One of the easiest ways to make our kitchens less wasteful and more natural is with food storage. Ditch the disposable stuff and switch to reusable storage solutions. Here’s how to use beeswax wraps and why they work great in the kitchen.
When trying to make a kitchen more natural and less wasteful, food storage is one of the areas that makes a big impact. Disposable plastic tubs, bags, and wraps are not only harmful to the environment but not great for our health.
I avoid plastic in the kitchen as much as possible because I don’t want the food that our family eats to be wrapped in it. One product that I have been using for several years now and still love are beeswax wraps.
Although I have lots of reusable glass containers and jars in our kitchen for storing food, I use beeswax wraps just as often for many different uses. This has not only cut down on the waste in our garbage can but also on our grocery bill. No more buying plastic wrap, baggies, or tubs.
I love the pretty patterns, the scent of beeswax, that I can buy them locally made or make them myself, and the many benefits that come from using them.
If you haven’t tried beeswax wraps before, here’s some information about them and why they’re so great!
What Are Beeswax Wraps?
Beeswax wraps are pieces of fabric that are coated in melted beeswax and sometimes pine rosin and organic jojoba oil. Sheets come in various sizes to fit all sorts of dishes and containers.
They help reduce food waste and single-use plastics in the kitchen since they are a replacement for plastic wrap.
You can mold them to cover bowls, jars, dishes, and pieces of food. They’re a little sticky and the heat of your hand helps them seal in place. They keep food fresh and safe.
Benefits of Beeswax Wraps
If you’ve read my post about the benefits of beeswax candles, you won’t be surprised that beeswax wraps have benefits as well! Some of them are:
- Reusable beeswax food wraps are a sustainable alternative to plastic food storage containers
- They are biodegradable and reduce plastic waste
- Beeswax wraps are non-toxic, anti-bacterial, and made from natural materials
- They are breathable and keep food fresh longer
- They save you money at the grocery store when you’re not buying tin foil or plastic cling wrap
- Beeswax is naturally anti-fungal
How to Use Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps can be used in many different ways to keep your food fresh. Here are some ideas:
- Cover an open bottle of wine
- Wrap up a dinner plate for later
- Fold into an envelope and tuck snacks inside
- Cover a dish you’re taking to a pot luck
- Wrap up a sandwich for school lunches
- Wrap a block of cheese
- Cover leftovers in a dish
- Wrap up a loaf of artisan bread from the bakery
- Use as gift wrap, then they receive two gifts
- Cover jars used for food storage
- Wrap around cut melons to keep them fresh
- Sew the sides together to create a little pouch to use instead of plastic bags
- Place on the top of bowls to keep rising or chilling dough fresh
- Wrap up a piece of fruit to finish later
- Take a piece with you to a local bakery and ask them to put your pastry or bagel in the beeswax wrap instead of a paper bag
Use the warmth of your hands to mold the beeswax wrap into place. This ensures that it has a tight seal all the way around the top of the dish you are covering.
You won’t get a completely airtight seal so if you want it to be a little tighter, just place a rubber band around the top as well.
It’s not a good idea to use your beeswax wraps with raw meat. Because you can’t use hot water to sanitize them, they can’t be completely cleaned after touching raw meat.
Also, avoid wrapping food meant for children under the age of one in beeswax wraps. There could be traces of honey so to be on the safe side, wait until they’re over one year of age to allow the beeswax to touch their food.
There are so many ways to use beeswax wraps! Just press it for a few moments with your warm hands to allow it to set and stick and your food is ready to go!
How to Wash Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are easy to care for! Here’s how to keep them nice and clean:
- Wash beeswax wraps with cool water only, not hot water.
- Use a mild soap as needed and rinse well.
- Drape over a dish rack and air dry completely before putting away.
- Store clean beeswax wraps in a dry, cool place like a kitchen drawer.
If your wrap didn’t get very dirty at all, you can simply wipe it with a clean, damp cloth.
After using beeswax wraps for a long time, they will reach the end of their life and need replacing. They last for about a year with regular use and proper care.
But don’t toss them out! Old wraps that are made with 100% cotton fabric and natural beeswax are compostable. This is just another reason why these are one of the best sustainable products that you can use in the kitchen.
Can You Microwave Beeswax Wraps?
No! Do NOT microwave your beeswax wraps! You will melt the wax and have a mess. Don’t heat them in the oven either.
You want to avoid putting them directly on hot food as well so wait until it has cooled. The goal is to keep the beeswax at room temperature or cooler as getting it to warm will cause it to start melting.
The melting point of beeswax is 145 degree F for you reference so don’t let it get hotter than that.
Don’t leave your beeswax wraps in a hot car either!
Where to Get Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are becoming more and more popular as people are trying to reduce their plastic use. Many of us are ditching aluminum foil, plastic food wrap, and baggies for this plastic-free alternative.
There are many retailers that sell beeswax wraps. Our local health food store has a nice selection so yours might too. You can also order them online.
We’re fortunate here in Alaska to be able to get locally-made beeswax wraps from Alaska Beeswax Wraps. I purchase them from a local market. They use Alaska-themed fabrics and I like to buy locally made products whenever possible.
How to Make Beeswax Wraps
If you’re crafty and want a fun project, make your own reusable beeswax wraps! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pieces of 100% cotton fabric– Use different sizes depending on what containers you’ll be covering. It’s nice to have small, medium, and large wraps. Use thin fabrics, not heavy, flannel fabrics. 100% linen works too.
- Pure beeswax– If you’re a beekeeper, this is a great way to use up some of your own wax. You can read about how to separate wax and clean it in these posts. You can also order beeswax pellets online, just be sure they are 100% pure beeswax with no other ingredients.
- Pinking shears– Use these to cut out your pieces of fabric. Although not completely necessary (you can just use regular scissors) they cut the fabric in a way that it will not fray.
- Sheet pan– Cover with parchment paper.
- Paint brush– Be sure it’s one that hasn’t been used before as it will be touching the surface that your food will also touch. A craft paintbrush that you don’t mind getting covered in wax will work.
- Pine resin and jojoba oil– These ingredients are optional. Beeswax alone works just fine but the pine resin and jojoba oil do make the wraps more pliable.
- Place to hang dry– A string and clothespins work great. Don’t worry, they won’t drip and will dry quickly.
Here’s a quick way to make your own reusable diy beeswax wraps:
- Lay a piece of fabric on the parchment lined sheet pan. You might be able to fit two or three pieces, depending on their size.
- Heat your oven to low heat, no higher than 200 degrees F.
- Sprinkle evenly with beeswax pellets or if using a block of beeswax, grate it. Don’t completely cover with beeswax as it will spread when it melts. It’s easy to add more but not as easy to sop up excess wax.
- Place baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes, watching carefully until the wax melts completely and soaks into the fabric.
- Carefully remove the sheet from the oven and use the paintbrush to spread the wax as needed until it covers the piece of fabric evenly and completely. If the wax starts to harden, just place it back in the oven to melt it some more then brush it again. If you need more wax, sprinkle a bit on and pop it back in the oven.
- Once the wax is brushed and you’re satisfied, hang the wraps by the clothespins until dry, which only takes a few minutes.
As your bee’s wrap ages, you can refresh it by repeating the process above. Just sprinkle some wax on it where needed, melt it, and brush to fix any areas that are getting old. Otherwise, compost and make new ones!
Homemade beeswax wraps are quick and easy to make. You can choose your favorite fabrics and sizes that work with your dishes.
These reusable wraps also make great gifts! A set of three, small, medium, and large is a unique and practical gift.
They are also a great alternative to wrapping paper. Simply wrap the gift and then let the recipient know how to use and care for the beeswax wrap.
I hope your questions are answered and you give beeswax wraps a try instead of using disposable plastic food storage. There are so many benefits, not only for your family’s health but for your home and the environment as well. Make this easy switch and you’ll see the difference!