Want to know how to freeze dry candy to transform sweet treats into crunchier versions? Doing the dry-freeze technique will remove all the moisture from the candies and, in turn, increase the shelf-life of these. Keep reading to learn how to freeze dry candy at home with simple steps.
If you are thinking about the lack of taste and flavor after dry-freezing, the best part is everything remains the same and even better. Therefore, whether you want to start a new business, experiment with dessert toppings, or make a trail mix, learning to freeze dry candy can help you achieve the best results.
What are dry freezing and its benefits?
Before learning how to freeze dry candy, let’s glimpse the procedure that has become so popular. Also called lyophilization, dry freezing is the technique to eradicate moisture from a substance, especially edible, while retaining its other characteristics. The process is highly popular in the food production, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.
Dry freezing of candies involves keeping those at a very low temperature, mostly lower than the triple point. Then, the candies undergo a rigorous vacuuming process, ensuring the frozen moisture’s sublimation transforms into gas directly. As a result, the taste and flavor of the candies are not damaged at all.
There are several benefits of dry freezing over other dehydration techniques. Firstly, the zero-heat application ensures no alteration of the primary characteristics of the candies. Secondly, there is a considerable increase in the shelf life of the food items.
There are instances where dry freezing has resulted in a shelf life of over 25 years and more. Last but not least, the weight of any substance reduces after dry freezing resulting in easy storage and transportation. Besides candies, this procedure works very well for coffee, vegetables, fruits, medicines, and more.
How to freeze dry candy at home without a machine?
If you are curious to know how to freeze dry candy at home, the best way is by using a proper dryer. However, investing in a freeze-dryer, maintaining it, and using it is an expensive procedure. Therefore, let’s get to the alternatives requiring no machines.
You must note that the results may be more accurate with a machine, and the time to freeze will be longer. However, the results will be quite good overall and hassle-free as well. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps. Remember, the end goal is not just to preserve the candies but to intensify the flavor as well.
If you are worried about how to freeze dry candy at home without a machine, another good news is that there is more than one way to do it.
Freezer bag technique
According to the first method, you must place all the candies after chopping them into a freezer bag. Then, you can chuck it into a mini-cooler and fill it with a lot of dry ice. Keep the cooler inside the freezer for at least 48 hours. Additionally, you must ensure the cooler is open, as there will be gas expansion during the procedure.
Freezing on tray technique
As per this method, you must take a big tray, place the candies on a parchment sheet in a single layer, and freeze them. However, you must remember that the process is quite slow and may be less effective than the first one. Unlike the previous method, if you want to know how long it takes to freeze dry candy, the answer is over 48 hours.
How to freeze dry candy at home
Before everything else, choosing the right candies is essential to freeze-dry them. The hard candies are usually more suitable for the procedure than gummies. Here are a few simple steps to help you understand how to freeze dry candy without a machine:
Step 1: Chop candies into bite-size pieces
While this step may not apply to all types of candies already in smaller pieces, it is mandatory for others. For example, chopping is important for evenness if you want to freeze dry a big candy bar. Besides, smaller pieces take less time to freeze, and the results are more efficient due to the larger surface area.
Step 2: Pre-freezing is very important
This process is optional if you are working with shelf-stable candies. However, pre-freezing is essential if you have something softer, like ice cream, that you want to freeze dry. Since carrying out the entire procedure without a machine is pretty time-consuming, pre-freezing can save you a lot of effort and time. Because the candies or ice cream already reach a low temperature, when you chuck it in with dry ice, the time to freeze dry becomes lesser.
Step 3: Create a single layer of candies on the freezing tray
You must ensure that no overlapping happens when trying to arrange the candies on a tray before freeze-drying. It will only result in an alteration in the structure of the treats, and all you have later are bigger chunks of rock candies. Another factor is that when the candies are in an even layer, they are all exposed to the air helping the dry freezing to happen quicker.
Step 4: Using a freeze-dryer to speed up the process
Of course, using an efficient freeze-dryer will speed up the process by at least 20 to 25 hours. When the drying is finished, you may remove your treats and release the pressure by opening the vent at the back of the appliance! The finished item must be in an airtight container, such as a jar or zip-lock bag. Freeze-dried foods can be kept anywhere once they are sealed in airtight containers!
How long does it take to freeze dry candy?
The freeze-drying process might range from 15 to 25 hours when you use a machine and 48 hours or more at home. This depends on several things, including the moisture content, quantity, and pre-freezing status of the candies. Some further, more general considerations should be made, such as positioning and sealing your freeze-dryer in an appropriate location.
What are the results of freeze-drying candies?
As mentioned earlier, choosing the right type of candies is very important. For example, varieties like Skittles work way better when it comes to freeze-drying than something like m&m’s. It is because the former is a sugar-based candy compared to the latter, a chocolate-based one.
The ones with sugar coatings expand in size and may crack; the taste and flavor profile intensify for the better after dry-freezing. On the other hand, chocolate candies are prone to alteration in this process and may taste weird later.
Check out this section to know how differently candies may react after undergoing dry-freezing:
Skittles: The shells pop open and double in size. These are virtually entirely sugar without water; therefore, their flavor is incredibly potent.
Ice cream: Ice cream becomes solid, light, and crunchy yet retains its original shape and size. Compared to Skittles, the sugar content is less overbearing.
Other candies: Generally, they grow in size and alter shape based on the sort of candy you are freeze-drying. This is especially true if they are gelatin-filled gummy sweets or lollipops. These sweets pack a powerful punch with their delicious delight!
How do freeze dry candies taste?
Generally, the candies taste exactly like the originals. Several people have noticed that the treats become sweeter after the freeze-drying process. Depending on the sort of candy you are freeze-drying, you might also detect a stronger or more concentrated flavor. This makes sense because the flavors are less ” diluted ” due to the absence of moisture.
The approach makes the candies incredibly crunchy, which may also be the main drawback people dislike. It might seem like it could be better if you were hoping for a soft, chewy treat. Again, the wetness originally made the candy soft and chewy, so the texture shift makes perfect sense. Only a crunch is left behind after it is taken out.
How to freeze dry candy for commercial uses?
Large companies have undoubtedly honed this method using sophisticated machinery. However, common folk will never have use of those tools. The machine employed in bigger factories and industrial spaces completes every task in one motion.
To best maintain their flavor, the candies are first flash-frozen. They risk freezer burn, which alters the texture and flavor of the sweets if they slowly freeze them. The device creates a vacuum once all the candies have been frozen. This vacuum takes all of the air and moisture at the same time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Is a freeze dry candy healthier than a regular one?
There are no scientific proof that can back the fact that freeze dry candies are healthier. You should treat them like regular candies. If you can tweak the making process and use less sugar, they can make less sweet than the candies you buy from stores.
2. Do I need to refrigerate freeze dry candies?
Most people think that the term freeze in freeze-dry candies automatically confirms that these candies require refrigeration. The truth is, you can store them at room temperature. The reason why we make freeze dry candies is to improve shelf life for years to come. So, refrigeration is not required.
3. How long can I store freeze dry candies?
You can save freeze dry candies for decades. However, it will depend on the type of package you use to store them. How you store them will also determine the shelf life. At the most, these candies can last till 25 years. But we wouldn’t recommend you keep them that long for consumption.
By knowing how to freeze dry candy, you can improve the shelf life of your favorite treats and enjoy them longer. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps, as mentioned above, and you can taste the crunchy, sweet goodness of the candies. Use them as snacks, toppings, or additives. The flavor and texture of everything will be completely top-notch!