I’ve finally been able to write up about making our own beeswax food wraps… over a year since we made them! Where does the time go? We’ve attempted making beeswax wraps twice now and while this post comes late, at least I can let you know how successful they’ve been and how they have been well used and lasted for well over a year.
For those who don’t know what beeswax wraps are: beeswax-covered material allow for a waterproof yet breathable solution used for many applications in the kitchen. We use them predominantly in place of cling film- for covering bowls of food, wrapping up sandwiches/ snacks for food on the go, and covering the ends of cut vegetables/ fruit that are stored in the fridge. They are reusable so can be washed with warm soapy water each time but since you shouldn’t use very hot water on them due to the wax, these should not to be used for covering raw meat items.
Here are my experiences and my thoughts 🙂
Firstly, why bother making beeswax wraps?
- Clingfilm cannot be recycled, it is not biodegradable and will never break down. It is horrible but having worked in kitchens, I know how essential it can be for hygiene in the commercial kitchen. If we can make small steps at home to reduce our plastic usage, we should try our best.
- Beeswax wraps are SO convenient, sustainable and look lovely! Choose a design/ colour to match your kitchen 🙂 Worn-off wax can be re-waxed easily so you shouldn’t really have to make more ever again after one batch (but you will probably want to for gifting!). You will not look back after using these. We are very conscious of how much plastic we use in the home and kitchen and since using these we have cut down a hell of a lot.
Before I go into the process of how to make them, I’d better let you know what I would do differently next time! Learn from my mistakes please, to save you less stress!
- Use an old glass jar/ jug for melting your wax into. I ruined our lovely Pyrex jug so it is now my ‘craft jug’. Your brush will be ruined too- hold onto it for when you next make it again!
- The material matters a lot… do NOT use white!! I used white because I had some scraps, but it turned yellow because of the yellow beeswax pellets (in retrospect this seems pretty obvious…!). You can buy white beeswax pellets so I shall try these next time although I heard that the heat may still cause a yellowness to the material. The second time, I tried patterned thinner material but the pattern design didn’t show up as clear as I wanted. I have since researched that you should choose 100% cotton, with no stretch. Colourfast material and darker colours are also best!
- I didn’t really know what sizes I may need. I tried 3 different sizes to begin with- ones to cover the largest bowls we had, the medium bowls we would likely put leftover food in, and ones for our smaller ramekins. Next time I would consider some extra large ones, big enough to cover vegetables such as leeks and green leafy vegetables to keep in the fridge. Also ones big enough to cover mugs as I sometimes will chuck something leftover into a mug to keep in the fridge.
So how do you make your own? There are many different methods you will find online. Here is the method that I used and worked for me:
1 cup Beeswax Pellets
1/4 cup Pine Resin
2 tbsp Jojoba Oil
Fabric – recycle or buy 🙂 Remember to wash and dry it first. Then measure and cut to size.
Glass jug/ bowl – I think you can also use metal but I have not tried this
Brush – an old one you do not mind ruining
Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
Melt the beeswax pellets, pine resin and jojoba oil into an old glass jar via a double boiler method (see below) until homogenous. This took me around 10-15 minutes; the time it takes will depend on how large your beeswax and pine resin pieces are.
Lay your pre-cut material onto parchment paper, laid upon a cookie tray.
Use an old brush to cover the material in the melted goo.
Place tray into oven so that the wax can distribute evenly and spread into the fibres. This will only take a couple of minutes.
When you have made sure there are no dry patches (just use your brush to go over any), use a tong to remove the piece of cloth from the oven and hang onto a clothes horse. It will dry very quickly once out of the oven. I worked one at a time but depends on the sizes you use/ the size of your oven.
I can’t tell you how many wraps the above quantity will cover exactly as it depends on the sizes you cut but I was able to make enough for our household plus a few to give as gifts. To use the wraps, simply use the heat of your hands to shape the fabric around food/ bowls. Wash with warm soapy water and do not use it with hot food/ raw meat.
- Some people use only beeswax for their wraps, which will wrap the cloth around food, but without pine resin and jojoba oil, there will be no tackiness to wrap the food well. Therefore I wanted to use all 3 ingredients in my wraps. You can adjust the levels of pine resin and jojoba oil accordingly. I found that the white thicker cotton material I used kept the tackiness a lot longer than the thinner material, but the thinner material is much more flexible. I think experimenting is key!
- The initial cost may seem high but you can make a lot with it and so it is well worth the money in the long run and much cheaper to make yourself than to buy. Also it is much more fun choosing your own material and they make lovely gifts.
- It can be sticky and messy to make. Make sure you have all the things you need ready and in close proximity so you can work quickly and avoid splattery messes.
Other ways to reduce the use of cling film:
- Simply putting a plate on top of bowls of leftover food. You can stack different bowls of food and use one plate on the top bowl if you have more items to save.
- Using glass jars- I save all old jars and take off labels using boiling water, then reuse them for all sorts: storing nuts/ sauces/ using as a salad dressing shaker/ paint pots.
- Use tupperware- I do love a good tupperware box.
Have fun making them and do let me know what you think about beeswax wraps if you have tried using them yourself or are thinking of using them!
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