December 8, 2005: Headlines: Gifts: Grand Forks Herald: Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Peace Corps Volunteers: December 21, 2004: Headlines: Christmas: Gifts: PCVs in the Field: Press & Sun-Bulletin: Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers : December 8, 2005: Headlines: Gifts: Grand Forks Herald: Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-238-72.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.238.72) on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 6:53 pm: Edit Post

Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps.

Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps.

Besides deciding on favorite foods, think about safety and quality when deciding what to mail. Perishable items, such as meat and soft cheeses, must be kept at 40 degrees or lower, so they aren't good choices.

Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps.

PRAIRIE FARE: Sending food gifts by mail

Recently, a group of my friends and I decided to assemble a gift package for a friend of ours, serving in the Peace Corps. We collected a number of nonperishable items and mixes that only require the addition of boiling water.

We hope the large box of goodies surprises him.

Many people send gift boxes in the mail at this time of the year. Sometimes family members are far away. Thousands of troops are serving in the military, separated from families and friends at home during the holidays.

There's nothing like favorite foods to conjure up fond memories of home.

Besides deciding on favorite foods, think about safety and quality when deciding what to mail. Perishable items, such as meat and soft cheeses, must be kept at 40 degrees or lower, so they aren't good choices.

Within the United States, dry ice can be used along with overnight delivery for highly perishable items. You'll need to decide if the expense is worth it and you'll want to be sure the person knows the arrival time of the perishable items.

Consider moisture content of the foods when deciding what to mail. Moist carrot bread or pumpkin bread may grow mold during a week of travel to a distant destination, so they aren't the best bet.

Quality can be an issue if you're thinking about sending your favorite delicate holiday cookies. Cookies can become crumbs without some special precautions.

To keep cookies from crumbling, pack them back to back and wrap with plastic wrap. Put the wrapped pairs between two plastic foam plates and tape the plates together. Finally, surround with bubble wrap, foam or newspaper and pack in a sturdy box.

Here are some ideas from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline for foods that travel well:

• Beef jerky or other dried meat. Exclude foods that are forbidden by the country's religious restrictions, such as pork in Muslim countries.

• Dehydrated soup and drink mixes.

• Condiments in single-serve packets.

• Canned items, such as corned beef, cracker spreads or dips.

• Dense, dry baked goods, such as biscotti, prepackaged cakes and cookies in airtight tins and dry cookies, such as gingersnaps.

• Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots, canned nuts and fruit or trail mix.

• Hard candies. Avoid sending candy, such as fudge, that may melt during the trip.

Think about nonfood gifts, too, such as favorite soap, toothpaste or other personal products that might not be readily available. Slip in some stationery, stamps, books or magazines.
Julie Garden-Robinson is an NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist. She can be reached at (701) 231-7187; or jgardenr@ndsuext.nodak.edu
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Story Source: Grand Forks Herald

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