When I first started making my own beeswax food wraps, one of the suggestions I received was to choose organic fabric for it to be food safe. I can’t agree more, homemade products have the best reputation for quality when everything thing is made with love. So I went in search of organic cotton in People’s Park Complex to make my FOURTH batch of food wraps. Funny that this item was marketed to replace the use of disposable cling wrap, something that I hardly use in the kitchen previously. However, after making these food wraps of different sizes, I realized that they are kind of useful around the house, and this is my version 4.0. Yes, I tweak something slightly after every batch.
Version 3.0 saw me making natural dyes with food to dye the fabrics at home. The latest batch that I am making is intended for wrapping cooked food, there is something uneasy about reusing the same wrap for raw ingredients like onion halves on a bread bun. I am always running out of the bigger A4 sized wraps anyway. So I bought $4 worth of cotton fabric that is food grade according to the textile shop owner. People have been buying these for making tofu, milking hot soy milk and liner for steaming hot buns and dim sum dishes. Sounds food grade enough.
When it comes to natural dyes, I only have luck with yellow and red/pink so far. The last blue dye I tried making with blue butterfly pea flower faded away totally after just a wash. This time, I tried boiling the fabric in pandan leaves to create pastel green shade. Sadly, it was a waste of time (and gas) when I realize that the green color did not stay a bit on the fabric after one rinse. Even the cloth I used to squeeze pandan juice to make kaya jam stained better.
And so it was back to just yellow and pink. For more colors, this site has a comprehensive list of natural dyes, I simply use the ingredients I have in my kitchen and must not be too expensive since the dye is to be discarded after the project.
Here’s the variation I made to my 4th version: after the beeswax wraps have air dried, I hand sewn cloth labels to differentiate the sides so that same side always goes towards the food. Just like commercial beeswax wraps, there will be a side with prints that will be the facing outside.
A very quick run down on how I treat and dye my fabric before turning them into turmeric yellow color beeswax food wraps:
Step 1 : Trim the fabric to sizes for beeswax wraps.
Step 2 : Handwash with mild detergent and air dry. Cloth seller mentioned avoiding laundry detergent.
Step 3 : To make turmeric yellow dye, fill up half a small saucepan with water and add 1 tall heap teaspoon turmeric powder, stir to mix well. If you want brighter, deeper shade, add more turmeric powder. Bring the solution to boil and add 1 heap teaspoon of salt.
Step 4 : Wet the fabric and wring dry before adding it into the yellow dye. Boil for 5 minutes, turn off the fire and let it soak until the water cools to room temperature.
Step 5 : Remove fabric from dye solution and rinse in cool water. Air dry and press with an iron.
Step 6 : Line a tray with parchment paper, place the fabric on top. Sprinkle beeswax evenly and melt the beeswax in a preheated oven at 150C for 2-3 minutes.
Step 7 : Once all the beeswax has melted, take out the tray, add 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil, spread the oil and melted beeswax evenly on the fabric using a brush with short bristles.
Step 8 : If more beeswax is required, top up and send it back into the oven, but keep a watchful eye on the oven as beeswax is flammable.
Step 9 : Remove fabric from parchment paper and air dry for 1 minute.
Step 10 : Rinse the beeswax wrap with mild detergent once and air dry again before the first usage.
Step 11: (Optional) Sew a cloth label on one side of the wrap so you will know which side always goes towards the food.
For the record, my $4 fabric was made into 9 pieces of beeswax food wraps of various dimensions.