As part of a nature exchange this fall we collected some hedge apples. For those of you who don't know, those big green, wrinkly looking balls in the picture below are hedge apples. They come from the Osage Orange Tree and are also called Osage Oranges or "green brains" according to Bria.
I have been told they are good for repelling bugs, and even though I don't know how true it is, they are kind of pretty, so we kept some around. A co-worker (thanks Cathy) of mine mentioned that her grandma used to slice them and bake them to make flowers for all the grand kids. She couldn't remember anything exact about them though.....challenge accepted!
You need a sharp knife to get through these suckers, and I would recommend wearing gloves because the thick fluid that comes out of them takes some hard scrubbing to get off! Slice as thin as you can. It isn't easy to get them very thin, but they cook better if you can get them thin without breaking them.
If you want to add stems after they are baked I would make your holes before baking because they become hard after they are cooked! Lay them on a foil lined baking sheet (the foil is just to keep the sticky stuff on your pan) and put them in your oven at the lowest possible temperature for several hours (It took ours about 4 hours to dry, but this varies with thickness). You will notice they curve up a bit once they are baked.
Allow to cool and then add whatever color pipe cleaner you like for a stem! We went with sparkly!
Here are the completed flowers with a couple whole hedge apples. Quite festive on our piano, don't you think!