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I have heard people get roses for Valentine's Day. You might be one of those lucky people. What are you going to do with them as they die? Just throw them out?
Maybe not this year. Why not try to make your own potpourri?
Being that I had no handy rose petals lying around, I bought these rose petals at Kroger. There they sat, unused on the shelf after Valentine's. Pitiful. So, being a person who has never made potpourri, I decided to would see if I could do it JUST with what I had around the house. Let me preface this by saying I know that there are better and more professional ways to accomplish this for potpourri aficionados. However, the goal of this post is for those of us who sort-of want to save the flower petals but who aren't going to elaborate expense or effort to do so. :)
There are many websites that tell you how to dry roses or make potpourri in the microwave or just by hanging them somewhere out of the way like your laundry room. They require - or strongly suggest - silica gel, (which I don't happen to have saved from my shoe boxes), or orris root powder, (which I didn't bother trying to buy). Salt was suggested in addition to either to help flowers retain their color.
Also, I had read an article about achieving a glossy look with high-gloss hairspray. I had hairspray, believe it or not. ( I have children who perform on stage - dance, theater, etc.) But, I still didn't have a drying medium other than the microwave alone. It seems the experts think the microwave needs some help. The idea of glossy rose petals made me think of frosted, glittering rose petals. So, thinking about what I had on my shelves, I decided to see what would happen with salt by itself.
I removed the rose petals from the box and placed them in a bowl. I poured salt over them - maybe a third of a cup. I confess. I didn't measure. (That's what makes me a great cook of main dishes and sides and a terrible baker; in baking, measurements MATTER.) Anyway, I threw away the petals that had any obvious brown or dry areas. That turned out to be a good decision. The parts that I missed had to be removed later anyway.
I put my mixture in the microwave, for 30-45 seconds at a time.
I ended up with something like this after about 4-5 rounds in the microwave. At this point, any brown parts I had missed earlier were pretty obvious as they were mushy. So I removed them. I tossed between each round, separating petals that were stuck together by their own moisture. (This made clear to me why the experts recommend only drying a few at a time and the need for a desiccant.)
At this point, I shook out almost all of the salt and separated the petals onto a paper towel. One more round in the microwave.
Surprisingly, even with the salt, the petals smelled great! But I wanted to add something else. From my reading and available stock of scents laying around the house, I had perfumes and diffuser oils to choose from. I grabbed the nearest one, sprinkling the oil onto the almost-dried rose petals.
I tossed the now fairly brittle petals and shook the salt out in a bag, carefully removing the sparkling petals.
I placed the rose petals in a crystal bowl. They glistened in the soft afternoon light. I never tried the high gloss hairspray, but I bet it would make an especially nice touch around the winter holidays.
Surprisingly, the roses still smell wonderful! I have let them sit a few days, and they have retained the scent. I doubt they will last months on end, but I could always add more oil or perfume later.
My little project took about 15 minutes would only cost about a third of a cup of salt and a little diffuser oil - IF you had been given some roses! :)