Do you enjoy a crunchy and light snack that just melts in your mouth? If you do, you’re probably a fan of freeze-dried candy. In recent years, they’ve become one of the major food trends in social media. Owners of freeze-drying machines experiment with various brands of sweets and share their results with the world. Unlike with other freeze-dried food, candies significantly change their texture and structure during the process. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the topic of dehydrated sweets. This post is part of our series on freeze-drying. Find out more about the benefits of freeze-dried vs dehydrated as well as information on the wholesale freeze-dried market.
What Are Freeze-Dried Candy and How to Make Them
During the process of freeze-drying, products are dehydrated and lose around 99% of their water content. That can be done for candies and sweets too. During the freeze-drying process, they often change their form. Freeze-dried candy cannot be easily rehydrated. Instead, they are eaten as a crunchy standalone snack or mixed with other food such as a whole-grain breakfast bowl or a yogurt dessert.
How to Make Freeze-Dried Sweets
In order to dehydrate candy via this method, you need a specialized machine called a freeze-dryer. The process includes a few steps.
- Freezing. When the sweets are placed on the trays of the freeze-drying machine, the machine will start lowering the temperature inside the chamber. Depending on the settings, the temperature will drop to between -50°F and -30°F. That guarantees that all products are deeply frozen.
- Pressure reduction. Once these low temperatures are achieved, the machine will start creating a vacuum inside the chamber.
- Dehydration. When the pressure is reduced, heat will be introduced inside the chamber. Because of the low pressure, as temperatures rise above 32°F, the ice crystals in the sweets won’t liquefy. Instead, they will evaporate.
One of the disadvantages of making freeze-dried candy is that it requires special equipment in the form of a freeze-dryer machine. As these machines can be expensive, it might be better to simply purchase freeze-dried sweets if you’re not consuming them as often.
Key takeaway: Candies can be dehydrated through the freeze-drying process. The result is a crunchy and tasty snack. Gummy candy and ice cream are among the most popular sweets you can freeze-dry.
Popular Freeze-Dried Candy
Even though the freeze-drying method has been popular for fruits and beverages, recently a lot of people have been experimenting with freeze-drying popular candy brands. As they all have specific textures and forms, the results can be very interesting. Allow us to share more details about some of the popular types of freeze-dried candy.
- Gummy candy. Chewable sweets like gummy bears or worms can be dehydrated in a freeze-dryer. The result is a crunchy snack that has its original fruity or sour flavor. During the dehydration process, these candies change their texture and become similar to corn puffs. Their size also increases drastically.
- Marshmallows. Just like gummy candy, they become crunchy and hard when freeze-dried. Their size doesn’t change much unlike their texture. They can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or as a hot beverage topping.
- Ice cream. It is one of the most popular freeze-dried sweets. The ice cream can be in various flavors. Its texture becomes crunchy and you don’t need to store it in the fridge after it has been dehydrated via a freeze-dryer. It’s also referred to as "astronaut ice cream" as it is one of the desserts consumed by astronauts in space.
- Chocolate-covered treats. Strawberries or other fruits covered in chocolate are a beloved treat for many. In order to freeze-dried candies that have been covered with a layer of chocolate, you might need to create a few holes in the outer layer. Otherwise, some of the moisture might be trapped beneath the chocolate layer.
- Skittles. They are among the favorite items for owners of a freeze-dryer to dehydrate. During the process, their shells often crack. This means that the end result looks like popcorn. They are most commonly consumed as a standalone snack. However, as food service establishments are striving to showcase interesting decorations on social media, they can take part in a restaurant’s marketing efforts as well.
- Bars. Peanut butter or caramel bars can be enjoyed in a freeze-dried form as well. In order to guarantee optimal results, the items must be prepared properly. That means slicing them into smaller pieces so that all moisture will be able to evaporate.
Benefits of Freeze-Dried Candy
- They are better for the teeth. As they dissolve quickly and contain the same nutrients as regular candy. Keep in mind that, like any candy, they can still lead to dental problems.
- They are lightweight and easy to transport. Even though the size of freeze-dried candies is usually larger, they are much more lightweight as they don’t have any water content.
- Prolonged shelf life. The shelf life of freeze-dried products is prolonged significantly. If stored properly, they can be safely consumed up to 25-30 years later.
- No need to rehydrate them. Unlike beverages or meals, you don’t need to rehydrate freeze-dried sweets in order to consume them. Instead, enjoy their taste in this crunchy form.
- Room for experimentation. You can safely experiment with different sweets and check the results. In fact, some businesses might organize freeze-dried candy tasting events as a way to boost their popularity and gain social media recognition.
Frequently Asked Questions about Freeze-Dried Candy
If you’re a restaurant manager who wants to ride the trend wave and implement freeze-dried products in your business or you simply want to make freeze-dried candy at home, you might have various questions. Below we’ve answered some of the common ones.
What Other Items You Can Freeze-Dry?
Freeze-drying is a food preservation technique that is used by both households and business owners. It can be used for a variety of products. Instant tea powder and instant coffee are among the most popular types of freeze-dried drinks. The beverage industry also offers milk and bulk juice in a freeze-dried form. When beverages go through this process, their texture becomes powder-like. In order to rehydrate them, simply mix them with water. Soups and stews can also be dehydrated in a freeze-drying machine.
Other popular items you can freeze-dry include:
- Freeze-dried fruits. Berries and citrus fruits are popular options as they become crunchy and tasty.
- Vegetables. They can be used for cooking or as decoration for salads.
- Dairy products. Milk and cheese are some of the examples in that category.
Freeze-drying is also used by the taxidermy and pharmaceutical industries.
Can You Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Candy?
Yes. Although most people prefer to consume freeze-dried candy without rehydrating them, it’s perfectly fine to rehydrate them. In order to do so, you just need to add moisture near them. However, some candies and sweets might drastically change their texture if they’ve been dehydrated and introduced to moisture afterward. Therefore, it’s recommended that you eat freeze-dried candy as a crunchy snack.
Is Freeze-Dried Candy Suitable for Children?
Freeze-dried candy and sweets can safely be consumed by children. However, during the dehydration process, these products maintain their nutritional value. Therefore, parents should monitor portion sizes and sugar intake. Overconsumption of candy, whether they’re freeze-dried or not, may lead to poor weight management, increased cholesterol levels, and other health issues.