Health & Wellness Column
Extension Educator – Health & Human Sciences
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
A Recipe for Shipping Baked Goods
Baking sweet treats is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I enjoy taste testing the sweet treats before sending them off with family and friends. Usually each person receives their unique, packed bag of goodies to unravel during their visit. However, this year due to the current limits on social gatherings, I will be mailing my food gifts.
Sending and receiving gift packages in the mail can be a fun and exciting way to connect with your loved ones over the holiday season. There's nothing like a box full of homemade goodies to fill the season with love and warm memories for years to come.
When shipping perishables, specifically baked goods, the goal is to ensure that they maintain their freshness and arrive intact. In general, it's safe to send food that is dense and dry. Generally, these items can withstand travel time and are less likely to mold. Dried fruits, nuts, dense cookies or cakes, and hard candies are great options for mailing. Delicate cakes and cookies, pies, or very moist foods may not arrive in one piece or can develop mold during delivery.
Proper packaging is going to be your best line of defense for your shipped goods against extreme temperatures and bumps during travel. Use plastic wrap to seal your just-baked goods and pastries to ensure your items maintain their freshness. Allow any baked goods to completely cool before you prepare to send them. Wrap your baked goods individually, so they retain their shape. Additionally, for smaller items like bars, breads, cookies, and candies place them in a resealable bag to further prevent them from getting stale.
Next, place the goods in an airtight, rigid plastic or metal container to prevent your food from being squished. Label the items inside, so the recipient knows what they are getting. After you place the container with the goods in a sturdy corrugated box for shipping, use a filler such as crumpled paper or bubble wrap to pack the items in the box to minimize any moving or shifting during travel. Use packing tape to secure the openings of your package and reinforce all seams with tape. Finally, include both sender and recipient addresses on the shipping label on the outside of the box as well as on a card inside the box in the event the label falls off or the box is damaged.
When shipping perishable items, the shorter the travel time the better. Plan to ship your items early to ensure they arrive on time. Consider speaking with a representative before sending your package. They can help you choose the best and most economical option for sending your gift package. They are also knowledgeable of any potential delays, restrictions, or other issues that could prevent your package from being delivered nationally or internationally.
Sending gift packages to your loved ones in the military is a great way to brighten their day. The USPS provides free military shipping kits full of shipping supplies and allows you to send gift packages to military addresses at domestic prices, even overseas. You also have the option of free package pickup when your shipment is ready to go. ###