Monday, June 9, 2014

Artsy Monday - Drying Rose Petals

Greetings everyone, amazingly I am finally posting an Artsy Monday post!! I really do have several in the works and I will share them as I finish them. For my first Artsy Monday post in WAY too long I thought I would share with you how I dry my rose petals.

My Roses

When dried, these petals are used for sachets and are especially good for love and romance spells. These roses are rich in color and have sweet, heart shaped petals.

For petals you want to cut the flowers that are open, in their prime and after the dew has dried. You do not want old, brown flowers or those that are wet. Neither will give you a good result. You can also dry rose buds. Chooses buds that are tightly formed  but showing color. When drying buds you do not remove the bud from the stem. 

As you can see above the petal on the far right has some discoloration on the top. I try to avoid using these. I like to use the best looking petals that I have. 

Pic. 1

Pic. 2

Pic. 3

Pic. 4

To remove the petals from the stem I grasp the flower and pull all of the petals away from the stem as shown in Picture 1 above. Next I gently twist the petals, pulling them away from their center (Pic. 2), this leaves me with the petals between my fingers (Pic. 3) and once they are laid out I can go through them looking for rot or defects (Pic. 4). Practice on a flower that is not as nice so that you have the technique down and won't bruise or damage the petals. It doesn't take much to remove the petals from the stem!

Once you remove the petals from the stem, discard the stem and go through the petals. Remove any that are discolored, moldy, brown... I do this one flower at a time, putting the petals I wish to dry on the dehydrator racks as I go.

When placing the petals on the tray you want to make sure they do not overlap, this causes uneven drying time which could lead to problems like mold if they are stored before they are fully dry!

Petals and Buds

Full Dehydrator

I like using my dehydrator to dry flowers. They dry quickly and I can lay out a lot at one time, which is important because they shrink, a LOT, during the drying process.

Same Batch! 1/2 Hour Later

After 1/2 hour the petals are already noticeably smaller.

Final Petals

Beautiful color!

I leave mine in the dehydrator for a full day, watching to make sure they do not start to brown on the edges. At the end of the day I turn the dehydrator off and leave them for the night. I live in a VERY dry climate so I do not need to worry about any humidity. When drying petals be sure to follow the directions on your particular dehydrator and for your climate.

Once this batch was completely dry I ended up with 1 cup of petals and buds from the 5 trays of petals/buds I started with. They are a rich, deep pink color and  smell wonderful! These are perfect to use in a potpourri mix or a sachet and they look wonderful in a small bowl.

You can also dry flowers and petals between paper towels, in wax paper inside of books but dehydrators are easily found in thrift shops, they help to reduce the instance of mold and are much faster. Be sure to wash the trays well before use. Make sure the trays are completely dry before adding your petals to them.

This method works great for petals and buds, for full bouquets I suggest tying the bouquet stems together and then hanging the bouquet upside down in a cool dry area and letting it dry naturally. Hanging it upside down tends to help the bouquet retain its shape.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit.

Mediterranean Olive Bread

Mediterranean Olive Bread

I know it's Monday and this isn't really an Artsy Monday type post but this bread was so great I had to post about it! 

A couple of weeks ago I found a loaf of Olive bread at my local supermarket. I love olives and it sounded interesting so I bought it for the family. It was pretty good and, me being me, I decided to find a recipe so that I could make my own. This was the start of my journey into the art of No-Knead bread making.

I scoured the internet and found several recipes for Olive bread but not till I found this recipe did I find THE recipe for Olive Bread. The link takes you to the You Tube video for the No-Knead Mediterranean Olive bread by Artisan Bread with Steve. 

I was new to the No-Knead bread making method and I can tell you that I am now hooked! Steve has several cookbooks and you can find them on Amazon, the video has the recipe for the bread I made and it was SUPER EASY! I started watching the video, writing down the recipe, then I googled Steve and when I found that his cookbook 28 Popular No-Knead Breads was only $3.99 to download for the kindle (I have the app on my computer) AND it had the Olive Bread recipe in it - I bought it!

Just an FYI- You do not need to buy the cookbook to get the recipe, Steve provides it in the video. I am not trying to promote this video or any of the cookbooks, I am not receiving any type of compensation for my post (in fact Artisan Bread with Steve has no idea who I am LOL), the bread is just so good that I had to share and I wanted to do so in a way that respected his recipe :0)

Anyway, This bread is baked in a covered stone baker. Because I was so impatient I chose to go buy a new baker from my local kitchen store for the hefty cost of $60. I have since been told to check 2nd hand stores though I will confess that it has been worth every penny!

Superstone Baker by Sassafras 

Ready to Bake

The bread itself it super easy. Basically you mix everything together and then let is sit overnight - this is where the no-knead comes in. 12 - 24 hours later you divide it, let is sit for another 2 hours then bake it for a total of 35 minutes (part with the lid, part without) and you end up with an amazing loaf of bread full of flavor! 

If you like bread, especially easy to make, delicious bread, then check out the video. You can also google "no knead" bread for alternatives to buying a baker which will give you pretty good results and make you bread adventure a bit less expensive.  

One tip, if you decide to make this bread, get the best pimento stuffed Spanish olives you can find/afford. I used inexpensive green olives that I had in the fridge with the first loaves I made and a much better Spanish Green from Costco the second time and there was a noticeable difference in the flavor, both were fantastic but the second batch had a deeper flavor. 

Finally a word of caution - this bread is so good you'll find yourself making it, a lot! I've baked 4 loaves of this and the longest it has lasted is 2 days!