Jul 6, 2023
Swedish Fish has been one of America’s favorite candies since the 1950s. They’re always in a bag of treats when going to the movies and having fun with the family. But wouldn’t it be great to bring it with you anywhere and not worry about it melting? Here’s how to freeze dry Swedish Fish so you can have it any time of the year.
The Swedish Fish ingredients make it hard to freeze-dry the candy. It’s mainly made up of:
The major thing we see that’s preventing water from evaporating is the high sugar content. Sugar binds to water and is generally effective against dehydration, freezing, and thermal stress. This means it keeps water from going out because water follows where the sugar goes.
Another thing is mineral oil and carnauba wax. Mineral oil keeps the candy from sticking together. Carnauba wax has a high melting point, preventing the candy from turning mush. These two, however, also prevent water from getting in and out of the candy.
If freeze-drying the candy is hard, you should go for freeze-drying Swedish Fish marshmallows. Most of the freeze-dried Swedish Fish you’ll see are the marshmallow version. They’re easier to freeze dry because they’re not as gummy and sugary.
Freeze-drying Swedish Fish is straightforward. You don’t need to cut it into bite-sized pieces like Salt Water Taffy and Tootsie Rolls. This is because it’s slim, small, and doesn’t get as hard.
Some pre-freeze the candy to help make it easier for your freeze dryer to do its work. There are two ways to do this.
You can get this slow type of freezing using your deep freezer. Because freezing is slow, big ice crystals form. These big ice crystals may not be good for fruits and meats, but they’re okay for candies. When the ice crystals sublimate, they leave behind air pockets. You get the characteristic airy, crunchy texture of freeze-dried candy.
When you’re going to freeze the candy, use the freeze dryer tray lined with parchment paper. This way, it’s easier for you to transfer from the freezer to the freeze dryer. You also prevent a sudden drop in temperature by introducing a warm tray.
Spacing’s not an issue with the candy version, but you’ll need it with the marshmallows. These expand a bit, but they don’t blow up though. Just give it enough room so they don’t stick to each other.
It’s called flash freezing because freezing happens almost instantly. You can achieve this when you use liquid nitrogen or dry ice. They have extremely low temperatures, about -320°F (-90°C) and -109° F (-78°C), respectively.
This leaves finer ice crystals for a finer consistency. That’s why it’s better for flowers and meat. Freeze-drying may be slow with this one, though.
You can freeze dry Swedish Fish candy and Swedish Fish marshmallows the same way.
Generally, freeze-dried candy should be hard, crunchy, and with an airy texture. That’s what you’ll get with the freeze-dried Swedish Fish. If any of the marshmallows feel soft and cold, put it the trays back for an extra 2-4 hours of drying time.
The candy version, unfortunately, is going to be a fail. These candies will turn even gummier and hard to chew. Imagine a jelly candy turning into a hard taffy. Or more like stale chewing gum that would feel like it will crack your jaw.
You can place the candies inside Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber. Rule of thumb on oxygen absorbers is to use one or two 300cc bags per 1-gallon of bag. Not one gallon of food because we’re focusing on the air inside the bag. Some say you’ll get a vacuum look when the oxygen absorbers do their work, but that’s not usual. There is a way to vacuum seal your Mylar bags, and it takes a bit of technique using a straw and straw attachment.
You can use Mason jars if your family’s crazy over freeze-dried Swedish Fish. Mason jars have lids, unlike Mylar bags that you need to cut open and seal. You can open and close them whenever you feel like eating the candy. Remember to use the vacuum sealer, too, and the oxygen absorbers for storing.
Place the candy inside a dark, draft-free room with a stable temperature not going higher than 72°F (22 °C). Properly stored, your freeze-dried candy can last for 25+ years.
Where are you taking the freeze-dried Swedish Fish? Let us know your story in the comment section.
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