freeze dried candy

How to Make Freeze Dried Candy at Home?

Do you want to how to make a freeze dried candy? Do you want to know what it tastes like and how it is different from regular candy? Well, here we will share with you all you need to know about dried candy, so stay tuned!

Freeze drying is when we completely freeze the candy and place it under a vacuum to remove water or other solvents while allowing the ice to change directly from a solid to a vapor without passing through a liquid phase.

It is a pretty old technique, first introduced in 1890. Doctors used it for medical purposes, but with the evolution of technology, you can find dried freeze candy, chocolates, fruits, and many other eatables. The process changes the texture of the food items, making them crunchier and chewier and expanding the life of the food.

As per reports, freeze-drying is an effective method to preserve food for long durations. The food remains eatable even after 20 to 25 years if you efficiently use the proper freeze-drying technique. Sounds great? You will have the same deliciousness as like you are eating it fresh.

You can freeze-dry many eatables at home, but we focused on preparing the best freeze-dried candy in this article. We have explained the entire process. Make sure you follow it as instructed, or it wonít work. Itís a complicated process that needs your attention.

Options to prepare dried freeze candy

There are two options to prepare the best freeze-dried candy: you can use the machine, the easiest and most effective method, or the manual method, which is less expensive and less effective.

1. Use a machine

A freeze-drying machine is an expensive deal. It will cost you around $2,495 Ė $5,090 depending upon the size of the pump and other specifications, or else you can search options in home freeze dryers; they are cost-effective and specially designed for domestic use. It makes your job easier; you need to put frozen food inside the machine, and the rest will be done automatically. However, if you try the freeze-drying experiment once at home, you donít need to invest considerably. Luckily, you have other options as well.

2. The manual methods

You can try two manual methods to freeze-dry; these methods are less effective if compared to machines. But it will solve your purpose if you are trying it for a fun experiment on a weekend.

The dry-ice method

Take whatever you want to freeze dry and put the items inside a zip lock bag (for this experiment, use candies). Put the bag inside a chiller and pour some dry ice to seal it effectively.

At the same time, you need to leave some space for the air to pass, or else your chiller will explode. To increase the intensity and for best results, leave your inside the deep freezer for at least 24 hours (itís the minimum time you may wait for up to 12 hours more if you want)

The process removes the watery content from the food items. Make sure you quickly shift the food into an airtight container, or the candies will be contaminated because of moisture. This makes the process more effective.

Freeze

It is the easiest but the slowest and least effective method to try. Even it doesnít include the use of dry ice. All you need is:

  • A parchment paper
  • Place your food items on the paper and let them freeze inside the deep freezer
  • The process may take up to 48 hours or more

We are only deep-freezing the food item in this process while completely ignoring the concept of removing water or other solvents from food. So, itís not really that freeze-drying will ever provide the same results.

Still, itís good to try as an experiment if you donít want to invest anything in the process.

freeze dried candy
Image Credit: Flickr

How to prepare the best freeze-dried candy?

Now that you understand the methods you can try, let us know the exact process you need to prepare the best freeze-dried candy at home. We have explained both manual and mechanical methods so that everyone can try them at home:

1. Ingredients

Of course, you need candies, but the process starts with choosing the type of candies. Every candy is different in shape, size, and texture. We recommend you to select skittles if you are doing it for the first time because they transform into delicious textures with an improved taste.

2. The process

The first 3 steps of the process remain the same for both methods, but the last is different based on the technique:

Cut your candy into small chunks

We need to dry every candyís moisture to get the perfect taste and texture. Evaporating the humidity out of big chunks of candies is tricky and may result in a poor experience.†However, itís not needed if your candy is already in small chunks.

Pre freezing in your regular freezer

Itís an essential step to follow the manual process to prepare dried freeze candy. Although dry-ice freezes everything inside the cooler but still itís a good practice to follow for best results.

If you are using a freeze-drying machine, you may skip this process as the machine do pretty much everything for you. However, we still recommend you follow this step. We tried it ourselves and got the best results.

Time to place candies on a tray.

Take the candies out of your freezer and place them in the tray (in a sealed Ziplock bag in case of manual coolers). Make sure you evenly spread the treat, leaving some space between them.

Let the air pass through all sides of your candies to expedite the drying process. So, it will save you a lot of time, and the texture remains the same.

Place them inside the cooler and leave for 20 to 25 hours

The process is easy for manual coolers, where you need to place the polythene bag and completely cover it up with dry ice. Please close it to retain the gasses but make sure you donít seal it, or it may blast.

For the mechanical process, itís time to place the tray inside. Factors that affect the process include:

  • The moisture and air inside your candies
  • If your candies pre-frozen

Be safe with the machine and make sure to seal it properly. Your backyard is the best place to keep your machine. If the backyard is not possible, try to keep it in open spaces.

Take the candies out as soon as the process is completed and immediately store them in an air tight container or bag.

3. Precautions

It looks like a simple process, but many things can go wrong. Please follow these precautions to save yourself from hazards.

  • Use gloves while handling dry ice as it may burn your hand
  • Check instructions before using the freeze-drying machine as itís not a regular machine, and a few wrong settings may result in a considerable hazard
  • When trying for the first time, using chocolates and ice cream may not show the desired results
  • Follow every process the way we explained. A slight change in the procedure might result in a ruined experience

What is the difference between freeze drying and dehydrating?

Most people confuse between the freeze-drying and dehydrating process. They think they are just the same, but itís not true. In reality, both methods are entirely different from each other.

The primary purpose of both processes is to eliminate moisture from the food so that it does not decompose, get old, etc. Studies show that Dehydration removes around 90 to 95 percent of moisture, but freeze-drying eliminates about 98 to 99 percent.

We conduct the process almost the same, but freeze-dried foods are low in moistness, have a longer shelf life, and are more palatable than dehydrated foods. In addition, freeze-dried foods rehydrate faster and retain their original texture, shape, and color.

Both processes aim to remove moisture from food items, whereas freeze-drying is much better than dehydrating.

What kind of food items can you freeze dry?

We just discussed the process to get the best freeze-dried candy, but candies arenít the only food item you can try. There are many more, but the famous ones include:

  • Ice Cream:†The process doesnít change the ice creamís shape. Instead, it makes the treat rugged, lightweight, and crispy.
  • Fruits:†the fruit shrinks in size, and the process concentrates the sugar content, making it easier to consume more servings in one sitting than had it been finished in its new form.

Some other popular items that people freeze-dry include Coffee, Fruit and juice, Vegetables, Meat, Fish and Seafood, Eggs, and other Dairy products.

What can you not freeze dry?

There is nothing wrong with freeze-drying any food item, but some things donít freeze-dry well and show poor results after serious efforts. Therefore, we donít recommend freeze-drying rice, noodles, potatoes, cream cheese, whole vegetables, block cheese, dressings, and other condiments.

Even if you are trying, make sure you cut them into the minor pieces possible so that most of the area remains in contact with air. It might give you a good experience, but itís not worth it.

Pros and Cons of freeze-drying

There are a lot of myths about the freeze-drying process where some say it destroys the nutrition elements and make the food useless to eat. But, at the same time, others support the process because it provides an extended shelf life.

Based on our understanding, we did a quick evaluation based on the pros and cons to make it easier to understand.

Pros

Makes the food lighter

Once all the water content is removed, the food becomes lighter and diet-friendly. So even, you can easily carry it with you and consume your favourite snacks on the go.

Nutrition elements remain intact

In the freeze-drying process, we are not removing anything from the food items other than water. So, all of their nutritional quality and taste remain the same. Although the shape and size change, we donít think that matters.

Saves you from refrigeration

Dried foods donít require refrigeration as they can easily be stored at room temperature for over 20 years. Their shelf life increases and makes them a readily available product to consume.

Can efficiently be rehydrated

Rehydrating freeze-dried products is simple. You have to add hot water to a bowl of freeze-dried food items or add water and warm them in the microwave or cook them on the stovetop.

Cons

A slow process

The freeze-drying process is slow, and it will test your patience. However, it wastes time if you do it for the first time and donít get the desired results.

Doesnít save much space

If you think that freeze-drying shrinks food items, then youíre mistaken. They shrink them but wonít save enough space for you, and the foodís cellular structure is mostly retained.

You need airtight containers for storage

If you are willing to store the dried items for a longer time, you cannot just put them in a polythene bag. It would help if you had proper airtight containers to keep them ideally.

Cost and texture

Freeze-drying is costly if you want the best results, plus some people donít like the end product. They say it feels like eating Styrofoam, so this productís commercial market is not very big.

Final thoughts

We hope you were closely able to understand the process of preparing dried freeze candy. It is an easy process but gets trickier when you do it for the first time. We guess the manual method is complex, and you need to arrange a few materials before to get good results.

The machining process shows the best results, and you get the best freeze-dried candy, but itís expensive and not suitable for all.

At last, candies are not the only food item you can freeze-dry. There are many. Generally, you can freeze-dry anything you want. Just make sure you refrain from using the things we added to the list.

What do you think about this process? Are you going to try freeze-drying, or have you ever tried? Also, please tell us if you are using a machine or a manual process?