The inside scoop is pretty sweet!
If you've been looking for some more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives, chances are, you might have stumbled across this thing called beeswax wrap. It can be used to wrap sandwiches and salad, that half-eaten avocado, even leftovers from wine and cheese night! Maybe the cute patterns first caught your eye, or maybe you saw it on Instagram. Whatever the reason, we're going to share everything you need to know about this reusable alternative to plastic wrap.
Breaking down what's in beeswax wrap
While the name might have you thinking beeswax wrap contains bees, no bees were harmed in the process! Beeswax wrap is traditionally made up of a piece of cloth that has been brushed with melted beeswax (1). You might be wondering what about beeswax makes it so good to use as an alternative to plastic wrap. While beeswax is pretty hard and rugged when first harvested, if beeswax is heated up to around 85 to 90 degrees fahrenheit, its rough texture starts to become very smooth and plastic-like, making it the perfect substitute for plastic wrap (3). Other ingredients like plant oils and tree resin can be added to help make the beeswax surface cling to surfaces better (1).
The hallmark of beeswax wrap is that it is a reusable alternative to plastic wrap since beeswax wrap can be used over and over again and only contains biodegradable ingredients. It also works really similarly to plastic wrap. The surface of beeswax wraps is sticky, which helps it cling well to food and storage containers and keep food fresh. The waterproof nature of the beeswax also helps keep foods from drying out (6). It can be molded to fit around any shape, even that awkwardly shaped butternut squash. Beeswax wrap is versatile and can both hold food like sandwiches and baby carrots, but also be used as a lid on pots and bowls. When cared for correctly, beeswax wrap can be used daily for up to a year - a winner in our book (1)!
But how does it stack up environmental health wise? Beeswax, plant oils, and tree resin are also all ingredients that do not contain any harmful chemicals; beeswax is produced naturally by honeybees (3), plant oils come from plants, and tree resin, you guessed it - is from the sap of trees (4). While the ratios and type of plant oils and tree resins used differ between brands, you can rest assured that your beeswax wrap is both reusable and safe!
How do I take care of it?
Taking care of beeswax wrap couldn't be easier. Wash each beeswax wrap in cool water with a mild dish soap (1). Then, air dry the wraps (1). If you are able to, lay the beeswax wrap flat on a dish towel or drying rack when drying, as this will help reduce the number of creases in the wrap and extend its usage (5). You will want to store these wraps flat or rolled up, if possible, and in a cool, dry, place (5). Don't put your beeswax wrap near any source of heat. This means no warm water, microwaves, ovens, hot cars, or hot leftovers (3). The heat will completely melt your beeswax and make the wrap unusable, which is definitely not what you want after investing in a sustainable piece of storage (3)!.
However, there is one situation in beeswax wrap care where heat is the answer. If your beeswax wrap is starting to look a little worn and rugged, you can crank your oven to the lowest temperature setting, lay the beeswax wrap flat on a clean cookie sheet (wax side up) and then place in the oven for a couple minutes, or just until the wax is beginning to melt (5). Alternatively, you can also use a hair dryer to melt the beeswax and fill in the cracks of your beeswax wrap. Then, just let your beeswax wrap cool down completely before storing away (5).
What to use with it, and what to keep away from it
While beeswax wrap is a great alternative to plastic wrap, the downside is that because the wrap cannot be washed with stronger soap and hot water, it cannot be cleaned thoroughly (2). You might have already guessed, but because of this, beeswax wrap shouldn't be used on raw meat or fish. You should also avoid using beeswax wrap on sticky, mushy foods. Luckily, there are plenty of foods that you can use your beeswax wrap on. Feel free to use your beeswax wrap on cheese, vegetables, bread, fruit, fresh herbs, and baked goods. It also functions really well as a lid cover for bowls, pots, pans, utensils, or other storage containers. Got some leftover salad or a pasta dish in a bowl? Just put a beeswax wrap on it instead of getting out another food storage container. Everyone loves less dishes!
Saying goodbye to your beeswax wrap
And you know what's the greatest thing about beeswax wrap? When you're done using it, you can compost your wrap! You'll know you can compost your beeswax wrap when the cloth itself is worn down and is no longer sticky (1). When the time has come to say goodbye, cut your beeswax wrap into strips and add to your compost pile, or use it as kindling for fire (1).
DIY some beeswax wrap!
Beeswax wrap is the best bang for your buck, but we know the upfront cost can be daunting to commit to. But what is pretty sweet is that you can DIY your own beeswax wrap! All you need is some cloth, beeswax and elbow grease. Give it a try!
- 100 percent thin cotton fabric
- ¼ tsp pine resin
- ⅛ cup + 1 tbsp beeswax pellets
- 1 tbsp jojoba oil
- Parchment paper
- Large paint brush
- Clean fabric and let dry.
- Cut fabric into desired sizes.
- Melt pine resin, beeswax, and jojoba oil in a double boiler.
- Preheat the oven to 300° F.
- Place parchment paper on your cookie sheet, the parchment paper should be bigger than your largest piece of fabric.
- Place your fabric flat on the parchment paper.
- Brush melted mixture gently on fabric.
- Place your cookie sheet in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has thoroughly melted on the fabric.
- Remove fabric from the oven and fill in spots that the mixture did not cover the first time around. You can place back in the oven for a little at a time to help the mixture spread evenly.
- Let your wraps dry completely before storing.