How to mail GF baked goods for peak freshness
March 17, 2019 7:06 PM   Subscribe

I would really like to mail some gluten-free cookies to my long-distance faraway sweetheart. Is this even really possible to do in a way that keeps them somewhat fresh? I would probably make oatmeal cookies from a Minimalist Baker recipe that I add dried fruit and pumpkin seeds to. What's the best plan for packaging, mailing, etc? What has worked for you? Thanks Metafilter!
posted by fairlynearlyready to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've mailed a lot of baked goods in my time. Cookies usually hold up well, as long as they aren't a crumbly variety -- and I know GF cookies can tend to do that without the gluten proteins holding them together. But, I'm confident you can get them to your sweetie if packed really well. The most important thing is to cushion everything. Make sure the cookies are situated in the middle of the box -- both horizontally and vertically. That box is going to get tossed around a ton and you want to make sure they are stabilized. I save pillow pacs from amazon deliveries and use those with a ton of newspaper or brown packaging paper crinkled up. I do a shake test once I have everything inside its shipping box. I shouldn't be able to feel or hear movement.

In a similar vein, pack your cookies snuggly in bags or containers. And cushion inside those with wax paper (or air popped popcorn) if necessary. With bags, I never feel the need for extra cushioning. The main rule is to reduce all possibility of movement within the shipping container.

And I usually go priority mail. Cookies easily survive the 2-3 day transit time.
posted by pdxhiker at 7:26 PM on March 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

It depends. My wife does Monday evening GF bakes for my team at work for our Tuesday team meeting. (A few of the team are GF.) Her last batch of ginger cookies lasted several days, to good acclaim, but it's a harder cookie than Oatmeal. (Her last batch of oatmeal were consumed in two days.)

The spirit in which the cookies are received may count more. Bake on!
posted by dws at 8:17 PM on March 17, 2019

I put them in a Ziplock with the air squeezed out, wrap that in bubble wrap to fill an airtight Tupperwear container, and duct tape the tupperwear with a mailing label securely affixed to the top. You do not need to wrap or box the Tupperwear if it's duct taped securely -- you can just post it naked.

If you want to use a USPS fixed price box, then use more bubblewrap and the USPS's packaging.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:41 PM on March 17, 2019

pdxhiker has it right. Priority mail, really well packaged both inside and out. I usually use a plastic container with wax paper and plain paper towels, packing each cookie in its own wrapping if it's crumbly, or a few together if they are nice and hard. Give it a good shake to make sure they don't shake around inside the plastic container. Then pack that in a nice box, at the center, with plenty of packing materials around the container too. You should be able to vigorously shake the box without any noise from inside.

I usually bake at night so that they can cool completely, then ship in the morning. Totally doable.
posted by gemmy at 8:43 PM on March 17, 2019

Depending on the water content at the time you're sealing them up—that is, if you think condensation might form inside the package when it's exposed to lower air temperatures—maybe you'd want to insert some food dessicant packets with the baked goods.
posted by XMLicious at 9:31 PM on March 17, 2019

I send GF cookies to my relatives for xmas every year. I bake, cool, put them into ziplocks, and take them to UPS, where they go in a box with bubble wrap and overnight. Trust me, the fact of the gift is going to be more important than whether the cookies are perfect.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:06 AM on March 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do this often for friends - vacuum pack if it’s an option, ziploc if not, plenty of cushioning material. I sometimes tape the bubble wrapped package to the box to prevent movement. Bake same day and mail in afternoon or at night and mail next day. It works great!
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 8:06 AM on March 18, 2019

Thank you so much! This is perfect! All best answers, lots of good tips. Thanks everyone!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 9:13 AM on March 18, 2019

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