You know how sometimes you’ve never heard about something and then, once you hear about it, you see and hear about it everywhere? Carl Jung called this phenomenon “synchronicity” and we’ve got some serious synchronicity going on here with freeze-dried candy. Yes. It’s a thing we just heard about and now it’s everywhere we look. And, of course, Utah is all about it.
See, Utah is into food storage, canning, preserving and setting aside a sizeable food supply for, well, the “latter days.” Yes, it’s a Mormon thing, but it’s also just plain practical. And practical is our jam (or preserve?). About 10 years ago, a Utah company called Harvest Right rolled out a consumer-grade freeze dryer that went over like gangbusters here in the home of the well-stocked pantry.
Commercial freeze dryers cost a bundle but, suddenly, the same technology that brought us astronaut ice cream, Dippin’ Dots and gourmet backpacking meals appeared in homes. These devices were purchased under the guise of dutiful food storing and healthy meal preparation but it was obviously not long before somebody was like, “Hey, what happens when I put some Skittles in this thing?”
What happens is magic. Freeze drying removes moisture and skittles puff up (like popped kernels) and burst into a whole new way to “taste the rainbow.” And it’s not just Skittles, although they are popular, says Harvest Right owner Matt Neville.
“Freeze dryers alter the candy into a new kind of fizzy, crunchy thing,” he says, “People are trying Jolly Ranchers, gummy bears, Milk Duds, Junior Mints, everything.”
There are dozens of YouTube videos dedicated to the practice and, Neville says, it has also sparked new home-based businesses and other entrepreneurial efforts. For example, Richerd Clark, who, along with his wife, owns the American Fork location of Jack’s Donuts, started selling freeze-dried candy in the shop, online and wholesale to grocery stores under the name Salt City Treats.
“The pandemic gave us a reason to try it and, frankly, now we do more candy sales than our bakery products,” Clark says. “People want their sugar.”
456 E. State St., American Fork
95 N. Foxboro Dr., North Salt Lake