Tuesday, July 25, 2017

4 Flowers you can EAT?!

Among the most unique trends in desserts this year comes edible flowers.  That's right: real, live flowers you can use to decorate cakes, cookies, and any other desserts you can think of.

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flowers can turn a cake from dull to dazzling

So which flowers can be used to create a memorable dessert that will have all your friends talking?  

Dandelions: Dandelions have been used as a food item ever since the Great Depression, when savvy families would gather them by the bucketful.  Every part of the dandelion is edible, from the root to the petals.  Their petals make a nice, sprinkle-like addition to the tops of cupcakes or cookies.

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Use flower petals with sprinkles to create the ultimate topping

Carnations: Carnation petals, when removed from the white base (which is bitter) are sweet and soft.  And with red, white, pink, and orange colors to choose from, they're perfect for pressing into the frosting of cakes.

Roses: Roses have a wide variety of flavors, from citrus to mint to spice.  Serve small spray rose petals on top of ice cream or large standard rose petals in salads.  Again, remove the bitter white petal base for the best flavors.

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You can even serve ice cream inside flowers for a sweet suprise
Violets: Vivid violet petals can be crystallized to add to summer iced drinks for a sweet kick.

Disclaimer: Always do research before eating flowers.  Never eat flowers that have not been gathered specifically for consumption.  Use flowers sparingly in food.  

We used What's Cooking America's guide to edible flowers.  Good Housekeeping  has an article about sourcing safe edible flowers.

What do YOU think?  Have you ever tried edible flowers?  Let us know your experiences with them in a comment below!

-Your flower-loving friends at Hummingbird Floral and Gift

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The secret to buying the freshest flowers

If you talk to any designer here at Hummingbird, they'll tell you that the most important step in making sure your flowers stay fresh for the longest time is by maintaining the cold cycle.  Some of our flowers come from as far away as Holland and South America, so keeping them in optimal condition as they are transported is crucial to extending their lives. But what is the cold cycle, and why is it so important?
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A typical display cooler for arrangements
The cold cycle is what floral designers like to call the process of keeping cut flowers at low temperatures from the time that they are harvested to when they are purchased.  Cold temperatures (from 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit) keep the cells in a flower sluggish and slows them from using up their stores of nutrients, which prevents decay for as long as possible.

The cycle begins when the flowers are cut from the areas where they are grown.  After they're bundled together and packaged to be shipped, they're placed in cooled waiting areas, where the cycle begins.

The flowers are taken to the airport in refrigerated trucks and put on a temperature controlled plane (near the back, where it's coldest), and sent to their various destinations.

When flowers arrive at the wholesaler, they remain at optimal temperatures until they're bought by floral stores like ours and again put on a cooled truck to be taken to their final stop in the cold chain: our coolers.

Our Cooler

A good floral store will never leave flowers out at room temperature for long periods of time.  Floral designers use temperature change to their advantage.  Flowers that have tight petals that need to open (like daisies or lilies) are exposed to warmer air to open up so they can be used right away.  Flowers that don't need to be used for a few days are kept in their packaging and left on shelves in the cooler to stay fresh.

So, the cold cycle is integral to making sure flowers stay as fresh as possible.  From the fields they are grown in to your home, Hummingbird Floral uses the cold cycle to make sure you're getting the best flowers you can.

What do you think?  How long do your flowers usually last?  Do you have a secret tip to make them last longer.  Share it with us in a comment below.

-Your flower-loving friends at Hummingbird

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

5 Things you need for the perfect bonfire night!

Summer is in full bloom here at Hummingbird Floral and Gift, so we wanted to highlight some of our favorite summer products to make the most of the season, starting with hosting a great bonfire!

First up is the One Log Fire.

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This little log has an interesting history.  During the Thirty Years war, soldiers who were constantly on the move needed to be efficient with their fires.  So, they developed a design that would burn from the inside out, keeping them warm and cooking meals all night long.  It was small enough to be toted by horses from one campsite to the next, and required no tending to as it burned.

Today, this compact, easy to transport log is all you need to have a bonfire during those cool summer nights.  Simply place the log on a fire-proof surface and remove the label.  Then, light the starter and you're good to go!  This log is perfect for last minute bonfires and is a great way to roast marshmallows or simply relax and enjoy the outdoors.  It's simple and practical, just like the ones used by soldiers.

Unfortunately, with outdoor activities come outdoor pests.  That's why we carry a selection of products to prevent and treat annoying bug bites.

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Murphy's Naturals is an eco-friendly company devoted to making sure bugs are kept away without harmful chemicals.  One of their most popular products that we offer is long-lasting candle (up to 30 hours!) that uses citron, lemongrass, and rosemary oil to keep bugs away without using Deet.

If you have a larger area to protect, Mosquito Sticks may be just what you're looking for.  These incense sticks, once lit, last up to two and a half hours.  In addition to the oils used in the candle, the sticks use cedar and peppermint that make a fragrant addition to fresh summer air.

Finally, if you do find yourself with some bites, Murphy's has a soothing balm to take the pain and itching away.  It uses the same plant based oils as the candles and sticks to keep you from scratching yourself silly all night, with the assurance that what you put on your skin is going to be natural and gentle on the body, unlike some other chemical-based bug bite treatments.

Lastly, one thing that can easily turn a bonfire night from fun to frustrating is drinks that just don't stay refreshingly cold, no matter how much ice you add.

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Well, True North Coolers is here to fix that.  Their collection of high quality stainless steel cups, bowls and water bottles are made of double-walled, vacuum sealed, bpa-free stainless steel that keeps cold drinks seriously cold for hours.  The specially shaped beer, margarita and wine glasses let you enjoy a cool drink outdoors without needing to water them down with ice.  They even have lids that prevent spills (or curious ants).

So there you have it; everything you need to have the best bonfire on the block!  But we want to hear what you think: what can't you live without on a campfire night?  Do you have any tips for getting rid of bugs? What food is best cooked over a fire?  Let us know in a comment below.

-Your flower-loving friends at Hummingbird

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th from Hummingbird Floral and Gift!

Happy fourth!  We at Hummingbird wanted to take a quick moment today to show you some great red, white, and blue flowers to display this July.

Carnations are available in rich reds that will pop in any arrangement, and they have a unique texture that adds depth to a bouquet.

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White spider mums have dynamic petals that mimic an exploding firework, and their size makes them a focal point amidst smaller stems.

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Finally, blue hydrangeas add the 'wow' factor to any arrangement, but beware!  Hydrangeas that looks sad need to have their flowers soaked in water for a while to perk back up.

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We hope everyone is having a wonderful Independence day.  Look back here next week for an in depth look at the cold chain and why it is vital to any floral shop.  Until then, what's your favorite red, white, or blue flower?  Let us know in a comment below.

-Your flower-loving friends at Hummingbird floral and Gift