As my volunteering opportunities through this year are likely to come at irregular intervals, I thought I would write some of my posts about the kind of things I spend my time doing now I am not in regular work.
Beeswax wraps have existed for years, and were widely used to wrap and keep food in the days before refrigeration.
They lost favour as cling film, plastic bags etc. took over the food wrapping for many of us.
However, as we all become more conscious of the use of plastic, especially single use plastic items such as cling film, they are making a comeback.
You can buy these wraps online but they are very simple to make yourself, and I decided to make some for myself, and some as presents for friends and family.
You need to buy 100% cotton cloth – the fat quarters that are sold for quilting are very useful and cost effective. They measure 18″ x 22″ and are usually sold in packs. You get a variety of cloth in the packs and you can cut them to suit your needs.
Next you need some beeswax. I used pellets as I had them to hand, but you can use the bars, you will just need to grate them.
There are a couple of method for melting the beeswax. You can do it in an oven or, as I did, simply use an iron.
Putting a thick blanket on my table to protect it, I put greaseproof paper on an oven tray, then the cloth (cut to size) with the pellets sprinkled over.
I covered it with another piece of greaseproof paper, set the iron to its highest setting and just used it to melt the wax. I found it useful to use the iron to spread the wax around ensuring it covers all the cloth.
If I felt the cloth wasn’t covered enough in the wax, I simply added more wax. I was careful not to add too much wax as I wanted the cloth soaked in it, but not so thick it would flake off when bent.
Once satisfied that the cloth was completely covered in wax, I lifted it off the paper immediately (I have asbestos hands), let it dry until set (this only takes a few seconds), then moved on to the next one.
The wraps can be used for wrapping hard cheese and fruit and vegetables, but because they can’t be washed in hot water, they are not recommended for meat, fish or poultry or soft cheeses.
They can be stored in a drawer, stitched to make sandwich bags or bags for vegetables, and used to cover bowls and pieces of cut vegetables or fruit. They allow the items they are wrapping to breathe and this is particularly good for cheeses.
To clean, you use a little bit of detergent and luke warm (not hot) water, wipe it with a cloth and store away once dry.
I chose the above method as it was my first time of making the wraps and this is the simplest way I could find. However, I understand that there are other methods and recipes to try – e.g. adding jojoba oil to the wax will make it more flexible and pine resin apparently gives it a bit more ‘cling’.
I intend to do more research and perhaps try some other ways as we are so enjoying using them and my cling film use has gone down considerably – a successful experiment I would say.