My observation about wax

GeneTheNewGuyAugust 1, 2012

I notice that every place selling canning supplies also has those boxes of Gulf Wax on the same shelf.

If you're not supposed to seal up the jelly in the jar with wax, then why do they sell it? If it's unsafe, why do they sell it? Just because people will buy it and they will make money anyway?

Thanks

Gene

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It isn't exactly that it is unsafe - molds are the only real concern with the high acid fruit jellies it was used on. It just isn't recommended and hasn't been for many years.

But just as many still insist on doing things their own way despite the guidelines and refuse to change, some still insist on using wax.

The "if-it-was-good-enough-for-grandma-it's-good-enough-for-me" and the "no-one-has-died-from-it-yet" schools of thought are still around in the world of home food preservation. You have seen it on YouTube. :)

Plus it does have some uses in crafts and candle-making.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Who wants melted petroleum on their food ? Not me !
There is no vacuum seal, it lets air in, that can mold. It has pinholes in it, that lets in air. Just outdated and not a good idea.
Can't ship jars of jelly that way, either.

They make and sell steam canners, too, that we do not deem safe to use.

What about all the unsafe info in books, online, etc. ?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:05PM
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malna

I still have a box - haven't used wax in a while (never for preservation purposes), but I used it more for decorative packaging. For instance, one year, I got some wine glasses from the thrift store for 5 cents apiece, filled them with cranberry chutney, sealed the tops with a thin layer of wax and decorated the top for the Christmas table.

It was definitely just for "show" at dinner, but they were very pretty - and a couple of guests enjoyed the memories of trying to get the wax off (yes, they ate it and lived to tell about it)!

So I think it's really more for crafts these days, but people still do seal their jams and jellies with it. Besides, I wouldn't know where to look for it in the store if it wasn't with the canning supplies!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:41AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I thanked my lucky stars when we quit using paraffin. Heating that wax and pouring it is an accident waiting to happen. Messy and unreliable.

However, it isn't a safety issue. I do know of those who use paraffin with old glasses and jars that don't work with conventional lids. Nice for gifting when you want something "different" and fine for the short term.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:36PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I should have mentioned also it makes a very nice seal for a cork in a bottle of homemade raspberry vinegar. Pretty and classy.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:38PM
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kriswrite(zone 8)

Sometimes people seal herbs (usually medicinal) in canning jars with wax, too.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:37PM
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cannond

Actually, I will use paraffin for a blackberry jam. I have a wide vase given to my great-grandmother on the occasion of her wedding in 1905. It was a gift from her grandfather and filled with wild blackberry jam. She gave it to her daughter on her wedding day, and so-on, down to me.

Since it isn't a safety issue, I plan on carrying the tradition to my daughter when she marries. I hope she will treasure it as I have done.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:46PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Considering the age of the vase and your sentimental attachment, I'd probably make the jam, let it cool somewhat to avoid thermal shock to the glass and cover the surface of the jam with a piece of waxed paper or parchment cut to fit the opening. It could then be covered with decorative fabric over the top tied with a ribbon from which a hang tag or card is suspended.

I just wouldn't risk hot preserves and paraffin with that old glass. It would be heartbreaking if it cracked.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Image of Raspberry Jam with Wax Paper Disc

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:09PM
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cannond

This is a splendid idea, Carol. The Honeymoon Jam Tradition should continue unabated.
Deborah

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 1:58PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You may want to gift your daughter with a little instruction note so that when she too passes on the vase it will remain as pristine as ever.

What a lovely tradition.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:56PM
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calliope(6)

I switched over from paraffin some time around 1980, I guess. The reason was that I started sending jellies and jams through the mail, and obviously needed a good, tight seal. My mother was taught by home economists back when she was a teenager to use a paraffin seal on them, and she never gave up that habit, really. She also, without fail when she saw me processing my jams tell me that I could use paraffin. LOL. I think about the last year or so she was alive, she stopped championing it. I know there was also a time when it was recommended to invert hot jars of jelly with lids, to create a seal, but they were still not processed.

To me, it was just as easy to process them, as mess with melting wax. When you have the knack of it, it actually does give a decent seal. Her jams rarely failed in the pantry and molded. However, mine seemed to shrink away from the edges of the jars and molded more often. I still have her jelly jars with press on lids, meant to use with wax.

I also still have a brick or two of wax in my cupboards. It is considered safe if you consume it, btw. It's used in some chocolate candy making to make the outer coat of the candies stiff and shiny. It's also the same wax you'd find on waxed paper (I use it in baking) and on cheese wheels. Obviously you don't often find mold under the wax on cheese wheels, so it does do a respectable job of coating the product. The few times I have used it for putting something up have been when I make marmalades at Christmastime. I like to use small stoneware crocks one often finds cheese food in, with a lid, rubber ring and wire bails. I don't expect folks to store it long-term, but we eat it during the holidays to use up the Christmas oranges so they don't waste. So those of my family who like marmalade get a crock of it, for their crumpets or toast, and it has a wax barrier on the top. That's the only time I do that.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:37PM
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