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Since the microwave oven made its appearance on the public market in the 1970s, it has changed the way most people in developed nations prepare their food.
As opposed to cooking with heat on a stovetop, this device warms up organic material by passing radiation through it.
The result? Shorter cooking times.
By using a microwave, you can put a full meal on the dinner table in just a matter of minutes. However, just like its stovetop counterpart, there are 10 do’s and don’ts of microwave cooking.
Foodal recommends 250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes
1. Read and follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. The manual is a wealth of information you’ll need to know for safe, healthy cooking, including operating procedures and safety warnings.
2. Read and follow the instructions on prepackaged foods you’re going to cook or reheat. Undercooking food in a microwave can leave you with cold, tasteless items that contain harmful bacteria. On the other hand, overcooking food makes it tough, rubbery, and inedible.
3. Use microwave-safe containers to cook or heat food or liquids. Suitable plates and containers are usually marked or stamped on the bottom. For safety’s sake, if you’re unsure whether a bowl, dish, or plate is microwave safe, don’t use it.
Or, if the plate or container is made of glass, you can perform a test if you’re pretty sure it’s safe: place it in the oven and “nuke” it for one minute. Then, touch it. If it’s lukewarm to the touch or it feels cool, it should be safe. But if the container is warm, don’t use it in your microwave oven.
4. Clean the inside of the door and the cavity after every use. This will prevent food and spatters from becoming cooked onto the surface, making it easier to clean. Keeping your oven clean will also remove germs and unhealthy bacteria that can pollute foods and liquids you place inside it.
5. Use caution when you open a bag, box, or other container that’s been cooked or heated up. Because the container was closed, or even partially closed, scalding steam can build up inside it.
Here’s a bonus for you– if you’re not sure what the wattage of your oven is, then do the water test. Pour a cup of water into a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Heat the cup on high heat until the water boils.
If it takes less than three minutes for the water to boil, then your oven is about 600 to 700 watts. If it takes three or four minutes, then your oven is 500 to 600 watts. And if it takes the water in the cup more than four minutes to boil, your oven has a power of less than 500 watts.
1. Use plastic containers such as salad boxes, margarine bowls, whipped topping containers, and the like. The plastic can melt, and even contaminate the food or liquid inside.
2. Place metal objects into a microwave oven, because this can produce dangerous sparks. This includes aluminum foil, serving and eating utensils, pots, pans, and plates, bowls, or dishes that have a metallic trim on them.
3. Cook or defrost foods such as beef, pork, poultry, hot dogs, and so on while they’re still in their original containers. Remove plastic wrapping, foam trays, and other packaging before you place food items in your oven.
4. Turn your appliance on if it’s empty. Since there is no food or liquid to absorb the energy that’s produced, the magnetron tube can be damaged.
5. Try to use your appliance for cooking if a) the door won’t close properly. b) the door is bent or warped. c) the latch is broken or faulty. Call for professional service or replace the unit if any of these conditions exist.
Mug Cakes: 100 Speedy Microwave Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth is another great recipe book to add to your collection.
And here’s a bonus tip for new mothers or mothers-to-be:
Don’t heat a bottle full of baby formula or breast milk up in a microwave. One reason for this is, the bottle may feel like it’s the right temperature, but the milk inside can be boiling hot.
Also, heating a baby bottle in a microwave can change the composition of formula and milk. It can actually turn trans-amino acids in formulas into toxic chemicals. Valuable vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies in breast milk can be destroyed.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!