Holly Hardwick sells honey and maple syrup from Northwoods Nectar, her store in Eagle Lake. The honey comes from Aroostook Valley Honey Farm, and when a beekeeper there asked her if she wanted some raw beeswax, Hardwick got to thinking. And researching: Beeswax candles? Too ordinary. Beeswax wrap? Bingo.

She learned about the latter online – how some beekeepers were making such wrappers as a way to store food in place of ubiquitous plastic wrap.

“I thought, what a great idea to remove plastic from our lives and use something that’s naturally given to us,” Hardwick said.

She taught herself how to make them. A food wrapper made entirely from melted beeswax tends to flake and look worn. To make the wrapper more pliable, Hardwick learned to add jojoba oil and pine resin, which, serendipitously, adds antibacterial components, too. She then pours the wax into small molds until she is ready to use it. At that point, Hardwick lays cotton fabric on a lightly warmed, large griddle, then adds a block of beeswax. As the wax melts, she spreads it over the cloth, and the beeswax permeates the fabric. “You’re coating it completely,” she said.

Though you can’t see the contents of what you’re storing, Hardwick’s wraps come in such cheery patterns, if you’re like us, you won’t care. The wraps can be used for sandwiches, vegetables, cheese, and covering leftover dishes. Because the wax has a low melting point, the warmth of your hands will seal the wrap around the food.

Hardwick advises keeping the wraps away from raw meat. “Those juices would absorb in the fabric,” she said, “and that’s something that you can’t get out without disinfection.”

If they’re taken care of and cleaned properly in lukewarm, soapy water, the wraps will last for up to a year. Don’t soak them in hot water or they’ll melt.

Hardwick’s wraps, labeled Bees Wrap Eat, cost $15 for a set of three. The large wrap is big enough to cover a 9X13 casserole dish; the medium wrap measures 14X14; and the small snack size is 12X12. Find them at Morris Farms in Wiscasset, the Natural Living Center in Bangor, Bouchard’s Country Store in Fort Kent, Misty Meadows Organic Farm in Grand Isle, and of course Northwoods Nectar. Also, Hardwick accept orders by phone (231-2265) or email at [email protected]

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