Shipping food can be difficult, especially if it is perishable, such as refrigerated foods or baked goods. It is critical to ship these foods as quickly and efficiently as possible, or they will begin to collect bacteria. While it may cost a little more money, you only need a few simple packaging supplies to get your food to you as soon as possible.
Method 1 Packaging Cold Foods
1. Choose a large cardboard box large enough to hold your food. Estimate the amount of space your frozen or refrigerated food will require. If you’re preparing a large shipment, you’ll need a large cardboard box to act as the package’s base. If you’re sending something small, such as a mini ice cream container, you might be able to use a smaller shipping box.
Cardboard boxes are available at most stores that sell mailing supplies. If you want to save money on shipping, go to your local post office and see if you can use any specially priced boxes.
2. Choose a sturdy styrofoam container to keep your cold food warm. Find a styrofoam carton that fits snugly inside your cardboard box and is at least 12 in (3.8 cm) thick. Check that there is enough space in the carton for your refrigerated or frozen goods, as well as gel packs or dry ice.
Some businesses sell insulated shipping boxes that include both a cardboard box and a styrofoam carton.
3. If your food is likely to melt or leak, wrap it in plastic. Consider the type of food you’re sending; if it’s likely to melt during shipment, place it in two secure plastic bags. Squeeze any excess air from the first bag to make it airtight. Twist the bag’s top into a coil and fold it down, then secure it with a rubber band. Repeat this procedure with a second bag to ensure that your food is completely secure.
Any plastic bag will suffice for this purpose.
Consider placing absorbent pads along the bottom of your container if you’re shipping something extra fresh, such as seafood. This will keep your box from becoming soggy.
4. In the centre of the styrofoam carton, place a liner bag. Purchase a large, rectangular plastic bag to “line” the styrofoam layer of the box, preventing leaks. Secure this into the box first so that your refrigerated or frozen food can be safely placed inside.
Liner bags can be purchased online or at a store that sells mailing supplies.
5. Add gel packs or dry ice to keep the food below 40 °F (4 °C). Layer dry ice packs around your chilled food container. To avoid frostbite, always wear gloves when handling dry ice or other cold packs. Place another cold pack on top of the food to keep it cool while in transit.
Cold packs can be purchased at any specialty store that sells mailing supplies.
6. Wrap the package in two layers of packing paper and seal it. Cover the styrofoam carton with a lid and tape the cardboard box shut. Wrap the entire box in two layers of brown mailing paper as an extra precaution.
7. On the box, write the name of the recipient and your contact information. Address the package to the recipient of your choice, and include your name and return address on the package. Leave your phone number, as well as the recipient’s, on the box so that if something goes wrong with the package, a postal worker can contact one of you.
Tip: Write “Keep Refrigerated” or “Perishable” on the mailing label so that post office employees and your recipient know what’s inside the package.
8. Inform the recipient that a package is on its way. Call, text, or email the person to let them know a special delivery is coming in a day or two. Remind them to open it and store the food as soon as possible, or else it will go bad.
Method 2 Sending Baked Goods
1. Baked goods that are less likely to crumble should be shipped. Choose a recipe that can withstand a beating in the mail, such as cookies, unfrosted cupcakes, or brownies. When shipping anything extremely thin or delicate, as well as any desserts that require refrigeration, use extreme caution.
For example, an apple pie is preferable to a lemon meringue pie when mailed.
2. Keep your food from crumbling by supporting it. To keep your food as fresh as possible, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap. When shipping brownies or bars, place a sheet of wax paper between each tier to keep the baked goods from sticking together.
3. Food should be stored in an airtight container or package. Place your dessert in a tightly sealed box or container. Check that all of the air has been pushed out of the container to prevent your baked goods from going stale in transit.
Reusable plastic containers, as well as a box or tin, can be used for this.
Tip: To provide padding, place packing peanuts or bubble wrap around the food containers if there is a lot of extra space in the box.
4. As you normally would, seal and label the package. Packing tape should be used to seal the package, and a mailing label should be affixed to the top of the box. Fill in your return address as well as the recipient’s address so the post office knows where to send the package. As an added precaution, write “Perishable” on the side of the box to alert postal workers and your recipient that something delicate is inside.
Method 3 Choosing a Delivery Time
1. Send your food out early in the week to ensure that it arrives on time. Ship your food on Monday or Tuesday to avoid the box being stuck in a post office over the weekend. If you send your shipment on a Friday or Saturday, your food may spoil.
2. Ensure that your package arrives at its destination within 30 hours. Choose the quickest mailing option offered by your post office to ensure that your food reaches the recipient as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this is a bit pricey, but it is required when shipping perishable foods, particularly refrigerated or frozen foods.
Food that has been frozen or refrigerated must be kept at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). It will spoil if it thaws out too much.
3. Give your package a tracking number so you can keep track of it. Inquire with a post office employee if you can obtain a tracking number for the package. Input this number into the post office’s website to track the location of your package and ensure it arrives within 30 hours.
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