Jul 5, 2010 at 8:25 am #1260835
I'm mailing a resupply package that I won't pick up for two weeks. I'd like to include a wedge of hard cheese and a whole dry salami. I've heard that these things can be made to keep better if you coat them in wax. Can anyone tell me more about how to do this?
-Where do you buy wax? Is there wax that's safe for use on food and wax that isn't?
-I'm imagining melting some fairly large quantity of wax in a saucepan coated with aluminum foil…?
-It seems like it would be impossible to submerge the whole salami unless it was a really huge pot filled with a gigantic quantity of wax. Should I try to dip one end at a time? I guess I could cut it in half, but it seems like then I'd be breaking the skin, which should serve as a natural barrier against less benign organisms.
-BenJul 5, 2010 at 8:42 am #1626312
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I've used only medical grade or food grade parrafin wax. Years ago this was used to seal the top of jars of jams and jellies. So, the only stores that sell it are the ones that sell jelly jars and that sort of thing for cooks. A few really good grocery stores have parrafin in 2-pound blocks.
You have to heat it properly. If you heat it very carefully in a normal single sauce pan, you can get away with that. However, if you overheat it, the thing catches fire and smokes up the kitchen or burns down the house. Double boilers are safer.
Obviously it will take a larger pan to be able to dip a large item. Maybe start with a smaller item. I've never dipped anything larger than 6 oz.
–B.G.–Jul 5, 2010 at 9:16 am #1626316
Thanks, Bob — much appreciated!
-BenJul 5, 2010 at 9:37 am #1626319
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
A good tip on melting wax is use an empty/clean food can and then make it into a double boiler. Way less clean up! :-)
You can use paraffin – sold near canning items usually in most grocery stores or beeswax. Both are fine.Jul 5, 2010 at 11:49 am #1626342
Thanks, all, for the info! I just waxed my salamis (does that sound vaguely obscene?), and will record a few things here in case it might be helpful to others.
My grocery store didn't have paraffin, but the hardware store did (with the canning supplies). They sell it in 1-lb packages, each of which contains four 1/4-lb pieces. I rigged a double boiler, melted 1/2 lb of paraffin, and then poured it into a bread pan lined with aluminum foil. Rolled each salami in the bread pan the way you do with corn on the cob. Let each one cool, then put on another coat. For this amount of food, I could have probably gotten away with a single 1/4-lb block of paraffin. I took the paraffin off the stove when it had just barely finished melting, and I was able to handle the salamis without getting my fingers burned. (Wikipedia says the melting point is only 47-64 C (116-147 F).
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