Your freeze dryer may be busy this month with make-ahead meals for company or preserving leftovers, but you may want to reserve some time to make your own freeze dried holiday wreath. While our freeze dryers are made to perfectly preserve food, they can also perfectly preserve flowers and greenery for craft applications. Here are some ideas:
If you live in cold climates, use dried grasses such as zebra or pampas and combine with freeze dried roses. Watch for roses (or any flowers) that are on sale because they are losing their freshness. Cut the dried grass at the base of the plant then tie tightly at the bottom and in the middle. Attach the grass bundle to a foam or metal wreath form so that it makes a flat circle with the top end loose. Adorn with dried roses.
Cut apples and oranges into semi circles and freeze dry. Attach to a foam wreath form, alternating rows of apple slices with rows of orange slices. Finish with an apple-green velvet bow.
Freeze dry whole clementine oranges then pin to a wreath form or string, end to end, with wire for a more rustic look.
Deep red or multi-colored chili peppers make a beautiful conversation piece. Freeze dry a variety of chilies and layer on a foam wreath form with the stem ends pointed toward the center of the wreath. Try adding a cluster of garlic bulbs instead of a bow.
If you have a tree with waxy green leaves (such as magnolia), freeze dry enough leaves to make a wreath then decorate with freeze-dried gingerbread men.
Make a freeze dried herb wreath by combining sage, rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, verbena or any other herbs. Add a dried hydrangea flower instead of a bow.
Slice lemons and limes into full circles, freeze dry, then thread through the center hole with a piece of wire or twine. This type of 3-D wreath requires more fruit than using a wire form, but the simplicity adds rustic charm.
Use bay or fruit tree leaves to make miniature wreaths to give as gifts. Decorate with miniature pine cones, acorns or tea roses.
Go to your local gourmet grocery and look for fruits or vegetables in unusual or flower-like shapes. Look for dragon fruit, whole asparagus stems or Buddha’s hand fruit for colorful additions to your wreaths.
As you get the hang of freeze drying flowers, plants and herbs, try your hand at creating freeze-dried centerpieces and bouquets from local plants, flowers and tree clippings.