I got an email from a nice lady who had a great question for me.. this is the question…
Could you please make some suggestions on food gifts to mail? Like a lot of people, my gift budget is stretched, and I'd love to make some goodies for my family to ship. But what makes a good "shipper"?
Great question.. I have family in Illinois.. and over the years my nieces have said they always look forward to the Christmas box from Auntie Crystal.. (~smile~) .. I put a whole lot of homemade love and goodness into those boxes and I will share what I have done and what I think works the best.. and why I choose what I do..
Cookies.. you know, what is Christmas without cookies.. but in my experience cookies don’t really ship all that well .. they break and fall apart and by the time they reach the recipient they are at least a couple days old or more. Cookies taste the best fresh out of the oven. My solution has been to send cookie mixes.. give them what they need to bake a couple dozen delicious homemade cookie and enjoy them fresh out of the oven. I don’t have a cookie mix per se.. I simply take my favorite cookie recipe and combine the dry ingredients and pack them into a zip type bag.. then I write on a card what they need to add and mixing and baking instructions. You can find my fav cookie recipes here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/dessertrecipes.htm
Same goes for quick breads… take your favorite recipe and combine the dry ingredients and let them know what they need to add and the directions to bake. If you want some help on this one I have my pumpkin recipe and banana bread recipe on my site complete with printable cards that can be attached to help them finish up the bread. You can find the pumpkin bread recipe here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com pumpkinbread.htm and the card for this here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/pumpkinbreadrecipecard.pdf and the banana bread recipe here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/bananabread.htm and the card here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/banana%20bread%20recipe%20card.pdf
Candy: I find candy ships better than cookies do. What I have shipped is buckeyes (recipes online), and peppermint ice (recipe here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/peppermintice.htm ) and I am sure things like peanut brittle would work too.. With candies just make sure to wrap them in plastic wrap so they don’t stick together. And then they can be packed in zip type bags also.
Pretzels.. chocolate covered pretzels are easy to make and inexpensive. You will need the melty type chocolate (or chocolate bark).. melt it and dip your pretzels in it and let them dry on foil.
Granola.. it makes a great homemade gift. I have made a big batch and divided it up into zip type bags. They pack easily into boxes and don’t add a lot of weight or take up a lot of space.
Homemade jam is another great one. Yes it does add weight with the jars (but I will discuss that in a minute on shipping your goods to your family). So you didn’t make any jam this last summer? Don’t worry.. you can always make some grape jelly from a can of concentrated grape juice. Instructions are here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/grapejelly.htm
Cocoa Mix… I always sent cocoa mix.. and my nieces still tell me how much they looked forward to that. My recipe is here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/hotcocoamix.htm You can also add a few chocolate covered spoons for mixing the cocoa with.. they are easy to make. Use plastic spoons and dip them in melty type chocolate and lay them on foil to dry. If you want you can crush up a few candy canes and sprinkle that on the spoons while they dry. Makes for a little extra chocolate taste in their cocoa with a hint of mint..
Bean Soup Mixes… the internet is full of them. But again, what I do is take my favorite recipe (usually my chili bean soup recipe: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/chilibeansoup.htm ) and mix the beans and spices and give directions on what to add and how to cook.
If you sew.. add a homemade apron to the box.. :)
Now for shipping… I have come to love the post offices Priority Mail boxes.. the boxes are free, the shipping is not dependent on the weight of the box. You can send a medium size box for $10.20 (or so.. it is less expensive when you buy the postage online than if you take it into the post office) and a large box for $12.95. So weight is not really a big issue. You can go to the post office and pick up your Priority Mail box for free.. take it home and pack it up..
There you have it.. I am sure I have mailed other items but that is what comes to my mind this evening.. hope it gives you some ideas on sending your kitchen goodness to your family..
Thank you K for the email question and the idea to make it a blog post.. :)