With the advancement of technology, the techniques and appliances used for cooking are also developing day by day. One such appliance is a microwave oven which offers lots of benefits to the cooks. Various home recipes can be cooked in a microwave oven. Cooking has developed more with the development of microwave ovens.
Microwave Cooking Tips
Microwave has become an inseparable part of our life. The benefit of microwave has made it so popular that almost all the homes have an oven in their kitchen. It can save your time and allows you to cook conveniently. In this article there are few helpful tips which make cooking easier with microwave.
The reason behind the popularity of microwave is it saves your time and also consumes less electricity. It definitely has some advantages over a gas stove. However, while cooking in a microwave oven one must make sure that they are aware of the accidents which can be caused by a microwave. Safety must be everyone’s priority so do proper research on how to use this appliance and then only start using it.
The dos and don’ts while cooking in a microwave
Microwave is an appliance which uses the waves in it to heat or cook food. The waves produced in a microwave are electromagnetic waves which have long wavelength. Foods which contain sugar, water and fats can easily absorb these electromagnetic waves. Once the electromagnetic waves comes in contact with the fat and water molecules, heat is produced which cooks any food inside the microwave.
Choice of a container
The most important concern of the cooks must be to choose the proper container for heating or cooking foods in a microwave. The containers if not chosen correctly may cause serious health hazards and at times may also lead to death. Follow the given points while choosing a container:
- Make sure that the containers which you use in a microwave oven are marked as “microwave safe”. There are lots of manufacturers which print on the cookware the microwave symbol. This symbol is used in cookware which can be used in microwave ovens. Microwave safety tips are also provided by most of the manufacturers.
- Never use plastic containers until and unless they are declared microwave safe by the manufacturers. If the plastic gets heated it may melt and the harmful compounds used in plastic may mix with the food making it toxic for health.
- Newspapers and paper bags must also be avoided since they catch fire. Aluminum foils must also be avoided until they are declared as safe.
- One time use ice cream tubs, plastic bowls and margarine tubs must also be avoided.
- Even the glass containers you use must be declared as “microwave safe”.
- Metal containers are also avoided since heat cannot pass through metal. Hence your food will remain uncooked. Metal containers are also dangerous since they may spark.
- For heating the food, it would be wiser to transfer it to a microwave safe bowl.
- Cut the food in smaller pieces before putting them inside the microwave. Make sure that the food pieces are also arranged properly for proper and an even cooking.
- For uniform cooking you may also cover the container with a lid. However, do not cover the container completely, leave some space for the steam to come out.
- Rotate or stir the food while cooking it in the microwave oven.
- Shallow containers must be preferred for cooking food in a microwave. Shallow containers cook any food uniformly.
- While heating packed frozen foods you must go through the instructions about how to heat the food in the microwave. The plastic cover must be pierced so that the steam gets space to escape. After the food is heated, lift the lid carefully. Make sure that the plastic is not in direct contact with the eatables.
- For foods with high quantity of fats, heat them in glass containers since fatty foods require high temperature to get heated. The reason behind this is if heated in plastic containers, the plastic may melt and dissolve with the food.
- Running an empty microwave oven may be dangerous. When there is no food inside the microwave to absorb the electromagnetic waves, the tube inside may burn. This may lead to a serious accident.
- Do not sterilize bottles inside a microwave. For sterilizing the baby bottles and jars use your gas stove. Although this may take time but it is better to use gas stove only.
- Keep children away from the microwave when it is on. Do not let them use it without any adult supervision. Most of the microwaves have a child safety lock, if your microwave also has one, use it to keep children away from this.
- Clean the microwave at regular intervals so that the food articles do not stick to the surface. In case of any technical problems take your microwave to a repair shop. Never take the risk of repairing your oven on you own. In case of any damage stop using it until it gets repaired.
Food specific tips
While keeping food inside the microwave you must follow certain tips. Most of the foods get excessively heated and if taken out and touched in a hurry they might cause burns. Specific steps are there to keep the food inside a microwave. So, follow the given steps for a safe experience with a microwave:
- Learn to set the correct temperature while defrosting any food. Avoid using foam and plastic trays to defrost any food since they might dissolve at high temperatures. Most of the foods like fish, meat and poultry start to get cooked while defrosting them. Partially cooked foods are more prone to bacteria and germs, so immediately cook the food after you defrost it. While defrosting, lower down the power and rotate the food two times, the food will be defrosted without any problems.
- Buy a food thermometer since it can help you record the temperature while cooking dishes like beef, poultry, lamb chops and meat. Once the internal temperature reaches 165 degree Fahrenheit you can switch off the microwave. 165 degree Fahrenheit is the minimum temperature after which the food can be cooked according to one’s own preferences. After checking the temperature, keep the food inside the microwave for three to four minutes. This keeps the food hot when it is served. Foods like fish, poultry, hotdogs and casseroles taste god when served hot.
- While heating the pre packed foods make sure you wait for standing time as mentioned by the manufacturers. The food continues to get cooked due to the heat even if you switch off the microwave.
- Stuffed chicken must not be heated in a microwave. The stuffing used must be separately cooked since if it is cooked with the chicken it might remain uncooked. While heating a roasted chicken, keep it inside the microwave even after turning off the microwave. This cooks the food properly since heat can pervade deep inside the chicken.
- Layered items when heated in a microwave may not seem to bet hot from outside. However, the inside layers might be burning hot. So never eat them directly. Wait for some time so that the temperature of the pies or the pasties lowers down.
- Avoid boiling eggs inside a microwave since the steam inside the eggshell may explode the egg inside the microwave only.
- Be careful with foods which react with metallic elements inside the chamber. This may lead to sparks which is known as arching. Carrots and hotdogs may cause arching since the minerals inside them may react with the metallic elements producing spark. In case of such sparks, immediately switch off the microwave.
- Liquids may get superheated if heated in a microwave for a prolonged time. You can check this out by keeping a bowl filled with liquid inside the microwave. Once you switch off the microwave, the liquid will be motionless earlier. The moment you touch the liquid it might cause serious burns.
Therefore, keep the bowl inside the microwave so that the water cools down. Adding sugar and salt can prevent the water from getting preheated.
- While heating a baby food, make sure that you check the temperature of the food by tasting it before feeding it to the baby.
With the great inventions we need to follow more precautions. Microwave is undoubtedly the most intelligent development of the last century. However, one needs to have full knowledge about this appliance. The food in a microwave gets cooked quickly and the nutrients and the vitamins retain in the food. Make sure that you follow the instructions mentioned above in order to utilize the most of a microwave. Cooking whole grain is now easier with microwave.
Microwave is also eco-friendly as it consumes very less electricity. The chefs can try out as many recipes which includes cooking with dry white wine as it is more convenient if cooked in a microwave. The food cooked in a microwave is also healthy as the minerals are not lost. So use microwave keeping in mind the safety measures.