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make reusable food storage wrappers  RSS feed

 
master pollinator
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These are instructions for making reusable beeswax food storage wrappers. Wrap & save sandwiches, cheese, veggies, almost anything except meat. The wraps last approximately 6 months with daily use. Say good bye to plastic baggies!

The woman who taught me this technique has changed her heating method though. She now does it in a dedicated cast iron griddle instead of the oven. She said it gives more consistent results & just easier. She melts the wax & other ingredients in the cast iron then spreads the mixture on a piece of thin cloth with a paint brush. She said if it gets wrinkles after constant use it can be smoothed out in the oven. Just warm it up. The results were impressive. I'll be making some for wrapping sandwiches & some larger sizes too. Would be easy to sew them into bags. She used all sorts of cloth scraps. Very nice looking results. She sewed ribbons onto some so they can be tied like little gifts. They feel unusual & act something like wax that doesn't break when folded.

wax-cloths.jpg
[Thumbnail for wax-cloths.jpg]
 
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Thank you for sharing this! I recently bought a pack of these and was thinking surely I could make them. This is just what I need.
 
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Oh awesome!! I need to find some beeswax!!
I think, me being me, and I sew as easy as I breathe, I'd put tie tails on them so you could roll things in them and just tie the ties up. Bags would be good, even better with flaps like sandwich baggies. Tie tails on the flaps? I am seeing all kinds of ways to sew them up as I type...
And I know I have mileage of good fabrics!
Awesome idea, thank you SO much for sharing, Mr Barkley!! :D
 
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I really want to try this although I've never used plastic wrap or any of the things it would replace.  I like the idea of bags especially and they would be wonderful gifts.

I wonder what purpose the resin serves? Seems like both types o resin would add a brittleness to the wax?

I'm trying to think what I already have besides the beeswax...no jojoba oil either but maybe coconut oil would work?

thanks for posting this!

 
Pearl Sutton
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There's a thread here Cloth Shopping Bags where we tell about the cloth bags we make. Would be interesting to market sets of shopping bags and wax storage things that all kind of match or complement each other.

Looking up the resins, I found
Dammar crystals are also dissolved in molten paraffin wax to make batik, to prevent the wax from cracking when it is drawn onto silk or rayon.  Wikipedia, Dammar gum
Dammar gum has excellent adhesive power   damar resin
Pine resin ... is distilled into rosin, which is used to promote a better grip between objects
Medical uses for Pine Resin

So I'd say it's to make the wax stick to the fabric better, not peel off easily, and possibly crack less.  

Jojoba oil comes from the beans of a shrub like plant, and it is actually a liquid plant wax. ... Jojoba oil may become cloudy and solidify as the temperature drops. This is a normal process that occurs from the hardening of the fats and waxes, and it will become stable at or around room temperature. Because Jojoba is not an oil but rather a wax, its shelf life and stability is considerably higher then most oils and rancidity is very rarely a concern.
Mountain Rose Herbs- Jojoba oil
And I did see it listed as an antimicrobial, antifungal etc on various sites.

So my guess would be to thin the beeswax a touch so it flows better, and add a bit of antibacterial etc to it. in which case coconut oil would have a similar effect as it also has all those same properties. If microbial concerns are high, I'd add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to it too, as it's an excellent anti-everything and has no flavor or smell. Things like tea tree oil and neem oil would add more odor than might be wanted.


 
Mike Barkley
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I suspect that the rosin is what helps the wax stay flexible & not break apart. The end result feels almost like a thin silicone pad that I use in the dehydrator.  
 
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There are plant waxes (soy, rice bran, castor, bayberry, carnuba etc.), animal waxes (from the head of Sperm whales, lanolin, beeswax, tallow, etc.) mineral and petroleum waxes - we won't even go there.

Beeswax holds all the pesticides that the bees have come in contact with. The beeswax in the comb honey my grandma used to spread on her hot toast (and it would melt in) is long gone.

Coconut wax is probably the safest. Usually can't find it unless it is in a blend. Mixed with Palm wax (Carnauba Wax which is VERY hard and would need a softer wax and resins to mix with it) would be best as far as toxicity, but palm wax is not sustainably harvested. Workers have to literally beat it out of the leaves, and usually defoliate the tree. Soy, unless organic has GMO's and probably our favorite toxin that goes well with GMO plants. Have also seen a coconut/apricot blend but not sure if it would impart an unwanted flavor/scent into your leftovers or sandwich.

 
Lee Gee
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Pearl, thank you for your post. And you wrote:

If microbial concerns are high, I'd add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to it too, as it's an excellent anti-everything and has no flavor or smell.



I have consumed a fair amount of GSE, and I personally find it has a taste, undiluted (or put in a veggie cap) that will make your face contort, and I love it as for its anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

 
Pearl Sutton
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Lee Gee wrote:
I have consumed a fair amount of GSE, and I personally find it has a taste, undiluted (or put in a veggie cap) that will make your face contort, and I love it as for its anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.



Interesting. We must be getting different types or something. I do it regularly, never noticed any flavor at all.

In that case, y'all might be wise to smell your grapefruit seed extract before using it as an unflavored antimicrobial.
 
Mike Barkley
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Beeswax holds all the pesticides that the bees have come in contact with.  



Lee has a valid point. It was discussed at the bee meeting where these wraps were demonstrated. We decided that since we were all beekeepers we have the option of using virgin wax. We also realized that most fruits & veggies in grocery stores probably contain greater amounts of pesticides than our old wax. Many people eat honey directly from the comb.
 
Judith Browning
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Soy, unless organic has GMO's and probably our favorite toxin that goes well with GMO plants.



Now you have me considering the homemade organic soy milk that I make to use as a protein binder on cotton fabric for natural dyes.
It gives the fabric a certain thickness and does not wash out....we can add several layers after curing each one.

I believe it is the casein that is left on the fabric...the part of the soybean that is hard to digest unless fermented.
 
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I wonder, if you make these frequently, need to do it in smaller increments of time, or in quantity (as for gifting, barter, or sale), do you think it could be advantageous to melt larger quantities, in the same ratios, the wax, resin, & oils together, use what you need initially, and allow the rest to harden, for storage, until you make more? For example, I might like to make some of these to ship to my mom, as a Christmas gift, and need to get them in the mail, in the next couple days - but, don't have time, space or fabric on hand, for all the other ones I want to make and gift, at the same time. Measuring & blending larger amounts of the ingredients once, instead of each time, would make production faster & easier, on subsequent batches... I think. The surplus could be poured into ice cube trays, allowed to harden, and stored at room temp, in an old coffee can - just grab as many as you'd need, each time you're ready to make more?
 
Mike Barkley
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I recommend starting small just to get the hang of it. After that I see no reason why it couldn't be done in larger batches.

Not 100% sure if the unused & recycled materials can be reheated & used again but I think it's a reasonable assumption. The instructor did say you could patch them up & smooth them out in an oven.
 
Carla Burke
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Thanks, Mike! I'll make some for myself, first - that way if something goes sideways, I can adjust, as necessary - BEFORE making gifts, lol
 
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Sally Munoz wrote:Thank you for sharing this! I recently bought a pack of these and was thinking surely I could make them. This is just what I need.




To all the beekeepers who don't know what to do with second rate wax, this has possibilities!
 
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