About Freeze Drying
The process of freeze-drying has been around approximately 60 years. It has been widely used in pharmacology and taxidermy (antlers in velvet, fish, turkey heads, etc.) but has only recently been developed for commercial floral preservation.
Freeze-drying is the removal of water from an object while the water is in its solid state (ice crystals), otherwise known as sublimation. Sublimation is the vaporization or distillation of water directly from its solid state to its vapor state, without passing through its liquid state.
Sublimation takes place when the vapor pressure of the ice on the surface of the specimen (flower) exceeds the vapor pressure surrounding the specimen. A vacuum of 100 millitorres, less than the vacuum of space, is created in the chamber holding the flowers. A separate condensation chamber starts at -40° and it is to this lower temperature that the sublimated water vapor is attracted, where it collects as ice on the chamber’s sides.
During the next 2-3 weeks the floral chamber’s temperature is slowly raised to 70°F while the condensation temperature goes even lower, reaching -60°F. The ice collected in the condensation chamber needs to be removed several times, but once it stops forming the process is completed.
The final results are flowers that look fresh but will last for years with proper care.
1. Pictures and measurements will be taken, followed by your arrangement being taken apart so that each flower can be treated individually.
2. Stems are generally shortened and each bloom is individually treated chemically to help preserve its color and durability.
3. The blooms are then checked to insure proper shaping (petals may be supported or held open.) Additional glue may be applied if needed and then placed in trays with shredded tissue and then frozen.
*IMPORTANT* DO NOT FREEZE YOUR FLOWERS BEFORE BRINGING TO MPE. We will be unable to treat them chemically and they defrost in minutes!
4. Next, they are transferred to our Botanique freeze-drier where the 2-3 week process described above begins.
5. Flowers are removed from the freeze-drier and inspected. Next, a thin invisable liquid plastic sealer is applied to help keep moisture out and increase durability.
6. Your flowers are now ready to be designed alone or with other memorabilia (pictures, sheet music, invitations, jewelry, glasses, candles, etc.) into your personal remembrance.