Freeze drying is a powerful technique for preserving food, especially for long-term storage, as it effectively removes moisture that can degrade product quality. When we apply this method to candy using a freeze dryer, it offers distinct benefits that set it apart from traditional candy preservation methods. Freeze drying candy with a freeze dryer allows us to preserve its natural flavors and essential nutrients, which is a unique advantage not found in other candy-drying processes.
But Why Freeze-Dry Candy?
Freeze-dried candy also has a unique texture that can be crispy and melt in your mouth. This trait makes them ideal for decorative or gifting purposes. Additionally, their extended shelf life ensures they last longer than regular candy, making them a practical choice.
With reduced water content, freeze-dried candy is lightweight and easy to carry, requiring minimal effort to rehydrate, whether by adding water or using saliva, making them convenient for outdoor activities like fieldwork or trips.
Furthermore, freeze-dried candy can serve as a versatile ingredient in culinary creations, easily crushed into powder form for decorating pastries and cakes. These various advantages make freeze-drying an attractive option for preserving and using candy.
The Best Kinds of Candy to Freeze Dry
It’s good to note that not all candies can be freeze-dried. Those with high-fat content, such as chocolates, won’t freeze dry well. Now, some sweets freeze dry better because of their moisture levels. Thus, results will always vary from one candy to another. Here are some candies that freeze-dry well.
- Fruit-based candies, such as Skittles, which will create a crisp and more intense fruit flavor;
- Gummy worms and Gummy bears, when freeze-dried, create a crisp texture that elevates flavor profiles.
- Jelly beans are similar to gummy worms, as they produce a more concentrated flavor profile with a crispy texture when freeze-dried.
- Marshmallows also create a crisp texture but are suitable for use as decors for cakes and even gifts.
- Pop rocks are also suitable for freeze drying, as they have a more intense flavor while losing their stickiness.
- Hard candies, when freeze-dried, become crispy and also lose their stickiness. They’re also suitable for decorating cakes when crumbled.
- Chewy candies, such as taffy, tend to expand when freeze-dried, which becomes more crispy and flavorful.
- Cotton candy is also suitable for freeze drying, as it maintains the melt-in-your-mouth feel but in a crisp package.
Chocolate and chocolate-coated candies will have varying results. Due to the fat content in chocolates, they may or may not freeze dry properly. The texture might be crisp outside, but the inside will be different. Considering that not all candies freeze dry well, you should experiment with a small batch first to see if the results suit your liking.
Materials to Freeze Dry Candy
To freeze dry candies, you will need:
- Baking sheets or trays
- Parchment paper
- Airtight containers
For the most part, you will have baking sheets or trays if you have a freeze dryer. You can get parchment paper and airtight containers from any baking supply shop.
If you don’t have a freeze dryer, you can opt to expose your candies inside the freezer or freeze-dry them inside a cooler with dry ice.
How to Freeze Dry Candy
Like other tutorials on this site concerning freeze drying, you shouldn’t overload the trays with candy. You want the finished product to be even; hence, you must ensure that your sweets have enough space for the process. Note that some candies expand when freeze-dried, so it’s important to allot space.
Before freeze-drying, please take out the candy from any wrapper it may have and lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Line the tray with sweets, ensuring that they are evenly distributed. As a rule, smaller candies freeze dry better, so try breaking up large candies to fit on the tray. Once you line the tray, put the sweets in your freezer until frozen.
Once the candies are frozen, you can then freeze-dry them candies. Put the trays into your freeze dryer and set the freezing temperature to zero and the drying temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using the Harvest Right freeze dryers, there’s a candy mode you can set it to.
The freeze-dried candy should be dry and not sticky. If your candy still feels moist, don’t hesitate to give it another run in your freeze dryer. You don’t have to worry about overdrying it; you intend to remove as much moisture inside the candy.
You can let the candy rest at room temperature once the candy is dry. Store them in an airtight container and add desiccant packets to absorb moisture and prolong their shelf life. Like other freeze-dried food, keep sweets away from direct sunlight and humid environments.
Freeze-drying candy is a unique way to give life to treats with a twist. They work flawlessly even for older candies that are still fit for consumption but have remained untouched. By freeze-drying them, you give the typical sweet treats a new twist, unlocking more flavors. Whether you eat them as is or add them as an ingredient for another treat, your result is guaranteed to excite your sweet senses. Try experimenting with different candies and see the results you get. You’ll be surprised at what you discover when you freeze-dry these treats.