Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I buy a lot of cheese because I entertain often. I save what's left to make Fromage Fort for Christmas Eve. It's a French method of using up little bits of a variety of leftover cheese and turning them into a cheese spread.
Storing leftover cheese for a couple of weeks without drying it out can be tricky. The cheese needs to be able to breathe a little bit, but not too much. This year, I found that using Beebagz, plastic-free baggies coated with beeswax, worked very well with the cheese. I was sent samples of Beebagz to try.
These bags aren't the only beeswax-coated food storage product. There are similar types of food wraps on the market that come in sheets. Beebagz is the first to make a bag out this material, a bag that can replace many of the zipper-type, disposable plastic bags used in kitchens regularly.
How they work
Beebagz are made of 100 percent cotton material coated with beeswax, jojoba oil and a tree resin that's used as a binding agent to keep the the beeswax from flaking off the cloth. They're 100 percent biodegradable. According to the company, you can bury one of the bags in your backyard, and in one year there wouldn't be a trace of the bag left.
They can take the place hundreds of plastic baggies each year. They're also self-sealing. The heat from your hands creates a seal when you fold the top of the bag over and run your pinched fingers over it.
Although they're self-sealing, I wouldn't use them for liquids. Most other foods are fair game. They can go in the refrigerator or the freezer (and the lunchbox). Depending on how often you use them, you can get years of use out of one Beebagz. You'll know it's time to replace a bag when it stops sticking to itself and doesn't self-seal anymore.
Care and cleaning
The bags can be reused over and over if you wash them properly. After each use, Beebagz should be washed by hand with cold or cool water. You can use a soft soap if you need to, but they don't need to be scrubbed hard. Beeswax is naturally antibacterial.
As for the bags picking up smells from other foods, the bag that I stored blue cheese in didn't smell at all, even after holding the stinky cheese for over a week.
The cost and the savings
A starter pack of Beebagz — one in each of the three sizes offered — costs $22.37 USD (it's a Canadian company but they ship to the U.S.). That may seem like a bit of an investment for three bags, but this is one of those products that will eventually pay for itself over time since you won't be buying as many disposable bags.
This is about more than financial savings. There's also an environmental impact. Beebagz work well to keep food fresh and prolong the life of food stored in them, helping your food budget stretch further and combating food waste.
According to Beebagz, there are 500 billion single-use bags used every year globally, or 1 million bags every minute, many of them plastic food storage bags that are thrown away after one use. Those bags will be clogging our landfills, filling our oceans and littering our landscape for hundreds of years. Beebagz, and other similar beeswax wraps, can replace many of those food storage bags. When it's time for them to be disposed of, they will biodegrade.
I rarely use disposable plastic zipper bags to store food, opting for reusable glass or plastic containers instead. I was really impressed with how well the Beebagz kept my cheese, though. I will definitely be using these bags consistently in my kitchen, and I'm considering purchasing more of them or other similar beeswax coated wraps so I can store a variety of fresh foods in them.