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Hi! I made a sheet of beeswax-cotton reusable food wrap recently, and it was pretty easy and works well. I thought I would write with a report. It can be used as a wrap for snacks (wrap/fold around food and secure with a rubber band), as a lid to mold onto bowls when storing food in the fridge, or to cover the cut end of watermelon, pineapple, etc. Anything where a bit of moisture-proofing is needed.
this is the article I found with the directions:
If for some reason the link doesn't work, I can describe the method: cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then lay a piece of sheeting-weight cotton on the paper. Grate beeswax onto the cotton and spread it out evenly. (You probably need less than you think). Melt in the oven at a low temperature-- 175 degrees F for 8 minutes. Hang on clothesline to dry. After food use, hand wash using cold water, like a plate (keep it flat).
I did a test where I took a piece of the unwaxed cotton material and held it under the running water of my kitchen tap, and the water pooled and then dripped right through, but the waxed cotton cloth held into the water and let it pool in the cloth. It didn't drip through at all. Pretty neat! The waxed cotton definitely molds into whatever shape you want it to (covering a bowl for example) and it smells lovely like beeswax, too. The author of the web article above is right, that you don't need to use a lot of wax. I used less than I thought I would need, yet I still had wax pooling on the parchment paper under the cloth after I took it out of the oven.
My apologies if this has been written about before, I checked around on this site and couldn't find much except a few mentions of the Abeego cloth. The Abeego cloth looks like a great business idea and I love to see people buying reusable wrap. I am sure many people would be too busy or uninterested in making their own beeswax cloth and it is great that they have an option to buy it from Abeego, but I just wanted to say it was not that hard and not expensive at all, especially if you already use beeswax candles and have some scraps of wax leftover.
Another question I have is if the cloth waterproofing is sufficient with just the beeswax, what is the purpose of the jojoba and the tree resin, which are the other ingredients Abeego uses.
cheers, thanks for the inspiration!
Great and timely post/info! I've been struggling with how to replace plastic wrap without using foil & my refrigerator cant take all the glass storage containers I would need. I always wondered about those wax things in my local "green" store…now I may give 'em a try…
Could home made or Abeego wrap be the solution to how to keep my romaine and butter lettuce heads fresh without the use of a plastic bag? Does anyone have experience with this?
Also, Abeego's website lists LiveGreene in downtown Palo Alto as a source of these wraps, but they aren't on their website.
Jane – I love this!!! Thank you for posting it! Usually I just use a saucer on a bowl when I run out of covered storage containers, but this sounds perfect for wrapping things, like cheese and I'm going to try it this weekend. I'm guessing non-dyed cotton would be the best, since it'll be coming into contact with food. As to the jojoba & tree resin, jojoba oil is actually a liquid "wax" and might provide additional waterproofing or make the cloth more supple than straight beeswax, while the resin is a natural anti-bacterial, since that's what makes wooden cutting boards more sanitary than plastic.
Neat, Eve, that makes sense about the tree resin. Let me know if you try making it and how it works. Any idea where to get tree resin?
Jean, if I was going to try to keep head lettuce in the fridge without plastic, I would somehow try to put the cut stem end in water, or press it against a soaking wet cloth first, and then put it in a cloth draw string bag in the crisper drawer. The thing about making the waxed cloth is that it can only be as big as the cookie sheet that you use to melt the wax, so I think it might be a challenge to make one big enough to use on head lettuce. If you have any ideas, let me know.
Incidentally, I bought a new fridge this year, and it has vegetable drawers with an adjustable humidity level, which makes it possible to store vegetables in there naked or in cloth bags and they take longer to dry out. I'm actually enjoying the challenge of keeping food without plastic wrapping. Yesterday I went to a grocery market where they package nearly all the vegetables in small plastic bags first. I asked one of the staff if they had any broccoli that hadn't been bagged yet. She took my cloth bag to the back and brought it back for me filled with broccoli. It was probably fresher, too, and hadn't been cut into small pieces yet.
I don't use clingfilm often (and pre-fire still had a roll of the stuff), but I didn't want to have to buy more, and your tip means I won't. Once I'm back into my home, I'll try it. Would a man's cotton handkerchief make a good base for it?
I wonder about the jojoba and the "tree resin" too! Good to know about the jojoba…maybe it makes the waxed cloth easier to bend and fold while even in a cold refrigerated state? (Rather then crack as i know paraffin wax does)? Also, wondering what type of "tree resin"…of course its a trade secret of Abeego's…but could it be "Tea Tree Oil" (which is antibacterial) ?
Can someone tell me, before I go out and purchase JoJba oil and 1 lb of Beeswax…if the wax will crack when its cold in the frig. If not…then I do not need to purchase jojo right? Tea Tree oil is around $6.99 at Trader Joes…in a glass bottle. A little goes a long way.
The evergreens are also a great source of antibacterial tree resin…pine, spruce etc. And if you have legal access ro Rosinweed, Compass plant, or Dock (tall grass native prairie plants)…they too are very resinous in a medicinal way. In fact…you can use the CLEAN resins of evergreens and these resin plants…for bandages…instead of buying those plasticy things at the store.
What other kinds of antibacterial tree resins are there? I will do some searching in my medicinal book library and let you know. If anyone else has info…please share.
I see someone is asking about where to get "tree resin". Tree resin ….you can buy tea tree oil from places like whole foods and Trader Joes. possibly health food stores too? As for evergreen resins resins…you find an evergreen that the woodpeckers have been punching holes into, or…you cut a small incision into the bark…and let it ooze out.
Did you know also that you can make evergreen tree tea? Its got much more vitamin C then an orange. Evergreens are a great source of antibacterial and healthy uses.
Dear Mary Ann, thanks for the info! I love herbs and local weeds for household uses-- it is so environmentally practical, has no packaging, builds skills and connects me to the earth. I have yellow dock growing in my garden (it has a long taproot, right?) … I would use tea tree oil on the waxed cloth except that I wonder if it would just eventually wash out of the fabric with use, whereas the resin would be sticky and would combine/bind with the beeswax. But perhaps cleaning the cloth in water with a drops of tea tree oil is not a bad idea. Do you have any books in your medicinal plants library that you find most useful-- I am looking for titles to add to my library. I live in the north american short grass prairie region.
You were asking about the wax cracking in the fridge-- you end up shaping the cloth while at room temperature and then place it in the fridge, so it isn't shaped while cold and doesn't crack… I haven't tested my waxed cloth in colder temperatures (the freezer, or a cold room temperature) so I will report back here if I learn anything else about cracking. It would probably be good to compare performance with a cloth made with jojoba.
Jane, thank you. I had thought that when the beeswax (and jojoba) were melted together, that is when the tea tree oil was added. I can't help but think the wax will lock in the oils. So it really would not "wash out. "
Although I do have some books somewhere in a very messy room I can say that much of the knowledge has come to me from volunteers for years at nature centers, Native American Indian museums, and now the 5000 year old tall grass prairie. One gets to know some pretty wise people along life's paths. I am a history buff, and there is no one place I collected info from. Still, if I come across my books…I will certainly post for you and everyone else.
On using native plants for medicinal and cosmetic purposes…I must warn…not to use those that are near roads as those plants collect toxicities from automobiles (lead), and road wash off of salts, and other dangerous chemicals.
Has anyone tried using the abeego cloth or homemade version as a pastry decorating bag? I've been looking for a canvas pastry bag that isn't lined with plastic but can't find one. I have read that you can fold them out of parchment paper, but a single use product doesn't really seem like a solution to me. It started me thinking though that maybe I could fold one out of anything… would abeego stand up to the recurrent abuse of folding and pressure?
I've been comparing waxed wraps lately and am planning to post a review soon. But just want to say right off the bat that to me, Abeego has a strong odor due to the tree resin, so I would be hesitant to put anything in it that might have a delicate flavor that could absorb the Abeego odor. Other cloth wraps might not do that if they have less tree resin.
I have become a hemp fan of recent so hemp be better!
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