• Hayley

All you need to know about Beeswax wraps including how to make them

I'm sure you've all heard of beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic wrap. With their waxy coating they are great at sticking together or over bowls and are easily moulded using the warmth of your hands. They are so versatile and can replace a number of plastic items in your kitchen.

Here's some ideas of ways to use them and ditch the plastic for good;

* cover leftovers

* wrapping cheese

* wrapping vegetables to keep them fresh

* wrapping bread

* wrapping dough in the freezer

* wrapping sandwiches

* making snack bags

The dumpling method of wrapping. Photo credit Kylie Walker

Some of these might sound tricky using just a square or rectangular wrap but it's all in the way you fold them. The key is to ensure a tight wrap especially when using them in the freezer. Check out this great article by Kylie Walker for lots of tips and videos on how to fold wraps in different ways to ensure your food lasts longer https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2018/07/19/how-use-and-revive-beeswax-wraps

How to care for your wraps

* Depending on what you've wrapped sometimes the wraps just need a dust off rather than a clean

* If you need to wash them use cold water to ensure none of the wax is removed

* If your wraps start to crack you can repair them by warming them up again. You can do this in the oven on a low heat or just use a hairdryer. This helps to spread the wax and soak it back into the cotton

* If your wraps have lost their stickiness if the cotton is still in reasonable condition you can re-coat it.

Making your own

There are lots of recipes out there and some simple ones contain only beeswax, however I've found that these wraps are often not as sticky and can be a bit harder to use. The below is a recipe I have tried myself so can confirm that they are super sticky.

I used the following recipe (recipe credit and full instructions from Piwakawaka Valley );

What you'll need

* 100g Beeswax

* 20g Pine Rosin (gives it the sticky factor)

* 15ml Jojoba oil (is a natural antibacterial oil and is food safe)

* Some light cotton material cut into squares/rectangles, whatever size you prefer. I just used some scrap material I had left over from other sewing projects and recoated other larger wraps that I already had.

I got all my ingredients from purenature.co.nz. They were great to deal with and I've got enough to last me several batches.

If you use the above recipe I'm sure you'll have success but before you start perhaps have a quick read of my own observations using this recipe.

* use an old pot/bowl - I can not stress this enough. This stuff is super sticky and makes cleaning up quite tricky, you don't want to use a good pot as you'll likely not get it fully clean. The bowl and utensils I used are no longer good for anything else as I couldn't get all the wax off them

* Keep an eye on the wraps when in the oven, especially the first few. I had a bit of a disaster with my first wrap and nearly burnt the house down. I read the temperature wrong and my wrap came out burnt and smoking as I left it in five minutes at double the recommended temperature. In the end I found they only needed to be in for a couple of minutes each

* The wraps dry really quickly once out of the oven. I had a bit of a production line going with two trays - one in the oven and prepping the next wrap to go in then switching the trays. I used an old clothes horse to put the wraps on when they came out of the oven. The wraps did leave a bit of sticky wax on the clothes horse so next time I'd probably use a peg to hang them from the clothes horse rather than draping them across.

Some of the smaller wraps I made with scraps of material

I had fun making the wraps and there is definitely a sense of accomplishment out of doing it yourself. It was quite a messy job though so I'm glad I doubled the recipe and did quite a few at the same time. The wraps should last 6-12 months depending on use so I won't need to be making them again soon.

If you want to buy

If it all sounds too hard then you'd be forgiven for buying your own. Luckily we have some on our site from A2P. Check them out here