Can't afford beeswax wraps? Here is a cheat to make your own cheap reusable food wraps that are versatile, washable and a convenient alternative to cling wrap.
I can't really justify purchasing beeswax wraps yet and haven't had time to make my own, I'm starting to think I never will (First world problems hey!). Plus, on big problem I have with them is that once washed in hot water, the beeswax begins to melt, requiring them to be recoated. This makes it a poor option for meats and cheeses among other foods, particularly if you want to ensure good food hygiene.
I stumbled across these reusable IKEA food bags and have used them occasionally for bulk bin shopping as well as meat, cheese, fruit and other foods I don't want exposed to fridge air and germs. BUT they need washing and trying to wash, rinse and dry internally and externally is a bit awkward. The ziplock feature is definitely handy but I prefer to be able to wrap a variety of foods (and shapes of foods).
These bags are made of bio plastic, BPA free and are both reusable and recyclable. They can obviously be used to freeze foods and although they can't handle hot food, warm food up to 50 degrees is safe. I can't remember how much these cost but I think it was less than $5 for a pack of 30, which included 2 different sizes. I'm comfortable using this type of plastic on my food as it won't be heated and is a short term method to keep food fresh and clean.
How to Make the Food Wrap
Step 1. Cut the bag at each side seam to make a flat plastic sheet. For smaller wraps, cut along the entire seam, or cut to various sizes for the items you regularly wrap. This can be also now be used as a bowl or food cover too. To make a longer baking tray size, just use the zip lock feature to attach additional plastic sheets.
Step 2. Wrap the food and if needed ,secure with sting or a rubber band.
Here's a block of cheese snugly wrapped, as the block becomes smaller, the wrap can adapt. Once the cheese is gone, it will get a wash and be reused.
Step 3. Wash in hot soapy water after each use, rinse and dry.
After many uses the plastic may become cloudy. Just rinse in a weak vinegar and water solution.
Although soft plastic is something we are trying to avoid, I love that these can be reused many many times and when they eventually wear out, they can be recycled.
Some Examples of foods you can wrap:
Melons, Cucumber and other fruits
Pumpkin and some vegetables
Cakes, slices, bread, and other baked goods
Cooked and raw meats including fish
Leftovers and Snacks
Mug, bowl and container covers
Use in place of freezer 'go-between' plastic
(Remember - do not use for hot food!)
I'm sure there are heaps more uses than what I have listed above. What could you see yourself using these for? Do you think you could replace a lot of your cling wrap and maybe even foil with this simple hack?
If you're looking for more non-disposable options, check out these posts:
How To Freeze Cake Plastic Free
12 Alternatives to Cling-Wrap
Zero Waste Baking
Or head on over to the Zero Waste Page