Goodbye cling wrap, hello beeswax wraps

11:51 AM

One of the things I have been wanting to do for a while is getting rid of cling wrap in my kitchen. But until a few months back, I didn't know many alternatives to to wrap half cut fruits, veggies and cheese in my fridge.
Those are food items that do not fare too well when dumped in the fridge without a protective film, the cold and air makes them hard, and shriveled.
I tried putting them in a plastic container but while it works to some extent on papaya and musk melon it isn't effective at all to preserve cheese, not to mention that putting a half cut papaya into a plastic box makes it less space efficient.

I honestly can't remember the first time I heard of beeswax wrap, but I'm fairly sure it wasn't from an India based blog or social media post.
It's just a few weeks back, when my cling wrap roll came to an end that I decided to check if Amazon had anything local.

There are two brands that I know of doing beeswax wraps in India, and before I go any further, let me tell you that neither paid me to do this post, I am a happy user, and made my purchase on my own, with my own money. That said, the links below are Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and buy anything, I get paid a commission at no extra cost to you.

So as I said there are two India based brands making beeswax wraps selling on Amazon that I know of : Hoopoe on a Hill and Urban Creative

I went with Hoopoe on a Hill, which is the wraps you can see in use and in the package in my pictures.

But wait wait wait! What are beeswax wraps exactly? 

I'm glad you asked! Beeswax wraps are simply squares (or other shapes) of cotton fabric that have been coated in beeswax to make them water resistant, air tight and mouldable to anything. 

Beeswax apart from being all natural and a by product of the honey industry, is also antibacterial and anti-fungal, making it an ideal material to use to coat fabric that will come in contact with food. 
What's more, a beeswax coated wrap can be used and reused many times, most brands I saw in India and outside India claim a wrap can be used about a 100 times before it loose its properties. 

Ok, but how do you take care of these and keep them clean? 

They are fairly easy to maintain really, you just run them under cold water and gently wipe them if they have food residue stuck to them. Don't use soap and NEVER use warm water, it will make the wax melt and destroy your wrap. 
Once you washed them (it takes less than a minute) simply lay them flat in a cool place in the shade to dry, then store them in a box or clean drawer, ready to be used again. 

Beeswax wraps are a bit sticky to the touch because the wax is very sensitive to heat, but that is this stickiness that allows you to wrap them around just about anything. As you can see in the picture above, I wrapped a musk melon (cantaloupe for my US based readers), a papaya and used one of the wrap to act as a lid on a jar. 

They do best to wrap things that will be stored in the fridge, especially in a hot tropical humid climate. Why? Because as I said the wax is VERY sensitive to heat and if left out too long in a warm place, it will become even stickier, the good news is that it hardens very quickly in the fridge making your wrap solidly moulded around the food item. 

I use mine to wrap cut fruits and vegetables, cheese and to cover a bowl with leftover when I don't want to dirty a storage box because I know I'll be eating it within a day or two, or because I don't have a box big enough to store a salad in.
The set of wraps I bought has 3 pieces in 3 different sizes : Small is 25 cm x 18 cm, Medium is 29 x 23 and the large one is 36 x 29 cm 

This means the large one is big enough to cover a large salad bowl without problems

What happens after a 100 uses? 

I'm not even near to using them that many times, but you can either discard them and they are still going to be a lot more environment friendly than any other food packaging alternatives, or you can re-coat them. 

There are a number of DIY websites teaching you how to make your own or how to re-coat your wraps. The simplest method being to preheat the oven to a low temperature, than lay the cotton cloth on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkle pure beeswax shavings or pellets on top and allow it to melt into the fabric while in the oven.

Some of the DIY recipes blend the wax with either coconut oil or a blend of oil and pine resin, but I haven't tried any of these yet. 
Once my wrap will loose their food preserving properties, I'll look into re-coating them if the fabric is still in good condition. 

If you decide to completely make your wraps from scratch with scraps of fabric, most websites ask you to make sure they are either plain or printed with no toxic dyes for very obvious food safety issues. Also make sure the wax you buy is pure and unadulterated. 

I ended up visiting Hoopoe on a Hill's website, they are a honey farm in South India and they sell wild honey, beeswax based products and pure beeswax that can be used in cosmetics and to make your own wraps. 

Does it leave residues or a smell on the food? 

Not that I noticed really, but at any rate, beeswax is non toxic, so if you ingest it won't harm you the way certain plastic residues will. 
If you feel your food has a bit of a beeswax smell, simply wash the food in question under tap water and you are good to go (unless that food is bread...please do not wash bread).

So all in all, I am very happy with these, and I am really glad to have kicked one more single use plastic item from my life. 
If you must know, hubby and I are planning to discard all of our plastic containers in October as part of our Diwali cleaning spree. All of them without exceptions are over 6 years old, and they all have burnt marks and scratches than make them very unsafe to re-heat food in, we made the resolution to switch to glass containers and I have already bookmarked half of IKEA's containers because their system is modular and even the lids and gaskets can be replaced individually. But that will be the topic of another post. 

I had a crazy month of September so far, with lost of work, guests visiting unexpectedly, and I still have a target goal list with far too little check marks on it. 


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