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How I made Beeswax Wraps
One of the many ways to make these wraps
This is totally NOT beadwork related, but was a bit of fun. Hubby has a beehive in our back yard, and as a surprise after a harvest, he triple cleaned the wax and made little honeycomb shaped moulds for me. They have been just waiting for me to get organised and make some wax wraps to replace our old ones. This is a run-through of the recipe I used.
Preparing the Fabric
Pine resin is very sticky so I lined a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. I reused the sheet several times. I preheated the oven to approx. 150 Celsius and laid the washed and dried fabric onto the parchment paper.
I used a lightweight 100% cotton with a tight weave and as beeswax has a yellow tint, I tried to find prints that would work with this. Darker prints may also hide stains left by juices from some fruits and vegetables.
Wash the fabric before cutting into the required sizes. I did this back-to-front and ended up with lots of frayed edges to sort out.
Melt the Ingredients
I combine the beeswax, food grade pine resin and jojoba oil in a double boiler and melted it over low-moderate heat, stirring occasionally to combine. This took some time because of how large my chunks of wax and resin were. (I had read that the resin may caramelise if heated over too hot hot a heat and will not then melt).
Large chunks of resin will take a long time to melt – I put them into a cloth and hit with a hammer to make them smaller, avoiding inhaling the small particles of resin. (A hint I read was to store it in the freezer to make it more brittle and easier to smash).
Do not melt resin directly over a flame as it is highly flammable.
Ingredients & Ratio
The amounts used in the 4:4:1 ratio below will be enough for one 25cm square. I adjusted the amount to use the full 100ml of oil I had and poured the leftover mixture into silicon moulds to cool. I can now grate and use for re-waxing worn wraps or grating over new fabric to create more wraps in the future.
40g pine resin
10g jojoba oil
The mixture was very sticky so I was glad I used an old bowl as the top of my double boiler that can be reserved just for this use.
Don’t use your good cookware, cloths or clothes. It wasn’t the easiest thing to get off everything and if using an iron, maybe get an old one. I used a piece of cloth over the handle of mine, but it still got sticky. I am a messy cook so obviously a messy wax wrapper too.
I didn’t strain the mixture before using or pouring into a mould to remove any unmelted or caramalised lumps, but it might have been the thing to do.
Wax the Fabric
I painted the mixture onto the fabric with an old basting brush. A little went a long way and it didn’t need to go right to the edges as it melted further while in the oven. I placed the tray in an oven for a few minutes on low heat while I painted the next lot. When some of the fabric was larger than the baking sheet I folded it into halves or quarters to fit and turned it over during its time in the oven to let the wax reach the other side evenly.
Another option I tried was to place the fabric between two sheets of parchment and use a hot iron to spread.
When I had added too much mixture, which resulted in a thick, hard wrap that was difficult to use, and cracked when folded, I placed another piece of fabric over or under the first and reheated in the oven, and for some extra juicy ones, with the iron.
Cool the Wrap
When I removed the trays from the oven, checked that the wax had saturated the fabric evenly and fixed any dry patches by adding more of the mixture and reheating and was happy with the result, I pegged to an clothes airer to let cool for a few minutes. Some of the bigger sheets, I just draped over. Remember, it is still sticky so protect your airer with some old cloth or paper.
Caring for your Beeswax Wraps
Bees wax wraps are not designed to be used to cover hot foods or foods with lots of liquid. You can however use them to cover a bowl of food (such as stew) once it has cooled.
Use the warmth of your hands to shape the wrap around the bowl or item and to activate the stickiness to seal to itself.
Wipe over used wraps with tepid soapy water, rinse and let dry before storing. Your wax wrap will melt in hot water, they therefore cannot be used with raw meats or other items with high bacterial loads.
When your wax wrap starts to show signs of wear, just place it back in the oven (on parchment paper as before) and reheat. If it has “bald spots” add a little more grated wax to that area and again using parchment paper, melt with the iron. Once the wrap has reached its end, don’t throw it away, add it to the compost.
Suggested uses for Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps can be used to cover cut fruit and vegetable ends, they can be folded into a pocket to store a sandwich, used to cover bowls of salads, cooled leftovers, and for proofing bread. Breads and baked goods can be wrapped in them.