Bees are great. They pollinate our crops, they create honey, and they might even hold a solution for reducing plastic wrap in your kitchen!
First published in the 16 August 2018 edition of the Baw Baw Citizen.
Lorraine Downie of Buln Buln has been a busy bee working with beeswax. For almost two years years now she has been creating and selling beeswax wraps and bags for use in the kitchen. These take the place of cling wrap and plastic bags, which are not only terrible for the environment, but also make your food degrade quickly.
We caught up with Lorraine at the Yarragon Craft & Produce Market to find out how it all works.
“The advantage is it’s a recycled cotton fabric, coated with just pure beeswax with no additives, and the idea is the beeswax breathes and keeps fruit and vegetables fresh, bread soft, and mould away,” Lorraine said.
“You can use them on containers to seal your leftovers, or your can of dog food, or you can wrap sandwiches. Cut fruit, avocado, you just wrap it and it stays fresher.”
Wait, so a breathable bag is good for your bread and veg? That might come as a surprise to many who have grown up in this age of plastics.
“It keeps food fresher because it does breathe, so the moisture in the food stays in the food,” Lorraine explained.
“In paper it could dry out, in plastic it could go soggy and mouldy. The beeswax wrap just breathes for it and keeps fruit and veggies a lot fresher.
“It also stops the ends from drying out and keeps the crust soft, and is even great for cheese, stopping it going mouldy.
What’s surprising is just how well the upcycled cotton and beeswax moulds to what you wrap it around. It doesn’t work like cling wrap does, instead the beeswax softens from the heat of your hands enough for you to shape a wrap around the top of a bowl.
Unsurprisingly, these wraps and bags have a pretty identifiable (but lovely) smell of beeswax. While the wax is a key part of the products, you’re not putting a bag down with your fingers covered in the stuff. The wax has to be well integrated into the fabric.
“We just melt the beeswax and then continually brush it on. Have it in the oven, take it out, brush the wax until it’s smooth.
“These can last indefinitely. If they begin to get a little bit worn, you can refresh them by putting them between some baking paper under a warm iron which remelts the wax.
“The wraps and bags are becoming more and more popular. People are more conscious of not using plastics, but also keeping their fruit and veggies fresher for longer.”
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