Freeze drying doesn’t always have to be about making healthy, nutritious options for emergency preparedness. When emergencies hit, you are going to want treats on hand as well as great food to help everyone feel a little bit more normal.
Freeze-dried treats are fun, easy, and are awesome to have in an emergency as well as every day!
There are many different options for freeze-dried treats. The best treats to freeze dry are ice cream, fruity candies such as skittles and gummy bears, marshmallows, cakes, cookies, pies, and brownies. Some are better to reconstitute and enjoy, but most are great to eat freeze dried!
Freeze dried treats are great to have on hand as they are lightweight, have a long shelf life, and put a new spin on old classics.
In this article I will go over all the best treats that you can freeze dry in your Harvest Right freeze dryer!
One of the most common freeze dried treats is ice cream. It is simple to make as well. All you need to do is place small scoops of ice cream on the tray and run the cycle. You can also wait for the ice cream to soften a bit and then spread it out on the sheet.
Because ice cream has so much moisture it needs to be in small portions in the freeze dryer. It also may need a longer run time than normal. You can technically freeze dry any flavor of ice cream, but flavors with minimal mix-ins work best. Nuts, peanut butter, and nutella do not dry freeze well so avoid flavors that include those if possible.
Freeze dried ice cream is awesome to eat as it is. Adding liquid back into the ice cream does not quite bring back its regular texture, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Ice cream sandwiches are a fun treat that are also simple to make. Cut up each sandwich into 6 – 8 pieces before putting it in the freeze dryer to make sure it dries out evenly.
Bite sized ice cream treats can be stored in mylar bags or glass jars for many years to come! They also do not need to be refrigerated so your ice cream can be kept with the rest of your food storage or emergency supplies.
All sorts of fruity candies are fun options for freeze dried treats. Anything that is chewy or gummy will work well as there will be enough moisture to draw out.
Some favorite options are Skittles, gummy worms or bears, peach rings, Starburst, Jolly Ranchers, or Saltwater Taffy. Other candies that work well are Airheads, Tootsie Rolls, Milk Duds, Junior Mints, and Bit O’ Honey.
Keep in mind though that these candies will not maintain their original shape and/or texture, which is what makes them so fun! They will be crunchy and airy instead of chewy and most will look slightly popped or exploded. Most candies will also double to triple in size, so make sure to cut them into smaller pieces and space them out on the tray well.
Skittles are super easy and fun to freeze dry. Just pour them out into a single layer onto your tray and freeze dry! No prep needed.
They will almost double in size when they are finished and be very crunchy. The flavor changes a little as well to be a bit sweeter and more intense. If you love Skittles, then you are going to love these as a freeze dried treat.
If you want something that becomes an entirely new treat after freeze drying, try Jolly Ranchers. Lay them out on a sheet, about 2 inches apart and freeze dry. They puff up quite a bit and come out a ball shape instead of a rectangle.
They also get airy on the inside so you can chew them up rather than just suck on them. Be cautious though when giving these to children, as their new shape can be a bigger choking hazard!
Saltwater Taffy, Starburst, and Gummy Bears
These treats have all about the same textures and will triple in size when they are dried. Be sure to cut them in half, or even fourths for the taffy, to maintain a bite size treat. You could also purchase the mini versions of Starburst and gummy candies to skip cutting them up.
Have you ever wished you had an entire bag of marshmallows that are in breakfast cereal? Well now you can! The crunchy marshmallows in cereal are made by freeze drying! All you have to do is lay out your marshmallows on a tray and let the machine work.
Freeze dried marshmallows are a fun treat to snack on as well as put in other things. They work really well in hot cocoa, cookies, brownies, cream pies, and loads of other baked goods. You could even add them into your favorite breakfast cereal or oatmeal for added sweetness.
Cookies are probably not something you immediately think of when freeze drying treats, but they should be! Especially if you prefer your cookies to be a bit crunchy.
After your cookies have cooled off, process them in the freeze dryer. They are best to eat freeze dried and dipped in milk to soften them up a bit.
Another fun variation for cookies is to freeze dry the cookie dough! You can do it in bite sized pieces for snacking, or spread thin on a tray. Make sure to use a recipe meant to be eaten as cookie dough, as freeze drying will not cook any of the ingredients that need to be heated to be safe.
Freeze dried cookie dough can also be rehydrated and then baked. Just place freeze dried cookie dough pieces in the food processor and blend until you get a powder. Then alternate mixing with water and letting it sit until you get the right consistency. You can add any chocolate chips or other mix-ins at this point, and then bake!
Keep in mind when making your cookies that chocolate chips and nuts do not freeze dry. They both have too many oils and not enough moisture can be removed for it to work. Snickerdoodles, ginger snaps, or even classic cookie dough without the chocolate chips work great!
Cakes, Brownies, and Pies
Cakes, brownies, and pies are all treats that work well to freeze dry and then rehydrate. For best results, make sure to freeze dry them all in small slices. You can rehydrate individual slices by wrapping them in a damp paper towel or dish towel and let them sit for a while. It may take a few hours for them to rehydrate all the way so give it plenty of time.
Frosting unfortunately does not freeze dry well. It has too much oil from the butter and not enough moisture is taken out when dried. Whipped cream on the other hand, works beautifully.
Some options that work particularly are strawberry shortcake, chocolate cake, vanilla cake, nut-free brownies, and fruit pies.
For a more comprehensive list of what foods work well and those that don’t, take a look at my other post here: What Foods Can or Cannot be Freeze-Dried?
FAQ for Freeze Drying Treats
Freeze drying pure chocolate does not work but freeze drying chocolate flavored foods does. Freeze drying works best on foods that are full of water and have little to no oil in them. Pure chocolate has too much oil to freeze dry but chocolate flavored things are usually made with cocoa which does not naturally have oil.
Yes! Cheesecake is a great choice for a freeze dried treat. You can use your favorite recipe or buy your favorite brand of cheesecake for this. Cut it up into bite sized pieces, place on the tray, and freeze dry. Fruity cheesecakes work especially well.
No! A good majority of freeze dried treats are great to eat as they are. As with any freeze dried food, the texture will be crunchier and the flavor will be richer.
es! They both are a very easy treat to have on hand and rehydrate well.
For pudding, follow the directions on the box to make then spread out on your freeze drying trays. Process in the freeze dryer and store in serving sized pieces. When you want to rehydrate the pudding, let it soak in a little bit of water for about 10 minutes.
Jello is a whole new treat once it is freeze dried. Freeze dry prepared jello in small squares or drops on the tray. The finished product will be crispy and the flavor will be a lot more potent.
Candy bars don’t usually turn out well because of the chocolate in and around them. But it can always be fun to experiment! Try candy bars that have minimal amounts of chocolate like a Three Musketeers. They won’t have a long shelf life since all the moisture is not taken out of the chocolate, but it is fun to try and make a new treat.