How to Ship Citrus Fruit

by Culture & Society Editor

Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, but sometimes it's difficult to know how to prepare acidic fruit for shipment. Mailing a few oranges from Florida may not seem too difficult a task and it isn't, as long as shipping guidelines and federal standards for food safety are taken into account. Look below for recommendations for packaging, refrigerating and mailing citrus fruit.

Place fruit in sturdy cardboard, wood or polystyrene box with a gel pad or dry ice pack. Refrigerate all shipped fruit, even if it is usually fine at room temperature. You simply don't know what environment your package will endure during shipment.

Secure fruit by using bubble wrap or foam padding around the fruit to prevent it from bruising during the journey. Avoid plastic actually touching the fruit as it may make the citrus sweat.

Wrap the entire sealed box in brown packing paper. Use two layers of paper to ensure leaks or spills will not seep from the box.

Label the package clearly with permanent marker. Remember to state things like "perishable," "refrigerated," "dry ice" and "fragile" on the outside of the paper. Make sure the address is clear and visible.

Alert the addressee that you are mailing them a perishable package. Overnight delivery is recommended, but if the cost is too high, expedited special delivery is a solid second choice.

Mail the package from the post office. This way, the postal clerk can double check that you have all the necessary paperwork. Sometimes a permit is required depending on your state.

Tips

  • Always send perishable items at the beginning of the week. This will reduce the chance of them being left unattended over the weekend.
  • There are limits to what states citrus fruit can be shipped to; be sure that your destination will allow such a shipment.
  • Shredded tissue and straw with a foam bottom layer makes for perfect citrus fruit packaging. The original cardboard crating is a good way to separate fruit by layers.

Warning

  • Dry ice is dangerous and can cause injury to the skin and contaminate food. Be sure to mark the outside of the package "contains dry ice" as a warning for anyone who may handle your package.

Items you will need

  • Fruit
  • Bubble wrap
  • Foam
  • Box
  • Brown paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Packing tape
  • Postage

Photo Credits

  • Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images