Q. I love baking for my friends, but shipping is always a problem. What's the best way to send baked goods to my friends and family?
Shipping perishable goods is a tricky process. There are several things to consider such as how to keep the items intact, how to package them so they don't get squished, and how long it can withstand being in a small box without going bad.
But before you give up and mail that Christmas sweater instead, here are some helpful tips to ensure your holiday goodies make it through the shipping process intact:
- Prepare foods immediately before packing and mailing, and allow foods to cool completely before boxing up and shipping. Choose a speedy method of shipping.
- Moist quick breads, brownies, bars, and sturdy cookies (soft cookies rather than crisp varieties) are ideal choices for shipping, as are many non-fragile confections such as fudge and caramels.
- Avoid moist fillings and frostings since they become sticky or soft at room temperature.
- Packaging soft cookies with a slice of apple or bread helps them to retain moisture. And don't package crisp cookies in the same container with soft cookies; moisture from the soft ones will soften the crisp ones.
- Store cookies with sticky glazes, icings, and fragile decorations in single layers between sheets of waxed paper.
- Wrap each type of cookie separately to retain flavors and textures. Pack wrapped cookies in rows as tightly as possible to prevent shifting and breakage.
- When shipping quick breads, brownies, and bars, buy a new, decorative baking dish or pan and make it part of the gift. Place the baked good in the container to provide added protection during shipping.
- Wrap all breakable containers in bubble wrap, and fill boxes with packing peanuts or popped popcorn for added protection.
- Protect a gift bow by covering it with an inverted berry basket.