Whether you are shipping holiday gifts or traveled someplace and made a wonderful batch of jam you may be wondering ‘how in the world do I ship jam?’
How to Ship Jam, a Step by Step Guide
Last summer I was faced with leaving about 18 jars of gorgeous apricot and raspberry jam on the other side of the country or finding a good way to ship jam. I called all my jamming buddies and even some package stores to find the best way to ship jam. Since I went through SO much effort I thought I would share all the tips and tricks on learned about how to ship jam or any pickling or canning project.
How to Ship Jam BIG IDEA: Skip the Shipping – You Don’t Always Need to Ship Your Jam.
The 3oz rule has eliminated carrying on as an option. Sad.
Occasionally, I’ve trusted the travel gods and packed a stray jar or two in my luggage. When you are only dealing with a jar or two you can avoid all the steps in the ship jam process and go this route. Usually, I wrap the jam jars individually in newspaper or paper towels then double bag each jar in zip-locks. In the first zip-lock I blow in some air just before sealing it to create an air cushion. The second zip-lock is there in the event the jar and first zip-lock fail.
How to Ship Jam Step #1
Flat Rate Shipping! Hurray for the USPS! Flat rate shipping with the USPS is your best, most cost effective method. According to a very nice woman at a UPS store getting boxes over the Rockies is expensive. You can use other carriers or non-flat rate boxes but you will be paying up for the privilege.
How to Ship Jam Step #2
Pint Size Jars + a Large Flat Rate Box=The Perfect Match A dozen half pint size jars with the original box from Ball plus extra padding work extremely well with a large size USPS flat rate box. This box measures about 12x12x6. You can fill it up to about 70lbs for the USPS flat rate which in the summer of 2014 was less than $20. UPS and FedEx options from Michigan to California were many times this price.
How to Ship Jam Step #3
Bubble Wrap is the Best! A rolls of 12-inch bubble wrap with perforations every twelve inches will be your new best friend. When it comes time to wrap start with the jars and rip off one 12×12 sheet of bubble wrap for each jar. Stick the jar in the middle of the square, pull up the sides of the wrap around each jar, and then stick it back into the divided container from Kerr or Ball. Any excess at the top will become extra padding. If you lack the benefit of the dividers from the original jam jar box you may want to consider taping the bubble wrap so that it stays securely around each jar. The dividers from the original jam jar box do a great job at keeping the jars and the bubble wrap secure around each are and the jars in one place.
How to Ship Jam Step #4
More Bubble Wrap! Now that you have each jar wrapped up it will look like it is sprouting bubble wrap out of its top and look a bit messy. (See the image below.) You might think this is enough and think you are ready to ship the darn jam, but you’ll want to add some extra layers of padding for the sides and the bottom. Take your roll of bubble wrap and wrap twice around the box length-wise and twice around the box’s width. Secure with packing tape.
How to Ship Jam Step #5
Box it up! Now slip it into the flat rate box and see if there is any excess room. You want to limit the movement of the box within the box with more packaging. You can crumple up some bubble wrap, reuse packaging from other boxes, or even crumple up some newspaper. Just make sure the package is nice and secure inside the USPS box. In the image on the right, on the left side (opposite the cat) you can see I stuck in some extra large bubble wrap from an old Amazon delivery. It took up all the extra space. Crumpled newspaper could work well here too.
How to Ship Jam Step #6
Tape it up! Packing take is your friend. I prefer to play it safe and tape every edge for extra reinforcement. The last thing you want is for a loose tape job to ruin everything
How to Ship Jam: The Materials
In addition to the rest of your canning accessories, you’ll want to assemble some of these materials a day or so before you ship. Otherwise you might end up like me the first time I did this; bent over the trunk of a rental car in a USPS post office racing to wrap my jam jars in bubble wrap and tape them up before an ominous thunderstorm stuck. I was lucky enough to get what I needed in two stops the USPS for the flat rate boxes and a big box store for the bubble wrap and the shipping tape. I had lucked out and picked canning jars that fit perfectly. The following year I assembled my materials (the right size jam jars, perforated bubble wrap, shipping tape as well as some additional low sugar pectin) in a few clicks from Amazon even before I arrived in Michigan. I just had to grab the free flat rate shipping boxes from the post office to start the assembly process. You can use the links below to get the exact products I used.
That’s it! If you have any additional tips on how to ship jam please leave them in the comments below.