The phrases ‘freezer paper’ and ‘wax paper’ are commonly used interchangeably. But as you’re about to find out, these terms are fundamentally different.
Join me as I introduce what freezer paper and wax paper are and the principal differences between the two items.
What Is A Freezer Paper?
A freezer paper is a thick paper coated with plastic or wax on one side. The paper is typically white. But it can also take on a variety of other colors in rare cases.
As the name implies, freezer paper is used to prevent air from penetrating frozen foods. The objective is to protect the food against moisture loss and freezer burn.
Freezer burn is a phenomenon whereby grayish-brown leathery spots appear on food. It results from air making contact with the food surface.
Contrary to popular misconception, freezer burn doesn’t make food unsafe for consumption. The worst it can do is make the food too dry and unsightly in some areas. You can eat the freezer-burned options or cut them away before or after cooking your meat.
However, too much freezer burn can adversely impact meat quality. The burned sections could pose a huge loss to your business if you’re a meat trader. That underscores the significance of investing in quality freezer paper.
What Is A Wax Paper?
A wax paper is a thick paper coated with plastic or wax on both sides. The paper is usually made with food-safe paraffin wax.
Preparing wax paper begins by forcing wax into the tiny pores of tissue paper. Next, the wax is spread over the outside as a coating.
Wax paper is typically used to line dishes that aren’t going into the oven. That’s because the paraffin wax used cannot withstand high oven temperatures. The paper may also help line countertops and tables before kneading bread or rolling out pie crusts to minimize a mess.
Other applications of the wax paper include wrapping food for cold storage and lining a pan before preparing certain delicacies like fudge.
Differences between a Freezer Paper and Wax Paper
The coating is the most significant parameter that differentiates freezer paper from wax paper. As indicated, freezer papers feature a plastic or wax coating on only one side. Wax papers, on the other hand, are coated on both sides with plastic or wax.
The coating material is also a key differentiator between freezer paper and wax paper. Most freezer papers feature a polyethylene coating, while wax papers are usually coated with food-safe paraffin.
Most freezer papers are white or translucent. In rare cases and depending on the dyes used, these papers could also come in various colors. Wax papers are usually brown or white/bleached.
The density of freezer paper and wax paper primarily comes from the manufacturer. However, freezer papers are considerably thicker and heavier than wax papers.
- Physical Properties
Both freezer paper and wax paper are non-stick. In other words, these papers won’t stick to products they come in contact with.
Freezer paper and wax paper are also moisture-resistant. That’s because they’re coated with wax, which is known for its water-repellent properties.
However, there are subtle differences between freezer paper and wax paper regarding their physical properties.
Since freezer papers contain a coating on one side, the coated side is usually non-stick and moisture-resistant. That’s in comparison to wax paper, whose sides can be incredibly non-stick and moisture-repellent. The uncoated side of a freezer paper can be used to write on.
Freezer paper is used primarily for keeping air out of frozen foods. But as you shall find, the product can be improvised to provide various other applications.
Ideally, the frozen foods are wrapped against the waxy side of freezer paper to protect the food’s surface while also preventing moisture loss. The papers reduce moisture loss by keeping the juices from meat and seafood intact. The uncoated outer surface can then be used for writing on or for labeling purposes.
You can also wrap cheese in freezer paper to allow it to breathe. Breathing, regarding food products like cheese, refers to the continuous ripening of the product. This phenomenon mainly relies on moisture retention.
Lastly, you could use freezer paper to do various craft projects. These include quilting and printing on fabric.
However, freezer papers aren’t recommended in the microwave or oven. That’s due to their plastic coating, which would readily melt onto the food. Also, while these products are incredible at keeping air out of frozen goods, they could be more effective when it comes to storing loose food items like corn or peas.
Wax paper is used for lining dishes that aren’t intended for cooking in the oven. That’s because the paraffin wax coating these papers has a relatively low melting point. Therefore, it cannot often withstand high oven temperatures.
Just like freezer paper, wax paper may also offer several benefits besides its primary application. For instance, these papers may line tables or countertops before rolling out pie crusts or kneading bread. This helps prevent the dough from messing up your working area.
You could also use wax paper to line a pan before cooking certain foods, such as fudge. Besides, the product may serve the same purpose as freezer paper – wrapping food for cold storage.
The following are other quirky applications of wax paper;
- Lining the inside of your refrigerator to ease the process of cleaning spills
- Covering a pot while food is cooking in it
- Keeping ice cream fresh and tasty
- Allowing cheese to breathe to prevent it from drying out while also keeping harmful bacteria out
- Making a handy kitchen funnel
- Preventing messy microwave explosions
- Cleaning can openers
- Availability and Popularity
Freezer and wax papers are widely available in supermarkets and baking supply stores.
However, you’re more likely to stumble upon wax papers than freezer papers. That’s understandable, considering wax papers have more utility than freezer papers.
Freezer paper and wax paper are commonly confused for the same thing. These confusions derive from the fact that both products have overlapping utilities. But as we’ve seen throughout this post, freezer papers and wax papers differ significantly on several parameters.