I believe in the personal touch for the holidays and I always try to make at least some of my gifts. Sure it takes more effort, and at this busy time of year homemade gifts may be the first thing to go when schedules fill up. But I believe that I have the perfect last minute homemade gift: plastic-free food wraps.
There are commercially produced beeswax food wraps if DIY really isn't your thing, and I do love supporting companies that make environmentally friendly and ethical products. Abeego is one such company, and I am proud that it started as a home-based business in my province. They have many options for food storage including large bowl covers as well as handy snack and sandwich pockets.
In keeping with my DIY spirit, last year I decided to try making some of my own, and they were a hit with everyone. I made a dozen or so in one afternoon, with minimal prep and clean up.
Here's how to make your own reusable food wraps:
- various pieces of cotton cloth
- block of beeswax
- metal baking sheet
- pinking shears
- clothes pegs or metal clips
- cooling rack
- cheese grater
- Preheat the oven to a very low heat (I set my oven to about 190F but as every oven is slightly different, you may want to play around with this).
- Cut the pieces of cloth into desired sizes using the pinking shears (so that the edges of the cloth do not fray; no sewing required). I suggest measuring the different types of food containers that you may wish to cover with the wraps. I had some old quilting fat quarters in my crafting stash so I cut each one into fourths. This is a great way to use up fabric scraps you may have lying around.
- Place a piece of cloth on the baking sheet. Some people suggest using an old baking sheet because it may ruin the sheet for other purposes. I don't have any extra, however, so I just used one that I have. After thoroughly cleaning it in hot water I didn't have any beeswax residue left so if you are like me and only have one, it will be fine after usage, but if you are concerned, use an old baking sheet.
- Grate the beeswax. The amount depends on the size of the wrap you are making. There should be enough wax to lightly cover the cloth. Too much will make it too stiff to use and too little will not completely cover the material. You may need to play around with this a little bit to see what amount works for you. My advice is less is more; you can always add more grated wax and remelt in the oven if you haven't added enough.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for a few minutes until the wax looks completely melted onto the cloth (stay close and keep an eye on it).
- Carefully peel the cloth off the baking sheet and hang over a cooling rack that is standing on it's side, like a clothes line. Use clothes pegs to hold the cooling fabric in place.
- Remove from the wrap from the cooling rack when it is finished. I did mine like an assembly line and by the time the next wrap was melted in the oven (grating the beeswax for each individual wrap), the previous wrap was cooled and ready.
To Use the Food Wrap:
- Place the wrap over the bowl or food container. Rub your hands around the edge to warm up the wax with your hands and mould the wrap to the shape of the container.
- Get creative with your wrap and use it for cheese and other oddly shaped food.
|Sometimes I use elastic bands to keep the wrap tight on the container.|
- Because the wraps are made from beeswax they must be washed in cold water and a little bit of dish soap if required. Obviously warm or hot water will melt the wax, make a mess in your sink and ruin the food wraps. I have had no difficulty caring for my wraps in this way, and after a year of use they are still in very good condition.
|This wrap is well used but still in working condition.|
- If the wrap becomes used looking with the wax cracking (visible white lines and marks) simply repeat the melting process in the oven so that it looks as good as new.