How much do you know about wax paper?
There are so many different ways to store food that anyone can easily get overwhelmed by all the choices.
Then we have all the conflicting data and information. This is safe. But that is not safe. Store your food that way, but not this way. It is one very confusing and never-ending cycle.
The same thing applies to wax paper. People have been using wax paper for many years. But is that a good thing?
Is wax paper safe for food storage? Wax paper is generally considered safe for freezing and cold food storage. Wax paper should not be exposed to hot food. Storing hot foods in wax paper is not safe as it can melt and burn the wax. Soy wax and beeswax papers are more natural and considered a safer alternative to paraffin wax paper.
I have found a lot of interesting details about the topic of wax paper and food safety. For more detailed information, continue reading below.
What Is Wax Paper?
Wax paper is paper both sides of which are covered with paraffin wax or soybean wax, which are considered a safe food-grade material. The wax coating will prevent food from sticking to the paper, and it also gives the paper better water resistance and water repellent capabilities.
Wax paper has a waxy smell and texture to it, and it is usually semi-transparent.
Can Wax Paper Be Used for Food Storage?
You can store a number of different types of food in wax paper like fruits, vegetables, baked goods, meats, fish, chicken, pastries, sweets, desserts, and so much more.
The wax coating on the wax paper has excellent non-stick capabilities. This is great, especially when storing pastries, desserts, and other foods that tend to stick to paper wraps.
This is why wax paper is frequently used for wrapping sandwiches, cheese, butter, and cold desserts.
Fruits and vegetables can also be stored in wax paper. The moisture retention capabilities of wax paper can help keep the fruits and veggies fresh for longer and slow down their ripening and spoilage rates.
Wax paper usually does not impart any flavors and does not affect the taste of the food which is stored in it.
What Foods Should Not Be Stored in Wax Paper?
However, there are a few definite no-nos when it comes to wax paper.
Wax paper is not temperature resistant. If used for cooking, wax paper, unlike parchment paper, will melt. It usually browns, turns from transparent to opaque, and it can even catch fire.
What is more is wax paper can also start to smoke when subjected to higher temperatures, which can impart waxy, candle-like, smell to your food.
In short – wax paper should not be used for baking.
With that being said, since wax paper is not recommended for hot uses, it should not be used for storing hot food either. The wax can melt and leave wax residue on your food.
- The melting point of paraffin wax is between 120° F and 150° F (48° C to 66° C).
- The melting point of soybean wax is a little higher between 120° F to 180° F (48° C to 82° C).
- The melting point of beeswax is about 144° F to 147° F (62° C to 64° C)
Chewing through wax may not be one of the most pleasant experiences. So, for example, if you have just cooked yourself an omelet and want to store it in a piece of wax paper, it is recommended to wait until it cools down.
Anything that involves high temperatures is a no-go.
Can You Freeze Food in Wax Paper?
On the other hand, wax paper can be used for storing food in the freezer. It will do an excellent job of separating the food and preventing it from sticking together. For example, you can store some bacon or chicken cutlets in between the wax paper, and they will not stick together.
This is where things can get a little complicated, as many of you may know, freezer paper also has a wax coating.
However, wax paper and freezer paper are not the same things. While the wax paper has a wax coating applied to it on both sides, the freezer paper has plastic or wax coating only on one of its sides.
Although it is considered safe to refrigerate and freeze food in wax paper, the food should be stored only short term – no more than a few months.
You can also use wax paper to wrap and store sandwiches. Wax paper will provide good protection against moisture and will still allow the sandwich to breathe. It is a much healthier and safer option than using cling wrap.
For a really cool and neat way of wrapping sandwiches with wax paper, check out this quick video below:
What Other Uses Are There for Wax Paper?
Wax paper has many different uses.
It is frequently used for lining and protecting tables and countertops when rolling out dough, pie crusts, decorating, dusting, pounding meat, sifting dry ingredients, kneading bread, measuring, shredding and mixing ingredients, and so much more.
Conversely, wax paper can also be used in the microwave to prevent food splatters as it tends to fare better than plastic wraps, which could be dangerous and unsafe when heated.
Is Wax Paper Toxic?
However, using the word ‘wax’ can bring up the wrong connotations. Not all wax paper is created equal. In general, two types of wax are used for the making of wax paper: paraffin and soybean wax. These are very different and should not be confused with beeswax.
Is Paraffin Wax Paper Toxic?
Paraffin wax is made in refineries, and it is a by-product of crude oil refinement.
Paraffin wax paper is not considered toxic. Although not all types of paraffin wax may be food-safe, people have used paraffin wax in the past for culinary purposes too. And interestingly enough, it is categorized as a food preservative.
There is a lot of controversy around using paraffin wax candles, and some reports stated that they could release toxic chemicals when melting or burning.
Is Soybean Wax Paper Toxic?
With all that being said, the other type of wax paper – namely the soybean wax paper – is looking like a lot more natural and safe option.
Soybean wax is derived from soybeans, and it is hydrogenated soy oil. It is a natural product that does not contain any artificial or toxic chemicals. However, just like paraffin wax, not all types of soybean wax are food safe either.
The problem comes from the fact that manufacturers can use additional chemicals and ingredients to alter the properties of the soybean wax, and there is no way of being sure if these additives are food-safe.
Conversely, soybean wax made from pure soy is considered to be food-safe, biodegradable, clean, and non-toxic.
Some of the Best Selling to consider:
- Reynolds Wrap Cut-Rite Wax Paper - 75 sq ft - 2 pk
- Measures: 6" x 6" / 15cm x 15cm
- For cooks, bakers and candy makers, wax paper is the secret weapon for keeping food from sticking. Lined with a thin layer of wax on each side, wax...
- Moisture-proof and nonstick, wax paper won’t stick to fresh foods or freeze to meat. Ideal for preparing hamburgers and filets for easy separation.
- This package contains 50 Reynolds kitchens wax paper sandwich bags measuring 6 inches x 7-13/16 inches, opening to 2-3/4 inches wide
- Perfect for sandwiches, snacks, treats and party favors, these sandwich bags are great for giving food-based gifts like homemade cookies and candies
- Containing 50% unbleached fibers and free of elemental chlorine, these responsibly sourced paper bags are a sandwich bag you can feel good about
Last update on 2021-07-16 at 09:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What Alternatives Are There to Wax Paper for Food Storage?
Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax food wraps are probably one of the best alternatives to wax paper when it comes to storing food.
Beeswax is an excellent, pure, and completely natural product that is safe for food storage. Beeswax also has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
It can easily be used for storing fruits, vegetables, bread, sandwiches, cheese, or seal containers with food.
The only downside to beeswax food wraps is that it should not be used with hot foods in the oven or the microwave, and it is also not recommended to store raw meat, chicken, or fish in it.
Dry Wax Paper
Dry wax paper is a variety of the standard wax paper.
Dry wax paper still suffers from the same cons of wax paper and should generally not be used in the oven for baking food.
Dry wax paper is usually made from Kraft paper. It goes through a process that drives the wax deep into the paper, which makes the surface of the paper free from any wax residue.
And although it retains the same moisture repellent capabilities of standard wax paper, dry wax paper will not leave any wax residue on the food.
Sandwich Wrap Paper is frequently made from dry wax paper.
Parchment paper is one of the most commonly used types of paper in cooking and baking. Its sides are covered with silicon or Quilon. These materials give parchment paper superior heat resistance and also make it non-stick and greaseproof.
However, these capabilities also make parchment paper a reasonably good option for storing food and for freezing.
Butcher paper is a lot thicker and best used with greasy, sticky, messy foods – usually meats, chicken, seafood, burgers, cutlets, sausages, ribs, etc.
Keep in mind that not all butcher’s paper is FDA approved and may not meet the minimum food-safety requirements.
Freezer paper is somewhere in the middle between parchment paper and wax paper. It has wax or plastic coating only on one of its sides.
It is best used for storing meats, fish, and chicken. It does a better job of retaining the moisture and juices of the food and protecting it from freezer burn.
Freezer paper is designed with freeze storage in mind. This is why usually you can store frozen food in it for longer compared to the standard wax paper.
The waxed side should be the one that is on the inside, touching the food. Since the exterior side does not have any coating, it can be written on or labeled or even taped down.
Kraft paper at first glance may seem like your everyday butcher paper. However, it is not the same thing. Kraft paper and Butcher paper are made from the same materials. However, the difference comes in how they have been processed.
While Butcher paper is usually FDA-approved for handling food, Kraft paper may not always be. Also, Kraft paper is not as durable and does not have the same moisture repellent and moisture resistance capabilities of Butcher paper.
Any cheese connoisseur will tell you that cheese cannot be stored in just any type of paper. However, frequently we may find that Butcher paper and Kraft paper are used for storing cheese. But this is not the best type of paper for storing cheese.
Cheese paper has some interesting qualities. One of its sides is coated with wax, and the other side is covered with thin porous plastic.
This allows oxygen to circulate while keeping the moisture from escaping or evaporating, and at the same time, it will keep condensation to a minimum.
Aluminum foil is widely used for cooking and food storage.
However, many people may be concerned whether or not aluminum foil may be dangerous.
Aluminum foil is usually not dangerous; however, it may lead to increased aluminum intake in one’s diet. If you have any concerns about the aluminum intake in your diet, it is recommended to use a different material for storing food.