Several years ago I received a set of these amazing reusable zip bags from It’s Sew Kara, a company in Courtenay and Victoria BC Canada. Two years later, these well-used bags are still going strong in our kitchen. When I heard that Kara and Cheryl had created a new product, I was so excited to get involved with their project.
This new project was their first line of Beeswax Wraps. These wraps are made from 100% cotton fabric inundated with melted beeswax made locally in Comox Valley.
If you are like my husband asking “what are they for?” don’t feel left out. These handy wraps are designed to replace disposable plastic food wrap. The beeswax wraps are reusable, washable and should last 6-12 months (I would like to see plastic wrap do that!)
My pack of three includes one large wrap, one medium wrap and one snack pouch which is about the size of a traditional zip style sandwich bag. When I opened the package I was greeted with the wonderful fragrance of beeswax and was delighted by the pattern that was chosen for me. Although fairly rigid when I first pulled them out, they quickly became malleable with the heat of my hands yet without leaving a waxy residue behind.
These wraps are fantastic for bowls of leftovers, salads (who wouldn’t want to take one of these bad boys to a potluck?!) cut veggies and fruit and snacks. So far I have used them for all of the above including wrapping my wedge of Parmesan cheese in one where the existing waxed paper wouldn’t suffice.
Cleaning is a breeze too. Just some gentle soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps) and lukewarm water to clean them up. Hang to dry or like me lean them up in the dish drying rack (mine are still quite firm.) According to Kara and Cheryl, their wraps will show signs of aging eventually, but that is not the end of the wraps. To “refresh” them you simply place them on a baking sheet on parchment paper and bake in the oven at 180º F for 1-2 minutes to redistribute the waxes.
I feel as though this goes without saying, however I should remind my readers that beeswax wraps of any kind are not tolerant of heat. So do not (I repeat Do Not) put them in the microwave or on hot surfaces like a glasstop stove unless you want some hot melty waxy mess to clean up.
Although I feel like my regular readers are aware of the perils of plastic wrap on human health and the health of the environment, I think it is worth discussing yet again.
Plastic’s traditionally are softened with a chemical called phthalates which makes them malleable during production. And in recent years, governments across the world have sought to eliminate the most harmful of them from our food storage products like water bottles and plastic wrap. However, eliminating BPA and BPA’s, if I may summarize a great saying in the stunning documentary film Plastic Oceans, that
“eliminating BPA and BPS from our lives is like arresting Al Capone and expecting that all organized crime will be forever gone.”
These two phthalates are just two of thousands of harmful chemicals found in plastic products. Additionally, a study by Liberte Environmental Associates and Biotech Research and Consulting found that within the state of Washington through government authorized industrial discharge permits
Metals, PAHs, phthalates and PCHs can be attached to permitted levels of effluent suspended solids in proportions about 33,000 to 6,250,000 times greater than safe levels for organisms. Additionally, PAHs, phthalates and PCHs may also be contained in authorized oil and grease discharges at levels about 400 to 670,000 times greater than presumably safe levels.
The researchers went on to describe the effects of bioaccumulation of these harmful chemicals to local fish species such as Chinook salmon and how the chemicals retard the fishes abilities in growing and developing normally contributing to their populations steady decline. Additionally, we are already very well aware of the harmful effects that bioaccumulation has on humans and fetal development, including hormone disruptions, kidney damage and infertility.
So on that dreary note: let’s discuss what positive steps we can take to eliminate toxins from plastic from our environment.
First and foremost the easiest and most obvious step is to stop buying plastic wrap. It is literally the first place to start because if you have it in your kitchen, you will use it.
So your next question is “What do I do with the half onions or peppers?” We personally use a combination of Anchor brand glass food storage containers, our beeswax wraps from It’s Sew Kara and parchment paper/elastic bands or butcher twine. I have yet to ever have a moment in my kitchen where I cry out “man I wish I had plastic wrap” in literally 4 years.
“But what about microwaving food? What about splatters?” you say. I say use a plate. Yes a plate. Get a spare plate out, flip it over and use that to cover your bowls of soup or pasta leftovers. The last thing you want to do is heat plastic wrap with your food (especially oily foods) because they are more prone to leaching that way.
“What about meats and cheese?” Well we use both parchment paper and our beeswax wraps to store those smellier foods. The envelope style wrap I have is now dedicated to my cheddars and does a great job in keeping the crusty edge at bay. As for meats, if we are marinating, I just choose to do it in a Pyrex container with a lid. Easy peasy.
I know it’s kind of a tough love mentality, but once you take a convenience item out of your life it really does force you to get creative and use the existing items in your house. For example, we don’t use paper towels in our house (a paperless kitchen post is on its way by the the way). We use bar mops. Yep. Good old fashioned washable cotton bar mops. Seems embarrassingly simple right?
Anyway everyone, I really appreciate you all taking the time out of your schedules to read our little blog. If you like what you read, please show your support by sharing this post with your social media and by visiting our partner It’s Sew Kara!