When I was in college, my nana would always mail me a package full of my favorite cookies. Since she lived so far away, she was unable to just drop them off at my apartment, but she wanted me to enjoy my favorites and still get that taste of home.
In today’s world, many of our family and friends live too far away to easily share in our holiday goodies. But you can still send them favorite treats, and if you act fast, they can even still get them before we ring in the New Year. Follow these tips for safely sending food to family and friends:
- Some ideal foods to send are fruitcakes, biscotti, packaged cakes, packaged cookies, hard candies, pralines, toffee, quick breads, jerky, nuts and dried fruit. Foods high in sugar are good to send because their high sugar content prevents the growth of bacteria. Avoid sending cookies and cakes that contain creams, custards and frosting. Other foods to avoid sending are foods that crumble easy, pies and yeast breads.
- Avoid sending foods in glass containers. If you must mail a glass jar, place the jar in a zip-top bag and wrap with bubble wrap.
- When packing homemade goodies, pack them in air-tight containers. Separate any moist foods from crisp foods to prevent moist foods from drying out and crisp foods from getting soggy. Pack the heavy items in the bottom of the box and fill with packing peanuts or wadded up newspaper.
- Avoid sending perishable foods like meats, poultry, fish and soft cheese. If you need to ship a perishable item, let the recipient know a perishable item is on the way. Before packing, make sure the food is already cold. Pack the food in an insulated cooler surrounded by frozen gel packs. Be sure to label your box Perishable: Keep Refrigerated. When the recipient receives their food, ice crystals should be visible. If recipient‘s food is warmer than 40°F, the food should be thrown away. The Center of Disease Control states perishable foods held between 40°F and 140°F are the leading cause of food-borne illness. Once food enters this temperature danger zone, bacteria doubles every 20 minutes.
- Consider paying a little extra for expedited delivery, so foods are as fresh as possible when they arrive.
Everyone enjoys opening a box of goodies during Christmas –or any time, really. Just be safe and smart about sending your gift, so your loved one can safely enjoy it.