexpensive ways to store edible flowers without breaking a sweat.
So, in this blog post, I shall be walking you through some ways to ensure that your edible flowers last for as long as you would want to have them so that you can enjoy their flavour and nutrients.
Related post: Everything You Need to Know About Edible Garden Flowers
Techniques in Preserving Edible Flowers
Just before you consider storing your edible flowers for future use, adopting a good preservation technique with ensure that the storage method employed keeps your edible flowers fresh and in the right form.
Below are some useful ways you can adopt in preparing your edible flowers before storage;
1. Pressing edible flowers
A good way of ensuring that your edible flower stays fresh is by pressing them using a typical flower press.
But in a case where you don't have a flower press, you can do this by putting your edible flower petals in between sheets of a notepad or paper and then pressing them down using stacks of books or other household wares.
For flowers with a thick buds, I recommend that you remove the buds and only press the petals of the flower to obtain dried petals.
Based on the climate and temperature of your environment, pressed flowers may take about 2-4 weeks to have your edible flowers turn into dried flowers.
2. Drying edible flowers in the oven
Another good way of extending the shelf life of edible flowers is through the use of an oven to dry them. When using an oven to dry your edible flowers, spread the flowers on a tray and put the tray into an oven that is set to a temperature of about 40-50oC.
However, when using an oven for drying your edible flowers, it is important to separate the buds from the petals since they are usually thicker and will require a longer time to dry out.
Once that is done, you can dry both parts separately for about 4-6 hours with intermittent mixing to achieve even drying.
3. Drying edible flowers using a food dehydrator
Using this method for drying your floral beauty is pretty similar to the use of the oven. When using a food dehydrator, remove the thick buds of the flowers, spread out the petals of your edible flowers on a tray and put it into the dehydrator.
Depending on the size and moisture level of the flowers, this will practically take between 5-6 hours to dry out your flowers. Similarly, when using a dehydrator, endeavour to spread out the flowers at the interval for even drying.
4. Air-drying edible flowers
If you live in an environment where the temperature is very hot as is the case during the summer, air-drying your edible flowers will be a breeze.
Just as it was recommended when using an oven or a food hydrator, ensure that the delicate edible flowers are mixed at intervals for even drying.
Doing this always ensures that some part of your herb flowers is not left slightly damp to prevent mould and bacterial attack.
How To Store Edible Flowers
After drying your edible flowers, the next big hurdle to cross is employing an adequate storage method that will ensure that your delicate petals remain consumable for as long as you would have them. Below are some of the best ways to store edible flowers.
1. Storage using air-tight jars/containers
Using air-tight jars (glass or plastic) is a great way to store edible flowers for as long as one year. With this type of container, you will be sure that your edible flowers will stay intact without any impact from other things that may distort their shapes and look.
2. Storage in airtight plastic bags
Perhaps you don't have an empty airtight container for storing your edible flowers, a plastic airtight bag can suffice and do the job perfectly.
However, a downside to the use of airtight plastic bags is that your edible flowers can easily be crushed by other things that are being placed on them.
3. Freezing into ice cubes
If the intended use for your edible flowers is to brighten up and spice up your cocktail or other beverages, freezing them into edible flower ice cubes will be the best method of storing your edible flowers.
To use this method, fill your ice cube tray halfway with water and throw in a few of your edible flowers in each compartment and allow the water to set in the freezer to ensure that the flowers are fixed into the centre of the ice cubes.
After this, fill up the ice cube tray halfway with water and place the entire set-up into the freezer until everything is completely frozen.
4. Crystallizing edible flowers for baking
Another good way of storing edible flowers is by crystallizing them out and then using the same in frostings for baking.
Frequently Asked Questions - How to store edible flowers
What is the best container for storing edible flowers?
Airtight plastic or glass containers are the best for storing edible flowers either in the refrigerator or on the shelf.
Can I freeze edible flowers?
Yes, edible flowers can be frozen, especially when the goal is for embellishing and adding colour and flavour to your cocktail, beverages or other food.
What should I do when drying edible flowers when using the oven?
To ensure that your edible flowers are dried evenly, endeavour to remove the thicker buds for separate drying since they contain much more moisture than the petals.
Wrap up - How To Store Edible Flowers
Edible flowers like daisies, roses, sunflowers, violets, citrus blossom, clover, nasturtium, hibiscus, honeysuckle, and lavender are known to add an extra brick of flavour, colour and nutrients to food.
To properly store your edible flowers for future use, the use of airtight containers like plastic and glass jars seems to be the best method of storing them.
However, if you want to use edible flowers to add some flavour to your cocktail, freezing them in an iced cube tray will be a perfect method to store them.