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The Truth About Freeze Dried Candy: Everything You Want to Know
Freeze-dried candy is rising in popularity, and it’s easy to see why: not only is it light, crunchy, and flavorful, but it also has a shelf-life of upwards of 25 years! This makes it perfect for snacking, camping, and emergencies.
Freeze-dried candy can be eaten by itself or used as a dessert topping for cake, ice cream, or cool whip. It can also be added to homemade trail mix and cereals.
We have previously written about other freeze-dried food items like fruits and meats, but in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this long-lasting confection, including how it tastes, how it’s made, and how to freeze-dry candy right at home.
What Is Freeze-Dried Candy?
As the name implies, freeze-dried candies are sweet treats that have undergone freeze-drying, also known as lyophilization.
The process of freeze-drying is different from dehydrating. In the freeze-drying process, the candies are frozen at -40°F (-40°C) and then placed in a vacuum seal where all water content is removed, leaving only pure crystals behind.
The resulting sweets look nearly identical to their original form, except a bit larger in size and lighter in color. They’re a lot crunchier, too, as most of their moisture (up to 99%) has been removed. This means you can’t smush freeze-dried Skittles or gummy bears in between your thumb and index finger before you eat them. They have the same texture as hard candies.
Like other freeze-dried foods, freeze-dried candy has a shelf life of 25 years, retains most of its flavors, and can be rehydrated.
What Does Freeze-Dried Candy Taste Like?
Freeze-dried candy is a sweeter and more intense version of its original counterpart. Because all the moisture is removed, the sugar and flavoring are more concentrated. This makes freeze-dried candy great for livening up desserts like cakes, ice creams, and yogurt.
When you take a bite out of freeze-dried candy, you can expect it to have a crunchy, foamy, and crispy texture.
If you rehydrate the candy, it will revert to its original flavor, taste, and texture.
Is Freeze Dried Candy Healthier Than Regular Candy?
Freeze-dried candy has the same minerals and nutritional value as regular candy. This means the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates remain the same after candy is freeze fried. However, water-soluble vitamins are affected, like Vitamin C and folate, and are less present in the candy.
Freeze-dried candy is believed to be better for your teeth, especially for those who have or have had extensive dental work. It isn’t as hard as regular candy, and it should not get caught or stuck in cavities, spacers, or braces like chewy and sticky candy.
Note: Some freeze-dried candies may get chewy and gummy once they come in contact with moisture again. So in some cases it can get stuck in between your teeth.
How Long Does Freeze-Dried Candy Last?
When stored in optimal conditions, freeze-dried candy can last up to 25 years. Since most of the moisture is removed from the candy, it is less likely to go bad due.
For it to last this long, it should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry environment, properly sealed in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers. Freeze-dried foods, as well as dried foods, are often stored in mason jars, mylar bags, and even food-grade buckets.
Once opened, the candy’s life span shortens to four to six months—so eat it fast!
What Does Freeze-Dried Candy Look Like?
Freeze-dried candy looks similar to its original counterpart, but they appear larger, fluffier, and lighter in color. Other freeze-dried treats will become brittle and flakey.
Gummy candy, for example, changes its appearance the most when freeze-dried, as the pressure in the vacuum chamber causes the sugars and gelatin to puff up.
The resulting candy is light, airy, and crispy—much like puffed cereal!
How to Freeze Dry Candy?
The best way to freeze dry candy is through a HarvestRight Freeze-Dryer machine. They were the first company to make an at-home freeze dryer. However, freeze dryers are often costly, averaging between $2,500 to $3,000. Some even cost upwards of $6,000.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to freeze dry candy with or without a machine. The candy wouldn’t last as long as machine-freeze-dried candy, but it’ll still last a couple of years with proper storage.
Method 1: Freeze-Dryer Machine
Simply place the food items in the freeze dryer, and the machine does the hard work. The machine is able to freeze dry candy by:
- First, freezing the food items
- Second, drying the food items
- Thirdly, the machine goes into ‘Final Dry,’ which reduces the moisture content further
- After ‘Final Dry’ is complete, remove the food from the machine
The whole process takes between 24-50 hours, depending on the candy. Some reasons it may take longer are due to moisture content, sugar content, as well as the structure of the food.
Method 2: Dry Ice
Place the candy in a compostable freeze bag and position the bag in a large cooler with the seal open.
Add several cubes of dry ice around the cooler, surrounding the candy. Make sure to use thermal gloves for protection. Do this during a zero-humidity day to ensure its success.
Leave the cooler open for 24 hours. Don’t seal the cooler, as doing so may cause it to explode.
Once the 24 hours is up, take the bag and quickly transfer the contents into a container or different bag. Seal the container and store the candy in a cool, dry place.
Method 3: Freeze Method
The freezer method is simpler than the dry ice method but takes longer to work.
To start, put your candy on a parchment paper-covered tray. Then, place the tray in a deep freezer and leave it there for two to three weeks.
When the time is up, transfer the candy into a container or freezer bag. And that’s it; now you can store the candy in a cool, dry place.
How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Candy?
Freeze-dried candy can be eaten as is, so there is no need to rehydrate. However, if you do want to rehydrate freeze-dried candy, there are several methods to do so.
- Boiling Water: By simply adding boiling water to your candy, the candy will absorb the moisture and begin to rehydrate itself. This process typically takes 15-30 minutes. Foods that are less dense also rehydrate faster. To give the candy some more flavor, you can use other liquids, like fruit juice, instead of water.
- Overnight Absorption: You can place candy in a container and then fill it up with water. Allow the candy to absorb the water overnight. However, make sure not to add too much water, or the candy can become soggy. A good rule of thumb is to fill the container with water, one inch over the çandy.
- Simmering Water: You can apply warm to hot water over your candy to rehydrate it. This process is quicker than the overnight method but slower than using boiling water.
If you decide to rehydrate free-dried candy, know that the texture, flavor, size, and shape will not revert back to its original form.
There you have it, our guide on everything you need to know about freeze-dried candy! Freeze-dried candy is just as delicious as regular candy, and sometimes even more so! It’s light, crunchy, and more flavorful than its non-freeze-dried counterpart, making it suitable for dessert toppings, cereal, and trail mixes.
If you have any questions about freeze-dried foods, look at the other articles on freeze-dried foods on our site, or feel free to reach out to us.
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If you are looking to buy cookware, you probably came down to ceramic cookware vs stainless steel cookware. Learn to see which is better for you.