11 Best Freeze-Dried Candies – The Ultimate Guide
If it feels like these candies have all of a sudden appeared out of the blue, you are definitely not the only one that has noticed this. There has recently been a massive spike in conversation surrounding these types of candies.
What makes these candies differ so much from others isn’t their flavor or shape to size, but actually their texture. This is because they have been freeze dried which gives them a crunchy texture that melts in your mouth.
So, what are the best freeze dried candies you can buy? We highly recommend choosing freeze dried candies from reputable brands. This might seem logical, but unfortunately, there aren’t that many brands available yet and a lot of companies use shortcuts and potentially hazardous freezing methods using chemicals.
Other than that, any of your favorite candies that have been freeze dried will have a spongy appearance and an incredibly concentrated flavor. Make sure to always choose properly sealed packages.
Today we will have a look at exactly what freeze drying is, how it works, and even more importantly, how it affects the texture of candies.
Then we will look at how to choose the best freeze dried candies and finally give you our 11 best choices for freeze dried candies that can all be conveniently found on Amazon.
What Is Freeze Drying?
You have probably seen the term “freeze dried” quite a lot, but very few people actually understand what it is, what makes it special, and how the process is done.
Freeze drying food is a way to dehydrate food items and lower their moisture content as much as possible.
This is done to mainly preserve ingredients or food items, however, it is also used to create interesting and very specific textures.
Heat-dehydration was always the preferred method to dry food and helps preserve it. When using this method, many of the foods develop a naturally chewy texture.
While this texture works fantastic for dried food like biltong, bresaola, and jerky, it isn’t as appealing with fruits or candies.
This is where freeze drying comes in. This method of dehydrating food is meant to create a texture that will essentially melt in your mouth.
The food items are cooled to roughly -58 to -112 degrees Fahrenheit (about -50 to -80 degrees Celsius). The massive range in temperature is mainly because different products need to be processed in different ways.
These temperatures freeze the food to such an extent that it can never melt or evaporate – basically, it can only be solid.
Once completely frozen, the food is dried by first removing pressure and then applying heat to it.
The combination of freezing, de-pressurizing, and drying with heat causes the water content of the item to be extremely low.
What Is Freeze Dried Candy?
So, freeze dried candies are regular candies that have been freeze dried to help preserve them without making them chewy when they are dried out.
This method helps preserve the color, aromas, and flavor of the candies extremely well.
If you were to dry candy using heat, they would simply melt or become extremely sticky – not actually dry out at all!
Their color will also change and their flavor will become more caramel-like.
The flavor of freeze dried candy is exactly the same as their original (hydrated) versions.
This is where this method majorly differs from heat-drying which completely changes the flavor during the drying process as we have mentioned.
Moving on to the texture part, there is a major noticeable difference between the textures of the hydrated version and the freeze dried version of candy.
When moisture freezes at extreme rates, it causes the water molecules to expand.
This in turn causes the candies to almost “swell” and become more airy-like in appearance – like a sponge or a type of aerated foam.
This air-like foamy texture (despite being hard) will melt in your mouth because of the fine physical structure it has after being processed.
How To – Freeze Dried Candy
The best way to properly dry candy at home is by using a freeze dryer. There are many smaller countertop versions that are perfect for making small homemade batches.
The biggest problem with these appliances is that they cost a small fortune!
Their starting price roughly starts at $2000. The larger you go and the more complex model you choose, naturally the price will sky-rocket.
There are a couple of alternative make-shift methods you can try at home, but keep in mind that none of these will be anything close to the real deal.
The result will be, in our opinion, close enough and just as delicious.
The Home Freezer Method
To sum it up, all you have to do for this easy method is place your candies on a tray, place the tray in the freezer and leave them there for roughly 2-3 weeks.
During this time they will have frozen a considerable amount and are finally ready to be stored in an airtight bag.
We would highly recommend making one big batch of candy that will last you a while. You do not want to run out of candy after only a few days and have to wait another 3 weeks for more!
Chest freezers work better in our opinion because they tend to have lower temperatures.
If you have a freezer with adjustable temperature settings, make sure to put it on the lowest setting possible.
This method works for the same reason many hate it; the time frame. Food (in this case candy) does freeze within a few hours and can be completely frozen within a day or two.
However, to properly dry the candy it needs to stay in the freezer for a very long time.
This method definitely requires some practice and the best way to tell whether the food has been freeze dried properly is to let it a sample come up to room temperature.
The Dry Ice Method
We love working with dry ice! It is an amazing tool to have when you need to quickly and almost instantly lower the temperatures of foods.
To freeze dry candy using dry ice, make sure you have freezer-safe re-sealable bags and a cooler.
Place the candy in the bag and make sure it only has one layer when it’s sitting flat on a surface.
Then place the candy-filled freezer bag inside of the cooler and completely cover it with dry ice.
We recommend getting the ice underneath the bag as well to ensure all sides freeze and dries at the same rate.
Allow the bag to stay in the cooler for roughly 24 hours before removing your candy and storing it in airtight bags.
This method works much quicker compared to the others but there are complications that can arise.
First, do not seal the container! There are a ton of expanding gasses that could cause the container to explode.
If you have a lid on your container, make sure there are holes for these gasses to escape through.
Secondly, this method works the best and quickest on days with no humidity. The higher the humidity, the less effective the process will be.
And our final tip is to ensure that the bag is completely sealed. If any moisture enters it could ruin the entire batch of candy.
Buyer’s Guide For Freeze Dried Candies
If you have found a candy that sounds very appealing, there isn’t much stopping you from buying them.
We have a few things to look out for and tips to help you choose the best bang for your buck.
Choose A Reputable Brand
This is arguably the most important thing to look out for when choosing freeze dried candies. Either choose a brand that has a couple of freeze dried options or one that you know well.
This is mostly because there isn’t a ton of companies that manufacture these candies and many of them use shortcuts to speed up the process or use chemicals that could be potentially dangerous.
Check The Weights
Don’t you hate it when you buy a packet of candy and once you have opened it there is virtually nothing inside?!
Well, with freeze dried candy (and food in general) this is a big reoccurring problem. The packages are much bigger than their contents and it is best to check the net weight.
This way you can ensure whether or not you are buying a good amount, and secondly whether or not the price is reasonable.
Look At The Texture
Regardless of whether or not you are buying from a grocery store or online, have a look at the texture of the candy – for online purchases, take a look at the image or images attached.
Like we have mentioned before, the candies do expand when they are freeze dried, so to make sure you have the best possible product.
Also, look at whether they have that air-like texture to them.
Choose The Correct Size
Size is everything and there is a huge difference between buying a single serving packet and buying in bulk.
First, determine what you want to use the freeze dried candies for before simply buying.
If you simply want something sweet on a road trip, rather opt for smaller packets.
If you want to hand some on hand for a while, rather buy bulk as they will work out cheaper.
Make sure you have the correct storage space and even enough space for all of the freeze dried candy.
The best temperatures to store it at are between 32 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (0-24 degrees Celsius).
This means you can store the candies either at room temperature or in the fridge – maybe even the freezer if you really want to and don’t have another area.
If you do store it at room temperature, make sure it is away from any drafts and direct sunlight. A pantry, drawer, or food cupboard works best.
11 Best Freeze Dried Candies
Now, let’s get to enjoying these familiar favorites with a whole new crunch. Keep reading for our top choices to bite into.
|1.||RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Wild Berry Fruit Crunch Skittles||Classic berry flavors|
|2.||Freetles Freeze Dried Skittles||Perfect as a topping for desserts|
|3.||RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Jolly Ranchers Candy||Enhanced flavors, extra crunchy texture|
|4.||Freezie King Candy State Fair Freeze Dried Salt Water Taffy||Crunchy exterior, chewy inside|
|5.||Aloha Edibles Kalakoa Krunch Freeze Dried Fruit Candy||Unique salty and sweet flavor|
|6.||RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Sour Fruit Crunch Skittles||Variety of sour flavors, great as a dessert topping|
|7.||Taffy Shop Freeze Dried Zero Gravity Salt Water Taffy||Light and airy texture, gluten-, soy-, and peanut-free|
|8.||RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Fruit Crunch Brightside||Variety of tropical flavors|
|9.||Rocky Mountain Freeze Dried Mini Rainbow Marshmallows||Light crunch, extended shelf life|
|10.||Kalakoa Krunch Freeze Dried Passion Fruit Candy||Tropical flavors dusted with coconut powder|
|11.||RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Peach Rings||Crunchy, chewy, melts in your mouth|
1. RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Wild Berry Fruit Crunch Skittles
Now, most people prefer classic skittles, however, we have always been bigger fans of their Wild Berry flavor range.
RJ Pantry is a leading manufacturer of freeze dried candies and this one is one of their most successful.
They include all the classic berry Skittle flavors like Berry Punch, Strawberry, Melon Berry, Wild Cherry, and also Raspberry.
The size of this packet is also perfect for individual portioning and has a net weight of 4 ounces (roughly 113 grams).
A great way to tell that these are quality freeze dried candies is by looking at their images.
Remember how we discussed the expansion of molecules when moisture freezes; well you can see exactly what that means by looking at these.
And finally, what we love most about this product is the convenient re-sealable packaging it is sold in.
This makes it quick to grab and easy to take along on camping trips, when backpacking, or simply as a lunch-time snack!
2. Freetles Freeze Dried Skittles
Of course, we have included some classic Skittles on our list.
Skittles are one of the easiest candies to freeze dry and naturally, there are a ton of brands that try to make these.
These ones from Salt City Treats are by far our favorite!
They are made by being freeze dried at -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) and then slowly heated while creating a vacuum.
By using this specific temperature and method, it creates a very brittle texture with a delicious crunchy cracked shell.
And, because the moisture is reduced considerably, the flavors become very concentrated and ultimately enhanced.
These make the perfect colorful topping for cakes and ice creams, and are also a very fun gift for kids!
3. RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Jolly Ranchers Candy
Jolly Ranchers have been around since 1949 and are arguably one of the most well-known and popular candies to date.
This is another one of RJ Pantrys’ most popular products and includes flavors like Green Apple, Cherry, Watermelon, Grape, and Blue Raspberry.
Once freeze dried, their texture also becomes crunchier and they have the most amazing intense classic Jolly Rancher flavors!
The packaging is also very convenient as you can easily reseal the bag, and it also has an oxygen absorber.
This will help your candies last for years because it prevents any moisture from entering.
4. Freezie King Candy State Fair Freeze Dried Salt Water Taffy
If you are looking for a fun pastel-colored candy with a super crunchy texture, then these freeze dried slat water taffy pieces are for you.
Freezie King Candy has made a truly premium quality freeze dried product.
The flavors include Cotton Candy, Red Licorice, Buttered Popcorn, and classic Bubble Gum.
They have also been frozen at -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius).
This process that they undergo helps create a crunchy exterior and chewy inside.
This is a candy that literally melts in your mouth – another reason we are obsessed!
5. Aloha Edibles Kalakoa Krunch Freeze Dried Fruit Candy
This is a very unique candy and even more so being freeze dried.
These classic fruit candies have been dusted with Li Hing Mui powder, a local Hawaii favorite.
This is a powder that is made from ground pickled plum skins that have been flavored with licorice, sugar, red food coloring, and a pinch of aspartame.
After the candies have been freeze dried they are dusted in this delicious Li Hing Mui powder to create a perfect balance of salty and sweet flavors.
This is a truly unique and must-try candy, especially if you like exciting flavor combinations!
6. RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Sour Fruit Crunch Skittles
For those who are obsessed with Sour Patch Kids, Sour Gummies, and worms, these Sour Skittles should be on your bucket list!
Some of the flavors in this packet include sour green apple, sour strawberry, sour lemon, sour orange, and sour grape.
They will make the perfect snack as is or can be used to decorate very sweet desserts like cakes or puddings.
You can search for a ton of interesting ways to incorporate them into recipes.
We have even seen them being crushed and used as a colorful garnish on milkshakes and ice creams!
7. Taffy Shop Freeze Dried Zero Gravity Salt Water Taffy
This Zero Gravity freeze dried taffy is out of this world!
The Taffy Shop has been making these delicious candies for over 20 years making them some of the world’s leading experts in taffy making.
Each bag contains a fruity flavor mix including Banana Dream, Blueberry Blast, Cherry, Fresh Orange, Granny Apple, Grape, and Wild Watermelon.
It has a very light and airy texture while still having a delicious crunch to them.
One of our favorite things about these candies is how well they accommodate various diets. These candies are gluten-free, soy-free, and even peanut-free!
We would highly recommend getting these for kids’ parties to ensure everyone gets a treat!
8. RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Fruit Crunch Brightside
This is another fantastic freeze dried Skittle product from RJ Pantry.
Like other flavors in their Skittle range, these candies have a truly phenomenal texture and a concentrated fruity flavor.
The delicious flavors included in this bag are Kiwi Banana, Watermelon, Paradise Punch, Pink Lemonade, and Tangerine.
These candies come in a convenient re-sealable bag that is designed with oxygen absorbed.
This will ensure that your Brightside Skittles will last a very long time – even up to 25 years!
9. Rocky Mountain Freeze Dried Mini Rainbow Marshmallows
Mini marshmallows are one of the best things ever invented, but the biggest problem is that they eventually get stale and dry out – and the kind of drying out you want!
This is why these freeze dried mini marshmallows are perfect!
They have been freeze dried to extend their shelf life, concentrate their delicious candy flavors, and give a new unique texture to your marshmallows.
You can use these in hot chocolate, cakes, and other baked goodies, cookies, and even ice cream!
They will add a light and crunchy texture with a delicious sweet and melty mouth-feel.
10. Kalakoa Krunch Freeze Dried Passion Fruit Candy
This is another type of Hawaiian-theme candy, very similar to the Kalakoa Krunch Fruit Candy.
What makes this product different is that it has been dusted in coconut powder instead of the Li Hing Mui powder.
This gives it a much sweeter, much more tropical flavor that gets even more concentrated once they have been freeze dried.
These candies still have a delicious crunchy texture that melts in your mouth! And they will make the perfect garnish for any dish that needs a bit of texture!
11. RJ Pantry Freeze Dried Peach Rings
Peach rings have always been one of our favorite gummy candies. They naturally have a soft and chewy texture.
But to be honest, their freeze dried crunchy counterparts are MUCH better.
These have an extremely peachy flavor and crunchy texture.
It is an extremely difficult sensation to describe, but the candies still have a slight chewiness to them while simultaneously melting in your mouth.
As with all their products, RJ Pantry packs their freeze dried candies in a Mylar resealable bag with an oxygen absorber, allowing these candies to be stored for several decades.
Let’s clear up a few more candy-coated questions.
Are freeze dried candies healthier?
When fresh fruits and vegetables are freeze dried, the moisture becomes less and the nutrients become more concentrated.
Unfortunately, the same principle applies when it comes to freeze dried candies.
Once they have been dehydrated, the loss of moisture helps concentrate the sugars. This ultimately means that you will have more calories in each candy.
Bottom line, freeze dried candies are less healthy compared to hydrated ones.
How long will freeze dried candies last?
Because you are using the freeze drying method that removes as much moisture from the candy as possible.
If you store the candy at the most optimal temperatures and conditions, your candy can last up to 25 years.
Yes, you read correctly, 25 years!
Is freeze dried food better than dried food?
In short, yes.
Freeze dried foods (including candy) has a much longer shelf life due to their much lower moisture content and the method helps retain the original flavor, color, and aroma.
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