I cook and bake a lot, so our fridge is usually full of food and fresh ingredients waiting to be used. I do my absolute best to make our kitchen as environmentally friendly as possible, so I choose not to use tin foil or cling film (plastic wrap) to keep it all fresh, but beeswax covers. They are handy, versatile, last very long and you can make them as beautiful as you want. I have tested store-bought covers, but I find them quite pricey, so I decided to make my own. It is much easier than you might think!
Generally, every health store beeswax is suitable for making your beeswax covers, but the finer it is, the easier it will be to spread it evenly. From my experience, the whiter sort which has been pre-exposed to air and light beforehand, is more flexible and sticky afterwards. If you can find white, very fine wax, it is definitely the best for this.
Yellow beeswax in a lentil shape will also be fine, it just a little more difficult to work. First of all, it takes more time to spread it evenly and the covers made with it are slightly stiffer. Also, if you opt for this sort of wax, you may want to avoid fabrics without white elements, because they will get yellowish.
Wrapping in a beeswax cover is a little different than using more traditional (and disposable) materials. First of all, wrap slowly. The warmth of your hands will make the wax sticky. Also, remember that the covers will not stick to the dish, but to itself, so wrapping around dishes requires folding it around the edges of the dish to fashion a tight lid from it. Pieces of food, such as block of cheese, wrap as if you were using a piece of paper.
When the covers get dirty, simply wipe them or rinse them with lukewarm water and dry. Be careful so the water is not too hot, or it will rinse off some of the wax.
Whether you buy or make your covers, after few uses, you will notice that the wax gets whitish and a little crumbly. Do not fret at all, they are still good! It is enough to warm them up a little and refresh the wax layer. The best way is to put them in your oven as per instructions below. There is usually no need to add more wax, the one already used will return to its original state. You can even put them in the sun in summer and on a hot radiator in winter, instead using the oven.
If you think the layer of wax has become a little too thin (it may rub off little when you use the covers often), simply add a little wax on top (not too much, there is already a lot inside of the fabric) and repeat the making steps.
Finally, store your beautiful beeswax covers neatly folded in a reusable, ziplock bag.
You will need:
✽ few pieces of thin, 100% cotton fabric cut to sizes you need
✽ natural beeswax
✽ parchment paper
Cut few pieces of fabric in shapes and sizes you need. I prefer square pieces, each in different size. Think of dishes you cover the most and adjust the size to them.
Heat the oven to about 50-60ºC. Do not make it too hot, it will burn the wax instead of melting it.
Line your baking tray with parchment paper, neatly place the fabric on it and sprinkle it very evenly with wax. Make space for melted wax, so if you are using larger pieces of wax, you will need to use less of it. After few minutes, when all the wax has melted, take the fabric out and see if there are any unwaxed spots left. Turn the fabric and, if needed, sprinkle some more wax where it is missing. Make sure the whole piece is covered throughly and evenly. It is best to use as little wax as possible to cover the whole fabric including all edges.
Do it few times until you see that the fabric is thoroughly covered with wax. When it is ready, lift it up to set and cool down. It will only take few seconds. If you are not happy with it after it has cooled down (too much, too little, or the wax is not even), it is enough to put it back into the oven, rectify it and cool it down again. It can be repeated as many times as needed. After you are happy with the result, cool it down again and set it aside.
Take the second piece and first put it on parchment paper with remaining wax on it. Once it absorbs the leftover wax, add some more and repeat all necessary steps.
Repeat until all the pieces are ready.