Peek in to your kitchen. We bet the refrigerator is a central feature? It keeps our dairy cool, our soda’s chilled, our ingredients fresh and tasty; it’s certainly something we take for granted. And yet, even a few generations down the family line, people didn’t have fridges. They didn’t even exist.
So how did they store food before refrigeration and plastic?
For hundreds of years, many people stored their food in ‘cold’ rooms such as basements or pantries. While not as effective as a modern fridge, it certainly helped food to last longer. Salting and pickling were also time-tested methods. However, cold environments and preserving in jars couldn’t always prevent food going bad, especially before the mid-1800s, because pasteurisation hadn’t yet been invented and food spoiled very easily and become bacteria ridden, especially when left ‘out in the open’.
There has been one food preservation method that has been popular among many households for generations. Bees wax cloth – such as these by us at Sustomi – has been a popular method for preserving food for thousands of years. The history of waxing fabric for various uses can be traced back to the time of the Egyptians. The first use of beeswax coated fabric being used to preserve food so that it wouldn’t go bad was documented in the early 20th century. This allows vegetables and fruit and other perishable goods to last longer than it would have done had it been left out in the open. Wax coated fabric provided a versatile open for clay and glass vessels.
Their creation is quite a legacy, since we are still using the bees wax cloth method today!
Why are they continually popular today? With the advancement of modern inventions, came one creation that is as un-eco-friendly as anything can get: plastic. When plastic wrap hit the shelves in the late 1940s, it become ‘the’ way to wrap up and preserve food. While it wasn’t well known as the time of its founding, plastic wrap is pretty nasty stuff; it can leak – risking food contamination – and it is one of the worst things on the planet for the environment.
One very popular alternative is an eco-friendly bees wax cloth wrap.
They keep a large range of food fresh and are very easy to apply and wrap. The need to use plastic wrap is eliminated, also saving your pockets. They also make your kitchen, fridge and lunch box so much prettier, which is always a pleasing bonus! With a lifespan of between 6-12 months if looked after properly, they will be a go-to you can rely on every day.
If you’re eco-conscious, a beeswax cloth wrap is the way to go. You can use your reusable wraps for so many great things, from fridge storage and covering a loaf of fresh bread, to wrapping cheese or taking a sandwich to work.
Interested in adding a bees wax cloth wrap to your home? Our beeswax food wraps are available in 4 sizes, and can be purchased in either coloured designs or natural hemp wraps, which are just as lovely as the other (we have a hard time deciding which to use, daily!). We offer different mixed pack varieties, meaning you can have a few of our favourite patterned wraps in your kitchen. Check out our shop, and treat yourself. Happy wrapping!