While growing up, plastic wrap and re-sealable zipper storage bags were a lunch bag mainstay; my sandwiches, cookies and other snacks were all wrapped in filmy Cellophane. And if you cracked open our fridge or freezer, you'd find all sorts of leftovers and half-consumed fruit and veggies swathed in disposable plastic, too.
Fast-forward to 2020 and you're likely to have seen an Instagram post or headline talking about beeswax food wraps. Curious about the buzz surrounding this eco-friendly product? Are you wondering if it actually works? Read on....
What is beeswax food wrap?
Beeswax food wrap is made of an underlying fabric—most often cotton—which has been coated with a layer of food-grade beeswax, rosin (a form of plant resin), and coconut or jojoba oils. The result is a flexible yet tacky textile which can be used as a Cellophane substitute. Thanks to its waxy coating, the wrap is water resistant yet breathable—making it perfect for food storage.
Not only is beeswax food wrap a great way to eliminate single-use plastics in the home, it is versatile and easy to use. All it takes is the natural warmth of your hands and the application of some pressure to soften the wrap, which is then easily molded as a lid to cover a container, to transport snacks and consumables, or to store produce.
Which foods can I store in beeswax food wrap?
Use beeswax food wrap to...
- Store half-used avocados, limes, lemons, tomatoes and other fruits/vegetables.
- Wrap blocks of cheese, cold cuts and other deli items.
- Cover sandwiches, wraps and other dry-prepared foods and snacks (like baked goods or crackers) for transport to and from school or the office. Tip: If you "brown bag" your lunch, cover your unwashed utensils in the beeswax wrap until you get home.
- Store goods like cookie dough and loaves in the freezer for two-to-three weeks at a time.
- Wrap loaves of bread. When stored on the counter in a beeswax wrap, bread should last about a week.
Can I store hot foods in beeswax wrap?
No, it is not recommended. The application of heat may distort the finish of the wax or cause it to eventually crumble away from the cotton that lies beneath. The food that is wrapped in beeswax food wrap should therefore be room temperature, chilled or frozen.
How do I use a beeswax food wrap to create a lid?
If the leftovers you are storing are steaming hot, first allow them to cool.
Once the food has reached room temperature, press the wrap across the top of the container. Use the natural warmth of your hands and some gentle pressure to form the edges of a lid. This action should be enough to generate a good seal.
Important: Never use beeswax food wrap to store raw meat or fish.
How long does a beeswax food wrap last?
When taken care of, one beeswax food wrap can last 150 to 250 uses, or about a year. To dispose of aging wraps, cut them into small strips and toss it in the compost or organics bin.
How to clean beeswax food wraps
Caring for beeswax food wraps is easy. Simply use cool or tepid water to rinse and then allow it to air dry.
To wash away food or debris, use a gentle natural dish soap. Avoid sponges with abrasive uppers or stiff bristle brushes; your hand or a cellulose sponge will work fine.
It is important to know that beeswax products should not come into contact with hot water. Do not put wraps in the dishwasher or washing machine, and if using as a temporary container lid, do not microwave. Also, do not soak or submerge wraps in a hot soapy sink.
Tip: When removing beeswax-wrapped items from the freezer, allow the wrap to warm to room temperature. Prematurely unwrapping a frozen wrap will lead to cracking.
How to store beeswax food wrap
Once completely dry, store beeswax food wraps in a cool place far from heat-generating appliances such as toasters, microwaves and ovens. They can be folded and placed back in the cardboard sleeve they were purchased in, stowed away in a drawer, hung or kept in a cotton produce bag.
Tip: Store wraps with or near your other food storage containers for easy access.
Note: You don't have to treat beeswax food wrap delicately. In fact, scrunching it up can make it more flexible and convenient to use.