mailing food to friends and family (domestically)

Occasionally I want to share something I've baked with my friends or family--and I can't because they live in different cities. It's usually on a whim, so I don't have a package ready to go and I'd have to wait a day to get to the post office. I'm thinking yeast breads, quick breads, cookies, nothing especially fancy but definitely could go stale, crumble to nothingness, get smashed, etc. Anybody send edible love and have recommendations for shipping containers to preserve freshness and structural integrity and reasonably-priced carriers (my two main destinations are same-state and next-state-over)? Should I freeze as soon as the item has cooled off and I decide I want to send it, until I can pack and post it?

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boulangere
boulangere May 24, 2011

Yes, I do this often. The son and the daughter live elsewhere, as do both my nephews. I ship cookies often, except to the daughter who is my food child who will eat anything (!). Regardless of the season, I freeze whatever I am shipping (cookies, breads, cheesecake, yes cheesecake), then pack it and take it to UPS where I ship it 2 day air if in a cold season, and overnight if in a warm one. Costly, yes, but food is love.

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susan g
susan g May 24, 2011

Wouldn't freezing the food create condensation on it which might lead to molding?
Priority mail is great if the items are not totally time sensitive. The plastic covered freezer packs could be helpful, but I would want to be sure that the food was also sealed away so it wouldn't get wet.

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boulangere
boulangere May 24, 2011

Overnight shipping hasn't been a problem. I tend to ship things that are snarfed down pretty soon after arrival.

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innoabrd
innoabrd May 25, 2011

You might give some thought to what goods won't go bad immediately. Gingerbread cookies come to mind. They last for weeks! My mother even sent me a box of them when I was in the Peace Corps in Swaziland!

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latoscana
latoscana May 25, 2011

My grandmother regularly sent chocolate chip cookies to her sons during WWII - one in Europe, one in the Pacific. She put two cookies bottoms together, then wrapped the pair in tin foil (this was before plastic wrap). Then she stuffed crushed newspapers into a clean milk carton and placed the wrapped cookies into the carton. She sealed it with tape and the cookies arrived, amazingly, intact and fairly fresh. My variation has been plastic wrap and corrugated boxes. I also save the plastic bag pillows that arrive in shipments to reuse for my own packaging. Crisp cookies and dense fruit breads are relatively hearty.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff May 25, 2011

I send my daughter regular packages via USPS flat rate boxes. They arrive remarkably quickly, and with careful packing, they are a really good deal.

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