Freeze-drying is a process for flower preservation that retains the color and texture of products. Unlike air drying, the product's shape is maintained by virtue of it being frozen. While frozen, the moisture is removed by way of vacuum (sublimation), with all other substances in the flower, such as pigment (color) and structural parts (cells) immobilized.

The result is a beautiful, natural looking product that lasts many years with proper care. To preserve the luster and life of the product, pre- and post-treatments are applied. The process requires a machine as pictured below, containing two refrigeration units and a vacuum system.

Freeze-dry machine As soon as we receive your flowers, we apply a pre-treatment and use infra-red heat to evaporate excess moisture. Next, the flowers need to be frozen within fifteen minutes to prevent the petals from turning brown. After twelve hours the drying process starts, which takes up to fourteen days of carefully regulating the freeze-dry machine. When the product is dried, the post-treatment must be applied within twelve hours. If necessary, we enhance the colors of the flowers, and the bouquet is ready for framing.

In January of 2002 Nature's Beauty™ purchased a "SandVac" machine. This is in addition to the freeze-dry machine, but it works on a different principle. After applying a pre-treatment, the flowers are immersed in a special, hygroscopic silica sand. The box with the sand and flowers is placed in the machine, which runs at an elevated temperature of approximately 45°C (112°F). A deep vacuum is drawn, and the flowers dry over a period of a few days. This process is particularly effective with certain types of flowers such as gerberas, daisies, tulips, some orchids and others. Other flowers such as roses are better preserved using the conventional freeze-dry process. We are now able to offer both preservation techniques, greatly enhancing the quality of our products.

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