Do you know what freeze-dried candy is? Today, we will look at exactly what all the fuss is about surrounding these sweet treats! I’ll explain exactly how they are made, how they are different from their original forms, and if you can replicate these at home.
What Is Freeze-Dried Candy?
You may have heard about it. You may even have tasted it before. But few people actually understand what freeze-dried candies are. And today, I will explain it all!
Now, I hate it when people say “it’s candy that has been freeze-dried.” What does that even mean?!
Essentially what happens during the process is that the candies are frozen, then dried. The unique drying process removes all of the moisture from the sweets, leaving behind pure sugar crystals. This changes their appearance.
However, the benefit of this technique is to help preserve them and extend their shelf life. And while their appearance and texture change, their flavor stays pretty much the same.
How Are Candy Freeze-Dried Commercially?
Obviously, big companies have perfected this technique using specialized equipment. We normies won’t ever have access to those tools.
The machine that is commercially used does everything in one go. The candies are first flash-frozen to preserve their flavor best. If they were to slowly freeze the candies, they may be subject to freezer burn, which ruins their texture and flavor.
Once the candies are all frozen, the machine creates a vacuum. This vacuum removes all the air and simultaneously, the moisture.
What Does Freeze-Dried Candy Look Like?
As I’ve mentioned, some changes occur when candy is frozen and preserved using this method.
The first noticeable difference is their size. During the vacuuming process, the candies expand to double, sometimes even triple their original size.
This also sometimes causes the sugar coating to crack. When expanded, it looks like a bunch of tiny veins across the treat.
Furthermore, the candies generally become paler in color. Some even turn almost completely white.
What Do These Candies Taste Like?
Generally, the candies have the exact same flavor as the originals did. But many people note that they tend to be even sweeter.
And depending on what type of candy you are freeze-drying, you may also note a more prominent or concentrated flavor. This makes sense because the lack of moisture means that the flavors are less “diluted.”
The biggest downside that people don’t love about this process is that the method makes the candies very crunchy. That may sound great, but not if you expected a soft chewy treat.
Again, this texture change makes complete sense because the moisture is what makes the candy soft and chewy in the first place. Once it is removed, only a crunch remains.
Once you start eating them, they will immediately start melting in your mouth.
How To Make Freeze-Dry Candy
Now, you can buy a freeze-dry candy machine. However, they are extremely difficult to find and very expensive.
The cheapest one I came across was a little over $2000! And it was massive for a household appliance. Sure, it will fit on a countertop. But only if you have unlimited space! And don’t get me started on the maintenance cost of these things!
Unless you are planning on running a business with this machine, it’s not worth the purchase. You’d be better off buying freeze-dried candy online.
So, what about simply freezing the candy?
You can try. But you won’t get your freezer cold enough to have the same effect on the candies as the machines do. Remember, the machine flash-freezes the candies, then dries them out to remove the moisture.
So, Can You Dry Candy At All?
I hate to say it, but there isn’t a way to replicate the technique without a machine. And the machine isn’t worth buying if you aren’t starting a freeze-dried candy business.
The only real solution is to either buy from companies or simply heat-dry the candy. This is done by basically putting them inside a dehydrator at an EXTREMELY low temperature. If the temperature is too high, the candies will melt.
But again, they won’t be the same as freeze-dried candies. So it’s not even worth trying in my opinion.
Where To Buy These Candies?
Trust me, despite this practice being fairly uncommon, there is no shortage of options! And buying these candies is surprisingly easy and accessible!
First of all, most of them are available online. Very few are sold in stores, let alone at supermarkets or massive chain grocery stores. You may find them at your local candy shop or baking supply store.
But your best bet would be to look on Amazon. There you will find a wide variety of popular candies including Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, Charleston Chews, and Fruit Bursts. But trust me, there are loads more!
And you will quickly start to notice the same brands that sell these treats.
Now, your next question may be along the lines of why the variety is relatively limited. And that’s simply because not all candies freeze dry well. While they can all undergo this technique, not all of them maintain a good, edible texture and flavor.
This is quite a new concept so there isn’t any evidence to suggest yes or no. For now, I would treat these candies exactly like I would regular ones: moderation is key.
Many people think the “freeze” in “freeze-dry” means that they have to be kept inside the freezer or fridge. But luckily, you can keep them at room temperature. That’s almost the entire point of the process – to preserve their shelf life for decades!
Here it comes: these candies can easily last up to 25 years! Crazy, right? But, the packaging used to store them, including their storage conditions, can affect this number.