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Jan 2, 2010 12:57 PM

Care packages with substance

Just sent my daughter back to college today. She begged for care packages when she left. I have done the usual cookies,brownies, etc., but what she misses most at school is "real food." I would be interested to hear tips, ideas, and experiences on shipping perishables such as soups and casseroles. My food needs to travel from Ohio to Georgia. Also appreciate any recipes that might work well.

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  1. Janie, does she have any access to cooking where she lives? Right off the bat, I'm thinking "soup in a jar" type of thing for her IF she has access to a stove or cooktop.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      Hi Val - she's in a dorm room and has a microwave only, so I wanted to send something fully prepared that she would only have to heat up and enjoy.

    2. Frozen food wrapped in layers of newspaper or towels in a styrofoam cooler in a cardboard carton is okay via Priority Mail this time of year. Freezer packs for cold (but not frozen) food. If you vacuum-seal the food before freezing, it can be reheated in the bag in the microwave, as long as she makes a puncture or two.

      1. There is a great section of articles here: with fun and funny ideas for college care packages. They were put together by a Mom of 4 college kids and are really good. Her advice about sending home made cookies and how to wrap and pack them are priceless.. hope it helps you out

        1. I have sent soup from Los Angeles to Oakland. That was regular parcel post so if it would be worth it to you to do second day I think you could still get away with it.

          What I did was freeze the soup in open vacuum packing bags. Then I created the near vacuum and sealed the bags with the frozen lump of soup in them. Next I let them thaw and flatten out to be compact and refroze them in stackable units. I sealed the individual packages in one more large bag so they could insulate one another's temperatures and packed them in lots of wadded newspaper in a rather large but not very heavy box.

          They didn't arrive frozen but they were still cold to the touch and went back into my friend's fridge and freezer (since there was no air there was little risk from freezing/thawing/refreezing admitting bacteria and allowing them to breed to toxic levels). She said she was very happy with the flavor and texture of the soup she had right away and the stuff she pulled from her freezer later.

          These were near vegetarian Mulligatawny. I wouldn't do it with a food that had meat.

          1. The best gift I ever received was a gift certificate for bbq ribs! The County Line in Austin, Texas ships them to you fully cooked - just heat them up! You order them, then she receives a gift certificate and can have them delivered whenever she wants. It's a bit expensive, but it was a real treat! Fabulous!!!