How to Freeze Dry Salt Water Taffy

freeze dried salt water taffy zoomed with text

Freeze Dried Candy

Taffy is one of the fun and exciting candies to play with when you get your freeze dryer. If you haven’t tried freeze-drying this fun treat, then read on because we’ll cover the basics of freeze-drying Salt Water Taffy.

What is Salt Water Taffy?

Salt Water Taffy was first made in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the late 19th century. But don’t let the name fool you because this candy doesn’t have salt water in it. What happened was that David Bradley’s candy store got flooded during a major storm in 1883. The flood was so massive that his entire stock of taffy got soaked in Atlantic Ocean Water.

So after the flood went down and dried, a little girl came into his shop and asked if he had any taffy for sale. David jokingly offered the girl some “Salt Water Taffy,” which she did a taste test. Of course, she loved the flavor, so she purchased a lot and proudly showed her stash to her friends on the beach.

David’s mother happened to be at the back listening to the whole conversation. She loved the “Salt Water Taffy” name, and that’s what they have called it since then.

salt water taffy candies inside freeze dryer

How To Freeze Dry Salt Water Taffy

This gooey candy can be made even more fun to eat by freeze drying. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Line your freeze dryer tray with parchment paper. This is a must because these candies will stick like crazy to the tray.
  2. Place the tray in the freezer to pre-freeze them.
  3. Prepare the taffy by unwrapping them and cutting them either in halves or quarters. These are tough and rubber, so you either use a heavy-duty utility scissor or a PVC cutter.
  4. Get the tray from the freezer and place the prepared taffy on the tray.
  5. Make sure to space them evenly and give each enough room to expand. They swell up to 5x their original size so prepare accordingly.
  6. Pre-freeze the candy in the freezer. Sure, this is already included in the freeze-drying process, but doing so will put the load off your freeze drier and cut significant hours in the process.
  7. Once the taffy’s frozen, double-check the space between the candy pieces.
  8. Slide in the tray into the machine, turn it on, and wait for it to do its magic.

What Happens When You Freeze-Dry Salt Water Taffy?

One very obvious thing is that the size just expands. This is because water escapes in a gas state instead of vapor, resulting in air pockets that cause the taffy to grow bigger.

What you get is this bigger chunk of sugary goodness that’s lighter, airier, and crunchier. Although it’s crunchy, it’s more teeth-friendly, especially if you cut it into bite-sized pieces. As you bite the candy, it melts in your mouth like cotton candy.

But the best thing that happens to Salt Water Taffy is that the flavor intensifies. Because there’s less water, what’s left behind is twice the sweet flavor that’s not too overwhelming but more fun to eat.

bags of freeze dried salt water taffy

How Long Does It Take To Freeze-Dry Taffy?

Freeze drying can take between 15-25 hours depending on several factors:

  • The make and model of your freeze dryer.
  • If you pre-freeze your taffy or not.
  • The season (summer means longer freeze-drying, winter means shorter).
  • How much taffy you’re freeze-drying.

How Do You Store It?

Storing the candy can be done in two ways. One is through the usual air-tight container that keeps out air and moisture. Another is by using a resealable Mylar bag that not only keeps air and moisture out, but also light. This helps make the taffy last longer compared to just using an air tight container.

As an added precaution, you can put in oxygen absorbers. Many find that this increases the shelf life of their freeze-dried taffy considerably.

How Long Does Freeze-Dried Salt Water Taffy Last?

Freeze-dried taffy can last for up to 20-30 years. Just remember to keep it sealed in a room with a constant temperature of less than 72°F. Keep it away from moisture as well, and don’t let it get exposed to heat and light.

You may see a loving grandfather place the taffies in a lidded jar, but this is for easy consumption. With 6 grandkids who love candy, his stash won’t even last a week, so it’s okay. Air-tight containers are a must only if you plan to store your taffy for a long period of time.


Freeze-drying candy, especially taffy, is a fun thing to do with your freeze drier. It’s a great treat for kids, grandkids, and even yourself! Just remember to cut them down to size to help the freeze drier work its magic properly.

How long the process takes will depend on your freeze drier, the season, your prepping method, and how many you’re freeze-drying.

If you’re making them for a long-term supply, then better store them inside air-tight containers or Mylar. Throw in an oxygen absorber or two to keep them fresher longer. Place them in a room away from heat and light as well.

Have you tried freeze-drying Salt Water Taffy? Share with us your experience and techniques in the comment section below!

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