Baked goods from places like Beatrice Bakery Co. are a popular and personal gift idea for everything from holidays to birthdays to hostess gifts. When preparing baked goods for gifting in person or via mail, the way that you package the item affects its longevity and visual impact. Good packaging is worth it not only for the positive impression your item makes on the recipient but for the way it preserves the flavor and texture of your baked goods. Use these 4 tips to preserve your next baked item for gifting.
1. Seal it well – Properly sealing your item is essential, as it protects against staling.
Methods of properly sealing baked goods include:
- Heat sealing in cellophane bags using a heat sealer
- Vacuum sealing with a home vacuum sealer
- Packaging in tins or glass jars
- Using resealable plastic bags, tie tin bags, or resealable cello bags
While you can wrap baked goods in plastic wrap, this isn’t the most attractive presentation.
2. Label it with love – Labeling your gifted baked goods serves two main purposes: It allows you to proudly proclaim that you made the fruit cake with rum that Aunt Jenny is serving to her brunch guests. If there are any particular serving instructions relevant to your gift, include these on the label or an attached care card.
It also allows both the recipient and any guests to know what they are eating, which is especially important in the age of food allergies. This way, someone with a nut allergy can find out whether your rum fruit cake contains tree nuts.
With an estimated 15 million Americans experiencing food allergies, you should accurately label your items to avoid accidentally exposing someone to allergens.
White or kraft-paper stickers work well for labeling your baked goods. Use address labels to print out ingredients, and use a round 2-inch sticker to label your item. You’ll find a range of free printables online that add pizazz to label stickers.
3. Dress it up – Next, prettify the package for gifting. Easy and inexpensive ways to do this include:
Adding baker’s twine or colored ribbon to the item
Writing a personal note on a hang tag and attaching it to the item
Packaging the gift in a patterned box, basket, or decorative organza bag
4. Mail safe – Mailing baked goods can be very difficult, because most of them are fragile. To have the best success, start with baked goods that are firm and moist, and package them following the tips above.
Next, select a box that is larger than your item on all sides. Line the bottom and the sides of the box with a soft packaging material, such as shredded paper or packing peanuts. Place your items in the box, loading the heaviest items in first. Surround each item with packaging material so that it does not touch its neighbor. If you skip this step, your items can become damaged in transit.
Add enough packaging material on the top to completely fill the box. This ensures that your items cannot shift during shipping, because there is no space in the box that they can occupy. When they cannot shift, they cannot break or crumble.
Finally, label the exterior of the box with “Fragile” and “Perishable.” This ensures that postal workers will take extra care when handling your package. Consider mailing your item via Priority or Express Mail to limit its time in transit.
These ideas will work well for a range of baked goods, and can be readily adapted to accommodate items of different size and shape. Play around with these tips to find a packaging workflow that meets your budget and your needs.