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Who Knew Freeze Drying Candy Could Be So Fun!
In my many years of putting away food storage, preparing 72 hour kits and learning as much as I can about survival techniques I’ve learned that in any situation it’s not just about survival. No matter where you find yourself, even if it’s just at home in a power failure, you make the best of the situation for yourself and your family and it helps a lot to make it fun. Freeze drying candy makes hard things possible!
Learn From Experience
We had an ice storm several years ago and came home from work to no power, which lasted 14 days! Making the best of things, my husband built a fire in our wood stove, started up a lantern and I went to work seeing what I had in the freezer that I could just warm up quickly for us and our youngest son.
There were 4 pot pies sitting there–perfect! In keeping with my “making the situation fun” I began announcing that we were going to have “Turkey Surprise” for dinner. I dumped all 4 into a large saucepan and started stirring to heat it up. It didn’t even dawn on me that I had to bake it to make the crust.
Instead of the wonderful warmed up pot pies with chunks of nice crispy crust I had envisioned in my post work-day state, I had warm veggies in a thick glue that none of us could eat! I was the one who got the Turkey surprise that night and we’ve laughed about that many times!
Treats Belong In Food Storage
There’s nothing that puts a smile on the face of a child (or a husband with a sweet tooth) than to bring out the goodies. I had fun with this one. My oldest son is excited that we have a freeze drier and are willing to take requests for food items. He asked me to try sour gummy worms, taffy and Skittles which he heard were pretty great.
Here they are all tray-ed up, Taffy, Sour Gummy Worms and Skittles. I’d seen and tasted Bonnie’s taffy and I knew how they would grow so I spaced all of it accordingly. Even the Skittles need a little growing room but you can pretty well load the tray with those.
Here they are 25 hours later….holy snakes!
Why Are Freeze Dried Skittles So Popular to Freeze Dry?
Skittles get marble size and actually look like a marble as they split and have that white “cat eye” two-toned color. Or some of them have tentacles growing out in crazy shapes.
With these, as you package them, you do need to check them over good because in each batch I’ve done, there have been 2 – 6 that actually don’t break apart and freeze dry. They are chewy just like normal ones. Sometimes a “tentacle” from another one will stick to it and you’ll think it’s done, so look carefully.
I think perhaps some of the food color is quite thick or that they had to use a lot of it for a darker color. Your guess on that one is as good as mine! I especially had this problem with the blue ones.
Can You Vacuum Seal Freeze Dried Skittles in a Glass Jar?
I discovered that Skittles look beautiful in a glass jar! You absolutely can vacuum seal them with your FoodSaver jar sealers. I tried 2 different bottles, 3 different lids, even a new lid. Each was prettier than the last!
Can You Freeze Dry Gummy Worms?
Gummy Worms grew to about 7 – 8″. We just did those for fun. They are mostly air but v-e-r-y flavorful as most freeze dried items are. They’re probably not very cost effective to try to store in mylar. Each bag would hold only a few. Gummy Worms are kind of a cross between eating a Cheetos and cotton candy. But, you’re going to want to send the kids outside because they’re messy!
What is the Best Flavor to Freeze Dry of Taffy?
The taffy went over well with everyone. Yes, I have a lot of candy connoisseurs! But the favorite was the Peppermint. I even got a request for a full bag of nothing but freeze dried Peppermint Taffy. Everyone wanted to drop it into some hot chocolate!
How Much Water Do You Freeze Dry Off of Candy?
From all of this candy, I was curious about how much water was pulled out by the freeze drier. So I emptied my bucket into a measuring cup and it was a whopping 1/4 cup.
Can You Freeze Dry Peach Rings?
Next, my youngest son, not to be outdone by his older brother requested his favorite: Peach Rings. Not knowing how they would perform, I wanted to just try a couple of trays at first and filled the other 2 trays with Skittles again. I had to use up the bag, ya know!
I spaced them very carefully because I was so sure I would have coast guard life rings by the time they finished. But I was quite surprised. The bottom layer is actually marshmallow, which I didn’t know.
Marshmallows don’t expand that much, they just get a bit hard like those in Lucky Charms Cereal, so they kind of kept the jelly part of the Peach Rings in tow. I only did 10 on each tray, but realized after, that I could get much more on the trays. Marshmallows are a lot like freeze drying candy.
I often wish we could get a see-through insulated pad to watch this incredible process! Why in the world is there an acrylic see-through door when all you can see is the pad?
After this, I went ahead and did 3 rows across and 7 lengthwise for a total of 21 per tray and that worked out great.
Did You Know All of the Flavors of Skittles?
Freeze drying candy is a must. I will definitely have plenty of freeze dried Skittles packed away. Do you realize how many different kinds of Skittles there are? Skittles Original Fruit, Wild Berry, Tropical Fruity, Sour candy, Red, White & Blue Patriotic, Easter, Brightside & Darkside, Flavor Mash Ups, Yogurt Coated Dips, Holiday Mix, Sweets and Sours. Halloween Zombie Mix. You can even buy them in bulk. There’s a 10 lb. bag that you can get through WalMart for $38.99 with free delivery. You’re all set!
Let’s prepare well, but throw in a few things that might make a difficult situation a little easier for our families!
How do I freeze dry candies?
Many people think it’s next to impossible to do the freeze drying for themselves. This is far from factual. Freeze drying at home is made easy by Harvest Right. They sell three different sizes of freeze-drying machines that do everything in the machine – except prep and package.
That’s up to you.
For all intents and purposes, here at Freeze Drying Mama we use the medium sized freeze dryer. You can check out the sizes offered at Harvest Right here.
What this machine does is first freeze the items on stainless steel trays to -41 degrees or lower. This takes about 10 hours or so.
Then a vacuum pump turns on and creates a vacuum inside the drum. This is the drying stage and will vacillate the heat of the tray up and down to a pretty warm temperature. This makes the frozen items release any water in them in vapor form. The vacuum sucks the moisture to the drum and this collects in ice form on the inner circle of the drum.
Then there’s the final dry which is essentially the same thing, but with a time associated with it and an end in sight!
What settings do I use for freeze drying candy?
On the Harvest Right freeze drier – this works on all sizes – after putting the trays inside the drum on the shelves, I put in the drum cover and then tighten the handle as I lock it shut. On the computer touch screen, I selected START > NON-LIQUID > NOT FROZEN > CONTINUE. After inputting the settings and making sure my drain tube was closed, I walked away.