Gum paste flowers are an essential part of a baker’s life. Ask any baker and they will tell you that making gum paste flowers is not a walk in the park, and neither is it a job to be completed in one day.
Depending on the type of flower you intend to mold and the weather conditions, making gum paste flowers can even take weeks. For this reason, bakers prefer to make them in advance and store till the day they will need them. This gives them the time to create and mold in a relaxed mood.
But then there is the question of how to store the gum paste flowers up to when you will them, and they remain crunchy, tasty, and fresh.
We all want to have that cake on our special days with flowers that look real. It is always a sight to behold. Some people do not eat the gum paste flowers. They prefer to keep them as a memory for a special occasion.
Another reason why gum paste flowers are stored is that most people do not find them to be tasty. So instead of eating, they would rather keep them as souvenirs. For other people, however, the flowers are just too cute to be eaten,
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What is Gum Paste Made From?
The two main ingredients that make up gum paste are confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar and gum Tragacanth. Some people prefer to add some flavor and color, which is necessary when making flowers.
Gum tragacanth is very malleable and this makes it the right ingredient because it can be used to make any type of flower. This is the reason why gum paste flowers look real. The other ingredients include gelatin, liquid glucose, vegetable fat (white), and egg white.
If you do not have the time to make the gum paste from scratch, there is the option of buying ready-made. Gum paste is also available in a powdered form where you will only need to mix with the recommended liquid and mold.
Once the flowers dry, they can be stored for up to several years. This, however, will depend on how you will store them.
Steps to Ensure Gum Paste Flowers, Last Long
1. Dry the Flowers
Gum paste flowers can take longer to dry especially during the humid weather. Ensuring they dry well might require some patience. There is however one trick. When rolling the gum paste to make the petals, make it as thin as it can go.
Immediately after making the flowers, you should store them in a cool dry place and allow them time to dry. If they can dry naturally it will be much better. Exposing them to heat to hasten the drying process can leave them brittle and hard to work with.
2. Wipe off All the Cream from the Cake
This applies to where you have eaten the cake but you want to keep the gum paste flowers as a memory. You will need to clean off all the other ingredients including the cake crumbs and cream.
For best results, you should first wipe with a soft and dry piece of cloth or tissue. The next step is to wipe the flowers with a cloth soaked in alcohol. This is intended to remove the grease and any extra particles that can rot and consequently spoil the rest of the flowers.
Alcohol dries in a matter of minutes, meaning the flowers will not need more time to dry. They should just be left in the open air for a few minutes until they are completely dry. Remember the flowers might have absorbed moisture from the cake as well. For this reason, you should be a little bit more patient with the drying process.
3. Get an Airtight and Opaque Tupperware
To store the gum paste flowers for a longer time, you need to keep them in a cool dry place, away from direct sunshine. Nothing fits this description as airtight and opaque Tupperwares. A dark container is essential because the flowers are exposed to direct sunlight, they will fade.
The size of the container will depend on the number of flowers to be stored. You should, however, avoid overcrowding them because they can easily break.
The best option is to get several containers. The next step is to put in sachets of silica gel into the containers, then carefully arrange the flowers. You can put layers of tissue paper or soft cloth in between to prevent a collision.
4. Do Not Refrigerate
For most of us, we are wired to believe that everything edible has to be preserved in the fridge. This is a capital offense for gum paste flowers because they will never forgive you. Remember in the fridge there is the condensed air that becomes moisture when it cools down.
If you put your flowers in the fridge, they will only look ok as long as you have not removed them. When you take them out condensation will happen and you will be left with soggy flowers.
Consider the different smells in the fridge emanating from the food that is stored in there. If you keep your gum paste flowers together with the food, the smells will find their way in. Now imagine the taste of sugar mixed with different foods. You cannot have it anywhere near your mouth.
If you manage to store the gum paste flowers well, they will cooperate when you need to use them. You will even transport the cake to the location of the occasion and the flowers will not fall off or sag.
If you are going far with the cake, however, we recommend that you pack the gum paste flowers separately in the airtight containers that you used to store. You will then assemble everything at the venue.
There is a lot of kneading involved in making gum paste. This can, however, be made easy by getting a tabletop mixer. The tabletop mixer is preferred to the handheld because the former has a stronger motor. The best brands are KitchenAid and Kenwood.
The mixer produces white gum paste, whiter than the one kneaded by hand. This is because kneading is tiring and time-consuming; hence it cannot be done as thoroughly as when using a mixer.
When making the gum paste flowers, it is important to note that the gum paste dries up pretty fast. You should, therefore, wrap in it cling film every time you leave it to rest. If it hardens, working with it will be hectic and you will not get the desired results.
Gum paste flowers are edible and they should be handled with utmost care. Hygiene has to be observed when storing, otherwise, they might even cause food poisoning. Considering the long periods that they are stored, we don’t recommend eating them.
If you are storing gum paste flowers for use at a later date, this should not be too long. You should also invest in good quality airtight storage containers.
Gum paste is best stored in colored containers, but in the event where these are not available, you can cover the container with a blinding film.
They should just be kept to preserve the good memories. Gum paste flowers can last for many years if they are kept in a cool and dry place. Moisture creates a breeding ground for molds and softens the gum paste, causing it to break.