How to Freeze Dry Candy? [Explained]

How to freeze dry candy
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Freeze dry candy seems to be the new fad among kids and adults. Not only is frozen dry candy much tastier and more refreshing than regular candy, but it can last for ages. However, freeze-drying candy isn’t just throwing candy in the freezer; it also requires some knowledge and equipment. So, how to freeze dry candy? 

The best way to freeze dry candy is with a freeze dryer. Still, a freeze dryer isn’t a standard appliance in every home. Therefore the simplest way to freeze-dry candy is to place it in a freezer baggie and put the baggie in a mini-cooler. Fill the mini-cooler with ice, cover it up with ice and place it in the freezer.

I love the crunchy texture of frozen dry candy, and I love how intense they taste cold, so freezing dry candy has become a hobby of mine. Still, it has been a journey, especially since I had no idea what I was doing initially. In the following paragraphs, I will share what I’ve learned about this process and the easiest ways how to freeze dry candy.

How Do You Freeze Dry Candy at Home?

The best and simplest way to freeze-dry candy is to use a freeze dryer. 

However, a freeze dryer isn’t something we all have lying around, so some may need to get more creative in preserving the candies. 

Freeze-drying candy is possible at home, even without a machine, but the results take time, and they aren’t the same as with a freeze-dryer. Nevertheless, the home freezing methods will also deliver good results. 

Also, the process that doesn’t occur in a freeze-dryer isn’t technically freeze-drying, but it works pretty similarly. 

Before freeze-drying the candy, it is essential to know a few preparatory steps you need to take to freeze-dry candy at home successfully. 

Always cut your candy into bitesize pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will freeze-dry. Another reason to cut the candy is to make it more enjoyable to eat after taking it out of the freezer. 

The point of freeze-drying isn’t to preserve the food but to intensify its flavor; therefore, you will be eating your freeze-dried food cold. So cutting it into bitesize pieces will significantly add to your long-awaited pleasure. 

Another thing to do before freeze-drying your candy is to pre-freeze it. Although this isn’t a mandatory step for hard candies, it is an absolute imperative for softer sweets and ice cream. 

Place them in the freezer for a few hours before freeze-drying them. This will preserve their consistency and structure and cut down the time needed for freeze-drying. 

After you do the preparatory steps, there are two ways to freeze-dry your candy. 

The first way is to place the candy in a freezer baggie and place the baggie in a mini-cooler. The next step is to fill the cooler with dry ice and cover it with dry ice. Place the cooler in the freezer and leave it there. 

Don’t seal the cooler, as you risk it exploding due to the expansion of gasses during this process. It will take approximately 48 hours for the freeze-drying process to be complete. 

The second method is to freeze-dry your candy on a tray. Place parchment paper on the tray, pour the candy, and even them out. Don’t allow the candy to build up one over another, but make sure they are in a single layer. 

Place the tray in your deep freezer and wait. This is the slowest method, and it can take over 48 hours for the candy to freeze-dry. Also, this method gives weaker results than the one I mentioned first. 

However, even though both these methods aren’t as good as freeze-drying your candy with a freeze-dryer, they offer satisfactory results. 


How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream? What Does It Taste Like?

Can You Freeze-Dry Candy With a Dehydrator?

Since dehydration isn’t the same as freeze-drying, freeze-drying with a dehydrator isn’t possible. Essentially, both dehydrating and free-drying do the same thing- remove water. However, while the dehydrator removes the water to prepare the food for further storage, freeze-drying is a storing method. 

Furthermore, while the dehydration process removes 80% of the water content, the freeze-drying process removes 95%. Both methods are aimed at food preservation, whereby dehydration preserves the food for one to five years, and the freeze-drying process keeps food safe for up to 25 years. 

So, in summation, although both freeze-drying and dehydration are food preserving methods, both removing water from the food, they aren’t the same. Therefore freeze-drying using a dehydrator isn’t freeze-drying at all but dehydrating.

How Do You Freeze Dry Candy Without a Machine?

Although using a freeze-dryer is the best way to freeze-dry candy, there are alternative methods you can try that don’t require a machine. However, these methods don’t trigger the same processes in the candy as a freeze-dryer does. 

The freeze-drying process removes up to 95% of the water, leaving the structure, consistency, and nutritional value of the candy almost intact, intensifying the taste. The alternatives to freeze-drying dehydrate the candy to some extent but cause structural changes. 

Therefore the improvisations involving a regular freeze, a mini-cooler, and dry ice cannot be called freeze-drying, but they are effective enough to provide satisfactory results. Still, they aren’t bad for a DIY project and home use. 

Can You Freeze Dry Candy in an Air Dryer?

The air dryer can double more as a dehydrator than a freeze-drying machine. Since the air dryer can’t freeze nor create a vacuum, it cannot freeze-dry candy. 

However, some air dryers have the option to set the temperature to dehydrate the food without cooking it. So, even though they can’t freeze-dry candy, they can dehydrate it and prepare it for further storage in the freezer. 

How to Freeze Dry Skittles?

The best way to freeze-dry Skittles is the freeze-dryer. The only thing to keep an eye on is to place the Skittles in a single layer on the tray. Other than that, just follow the instructions on the machine, and you’re done. 

On the other hand, you can use your deep freezer if you want to improvise. Again, place the Skittles on a parchment paper layered tray. Make sure you place them in a single layer and put the tray in the deep freezer. 

This process may last longer than 48 hours, so you must be very patient and not disturb the freeze-drying process. 

I wouldn’t recommend freeze-drying Skittles with the mini-cooler method, as it implies putting the Skittles in a freezer baggie. This stacking could make them stick together, and they will crack after you take them out. 

Therefore, the tray layering methods, whether in the freeze-dryer or the deep freezer, are most suitable for Skittles. 

There’s no valid practical reason to freeze-dry Skittles, as they have a long shelf-life. However, they taste much better freeze-dried, with a more intense flavor and crunchier texture. So, now that you know how to freeze dry Skittles, give it a try!  

What Are the Best Freeze-Dried Candies?

There are many types of freeze-dried candy. The freeze-dried Sour Patches are great. Refreshing and sweet and sour simultaneously, they are a real treat. 

Another good idea is the freeze-dried Jolly Ranchers. These fruit-flavored candies are so refreshing you will feel as if you had real frozen fruit in your mouth. How long does it take to freeze dry Jolly Ranchers? It will take you at least 8 hours to freeze dry Jolly Ranchers. Some candy batches take about 24 hours to complete the process.

Freeze-dried Candy Corn appears just like before freeze-drying but tastes less dense than regular. They still have their recognizable deliciousness but are a bit more elegantly packed. 

How to freeze dry candy

I already mentioned Skittles. Freeze-Dried Skittles are much crunchier and more intense-tasting than regular Skittles. The air-bubbles forming below their shell make them a real tease for the palate. 

Freeze-dried Caramel Apple Pops are at the same time a crunchy and a pillowy experience. They are larger than a regular lollypop and easier to bite. 

Freeze-dried Air Duds are a tasty cold delight. They are filled with air bubbles that burst on your tongue, making them a fun surprise for your mouth. The freeze-drying process makes them lighter than air. 

Considering that freeze-dried candies are still relatively new on the market, there aren’t many reputable brands that have gained world fame yet. The brand selection isn’t that big, making your job that harder to select the right freeze-dried type of candy. 

Choosing a well-established and trustworthy brand is very important, as many brands use unsafe and improper freeze-drying methods. Therefore choosing the wrong brand can be harmful to you. 

Is Freeze-Dried Candy Healthier?

Since freeze-drying only affects the candy’s texture, consistency, and flavor, it doesn’t make the candy healthier or less healthy. 

Freeze-drying leaves the chemical structure of the candy intact, meaning that what the candy contained before the process will be retained afterward. Therefore, freeze-dried candy would have the same chemical composition as regular candy. 

However, if we compare the nutritional value of dehydrated candy vs. freeze-dried candy, the results would favor freeze-dried candy. Considering that the dehydrating process leaves about 60% of the chemical structure unchanged, affecting about 40% of the overall composition, the healthier option here would be freeze-drying. 

Can You Sell Freeze-Dried Candy From Home?

Starting a freeze-dried candy business from home is possible, and it could be a lucrative idea. However, when doing business with any type of food, especially when that business involves any food processing, food safety should be your priority. 

Not only would your business fail, but you could also face legal problems. You should have the proper equipment to sell freeze-dried candy from home, and there’s no gray zone here. 

The proper equipment implies an appropriate freeze-dryer and hygienic working surfaces. You also need to consult with the legal requirements and get informed on the legal and sanitary dos and don’ts. 

As with any business, you will need an initial investment, and you will need to get educated in the musts and mustn’t of freeze-drying. However, it is entirely possible to sell freeze-dried candies. 

Is Buying a Freeze-Dryer Worth It?

A freeze-dryer is a very useful appliance and an irreplaceable one when it comes to freeze-drying. A freeze-dryer is a wise purchase if your finances, space, and experience are suitable.

Freeze-drying isn’t freeze-drying if done with anything else but a freeze-dryer. So, it should be only logical that this appliance is irreplaceable for this purpose. However, an effect similar to that can also be obtained through alternative methods that could double for freeze-drying. 

Therefore, whether or not a freeze-dryer is worth buying mainly depends on what you want to achieve. To decide if a freeze-dryer is the right purchase for you should ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. What do you need it for? Is it for personal use or business? If it is for personal use, you don’t have to buy one right away. I recommend using the alternative methods instead, at least until you get the hang of it. If you need a freeze-dryer for business, I recommend buying one. 
  2. How experienced are you? Freeze-drying takes some time to master, and you need to be patient during the learning process. It isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t a piece of cake either. Therefore, your level of experience with freeze-drying is a significant factor in your purchasing decision. If you already know what you’re doing, go for it, but if you are still learning, you may want to hold your horses until you are more confident. 
  3. Have you ever tried freeze-dried food? Do you like it? There’s no point in investing in a freeze dryer if you aren’t familiar with the results. You may not like what comes out. 

Considering that freeze-dryers aren’t cheap and their cost ranges from $ 2.000 to over $ 30.000, you should carefully consider all factors before buying one. 

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