Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about beeswax wraps, an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wrap.
If you are one of those people who marketers call early adopters, you probably own a few beeswax wraps. But if beeswax and wraps sound a little weird to you and you just raised your eyebrows, then keep on reading because you might be quite surprised.
What are beeswax wraps?
Beeswax wraps are reusable food wraps, designed as an excellent substitute to ugly looking and non-eco-friendly disposable plastic cling wrap.
Typically printed with a variety of designs, they are fabric swatches impregnated with beeswax cut to the appropriate size making them suitable for practical application. They can include other ingredients as well, for example, I use natural tree resins and oils, to make them last longer.
Simply use them in place of ‘saran’ wrap or other cling wraps. Cling-wrap is not biodegradable and part of the plastic pollution problem. Beeswax wraps, on the other hand, are flexible and conform well to a variety of shapes and sizes and the warmth from your hands will help to mould them and keep them in place. They keep your food fresh. Beeswax wraps are something that you can wash and reuse and they possess antibacterial properties too.
Beeswax is famous for its antibacterial properties. It keeps bacteria away since bacteria won’t reproduce themselves on beeswax. That is one of the reasons why your food will stay fresh longer when wrapped in a beeswax wrap. Since beeswax is the principal ingredient in beeswax wraps, it works like a magical shield naturally protecting and preserving your food. It prevents it from going bad.
Of course, it does go bad, eventually, but at a considerably slower rate.
One of the key ingredients that I add to Cerawrap (my unique brand of beeswax wraps) is a little bit of pine tree resin. This is another shield from bacteria, as pine trees are equally known for their bacterial resistant properties. Extracts from pine trees are widely known to be used in the production of chewing gum and other oral hygiene products due to its super antibacterial properties. When it’s combined with beeswax, it is a splendid way to prevent cheese from moulding or veggies from rotting.
Who would profit from their use?
The short answer is everyone and the earth of course! But you will find them especially useful if you cook at home more than twice a week, have kids or take lunches to work or school regularly.
How do I use beeswax wraps?
They are extremely easy to use. When you take a wrap and hold it in your hands for a few seconds, it softens a little, making it easy to wrap your food or cover a bowl or open jar easily. Just put your wrap on a bowl and press it on the sides of the bowl. You can even store food wrapped in the freezer too. Just give it a few minutes when you take it out of the freezer before unwrapping.
How do I clean the wraps?
Taking care of a wrap is incredibly easy. Here’s a brief list of tips on how to care for them and increase their longevity:
Use a cotton cloth for regular cleaning.
Even though most beeswax wraps are intentionally designed in a way you could rinse them in running water after each use, honestly, you do not need to do that. If you wrap, let’s say, bread or cookies, there would be only breadcrumbs or some traces of flour left on your wrap. To clean those, simply use a damp cotton cloth. It will only take you a few seconds to have your wrap clean and ready to use again and again.
Wash it with lukewarm water.
Beeswax wraps are made of beeswax, and beeswax melts at the temperature of ±62 °C or ±144 °F. Consequently, really hot water would completely melt the beeswax from your wrap making it useless. We do not want this to happen, so I would highly recommend using cold or lukewarm water to clean it.
If you were wrapping oily products like cheese and you need to clean those oil stains, use a little bit of dishwasher soap. Do not forget to rinse it well afterwards so traces of dishwasher soap wouldn’t get into your food.
Rubbing and soaking.
Cold, lukewarm water is completely fine with the product, and some gentle rubbing wouldn’t do any harm as the product is quite durable. Yet, if you want to keep it in the best possible condition for the longest period of time – while cleaning, use gentle materials. A piece of cotton fabric cloth is perfect. Metal sponges are a strict no-no. They would only harm the wrap.
What’s more, you do not need to immerse it in water to clean it, a few seconds under running water is perfectly fine.
Do beeswax wraps go along with any kind of food?
There are many charming pictures on Pinterest where people photograph their DIY beeswax wraps together with acidic fruits like limes or lemons 🙂 Even though they look splendid in pictures, in reality, I wouldn’t recommend wrapping lemon halves in a beeswax wrap. Acids are not very good friends with beeswax and direct contact would slowly harm your wrap. Putting it in other words, acids would simply eat your wrap up bite by bite…
But what to do if you were baking a lemon pie and invariably have a few of those lime halves left? My advice is to place them in a bowl and then cover it with your beeswax wrap. It will help to keep your lemons fresh without harming your wrap with its acidic juices.
Keep in mind that lemons are not the only acidic fruits. Store these in a bowl and cover the bowl with a wrap:
- Blue plums
Finally, a note of caution: I am obliged to inform you not to use wraps directly with raw meat and raw fish. According to governing bodies like the EU’s and FDA’s sanitary recommendations, all surfaces that have direct contact with raw meat or fish must be washed with steaming water. And you simply cannot do that with beeswax wraps, because they would lose their unique qualities.
I hope that you learned about the benefits of beeswax wraps and hope that you will consider utilizing them in place of cling wrap. Every small action we take towards the care of the earth marks a necessary step in the right direction.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
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