Egg in a Microwave - ©

So… You think you know What NOT to Nuke?

Almost everyone has a microwave oven in their kitchen these days. Even my 90-year-old mother. And everyone who has one knows how to use it. One of the most important things we know is what NOT to put in the Mic. But there is another list of microwave no-nos, less-known but at least as important, that we should all be aware of…

The Tomato Sauce Effect - © 2014 ruh-bek-uh.blogspot.caThe Tomato Sauce Effect. Always cover sauces, soups and stews in the Mic!
Also, nuke them in short bursts, stirring well between zaps.

I came across this really obvious post on Yahoo! over the weekend. I mean, who among us DOESN’T know not to zap tinfoil, metal objects, certain plastics, eggs in the shell, and things in sealed plastic bags that might explode all over the inside of the Mic? And who would argue with the logic that plastic grocery store bags and styrofoam containers might give off toxic fumes?

I take exception, however, to the Yahoo! post’s warning not to nuke stuff in plastic freezer containers. Come on! The vast majority of quality freezer containers are certified microwave safe! Just check on the bottom of the tub before pressing the Start button.

I also take exception to the post’s admonition not to zap stuff in brown paper grocery bags. This is a common practice in many commercial kitchens to refresh bread products just before service and other foods. And it’s the easiest way I know to air-pop popcorn!

On the other hand…

I agree wholeheartedly with the post when it says not to zap thick liquids like soups, stews and sauces without a cover. That’s the quickest way I know to make yourself half an hour of cleanup work.

But I wonder why the post does not go further… For instance:

  • I found out early in my experience with microwave ovens that all root veggies are not created equal. Go ahead and zap a Baked Potato. But zap Carrots at your peril. They turn into Carrot Jerky!
  • Go ahead and soften Butter or Cream Cheese – carefully – in the mic. But give it a mere 10 seconds at a time to avoid a complete meltdown! There comes a point where another 10 seconds will result in a tsunami.
  • Do NOT reheat thick stuff like Risotto or Stew or Tomato Sauce in one long zap. Always divide the time into one-minute stages and stir well between zaps. Another benefit of this technique: You’ll never overheat the food. That can result in a burned, leathery or bitter crusting on top of what was a lovely dish.
  • Never cook/reheat Frankfurters or Sausages in casings in the Mic without poking a couple of holes in the skin for the steam to escape. Once again, a nasty explosion will likely occur.
  • Likewise, never heat/cook whole fruits and veggies in the mic without first peeling them or piercing their skins. (See Frankfurters/Sausages entry above for a rundown of the consequences.) But why would anyone want to heat/cook whole fruits or veggies in the first place?

Which brings us full circle, back to the Carrots thing…

~ Maggie J.