Crunchy bits offer freeze-dried fair foods

Kirt Manion
Nebraska City News-Press

A February curiosity turned into an Auburn-based small business which featured its products at this year’s Otoe County Fair in Syracuse.

Lyndsay Maahs and her son, Baker, bought some freeze-dried candy back in February, just to see if it was any good. Both mother and son said they really liked the candy and wanted to make some of their own.

Lyndsay said she looked into buying a freeze dryer and found it was a bit on the expensive side. In order to make the purchase, Lyndsay said she felt like the product needed to pay for itself.

After a few months of deliberating, The Maahs family decided to take the freeze-dried plunge and started Crunch Bits Candy.

The business is now filling its calendar with events to attend. They come to the Nebraska City Farmers Markets and plan to feature their products at the AppleJack festival this fall in Nebraska City.

Products include about every candy you can think of from gummy products and Skittles to M&M candies and Snickers bars.

Getting the candies ready requires a time commitment. It takes from 8-12 hours to make a batch of candy. Lyndsay said, at some point, Crunchy Bits would like to add fruit to its menu of offerings. That takes even more time. 

A batch of freeze-dried fruit takes up to 30 hours, depending on the variety.

During the process, the freeze dryer sucks out air and moisture from the candy, so that takes that’s why it takes longer for fruit.

The million dollar question—what’s it like?

Baker said the freeze drying process makes all the candies crunchy. While some take some extra chewing, others simply melt in your mouth. All of the varieties, at least according to fans, are equally delightful.

Baker Maahs gets ready to sell at the Crunchy Bits Candy booth at the Otoe County Fair.