How to make the best use of a Microwave Oven.
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- 30 Aug, 2021
Microwave has become a must have kitchen appliance today. It is being used very often for cooking, baking and heating purpose. Microwaving food is one of life's simple pleasures: chuck in some cold food and in two minutes you have yourself a hot, tasty meal. It's magic, really. It has made cooking a joyful experience.
The microwave is probably the most efficient and most useful of kitchen appliances in the kitchen. Microwaves can reheat and cook just about any type of food. Moreover, they are very user-friendly and safe to use. By keeping a microwave at home, you need not worry about kids using a gas stove when you are not around.
Cooking with a microwave oven is highly convenient, as it’s simple and incredibly fast. Even defrosting meat takes mere minutes, and you are ready to cook your meal. Microwave ovens can be used for reheating earlier cooked foods and cooking a different variety of foods.
The best microwaves offer the most convenience for everything from popping popcorn to thawing frozen foods to making a recipe. Many have either pre-programmed settings or sensors for everything from reheating a slice of pizza to steaming vegetables. The biggest advantage offered by a microwave is that they can cook food (meat) up to 6 times faster than a conventional oven.
Nowadays just like a TV set or a refrigerator, microwave ovens are a staple in every home. It is almost a part of our daily routine for prepping and cooking meals that using it is an instinct. Even when we get a new unit, we then to skip the manual reading and just use it like we usually do. This might not be the best way to handle this electronic kitchen appliance.
It is very important to use and handle this appliance with great care and caution if you want to get the best from it. There is a lot of scare going around about the microwave oven, how that it is a very dangerous appliance and it is not good to have one at home. The reverse is the case, a microwave oven is a very safe and helpful appliance, getting to understand it is all you need to put your mind to rest.
A microwave oven has a different mechanism of action compared to other heating methods. There's direct heating on a stove top that gets the heat directly in the food. There's indirect heating in the oven in a baking tin or glass or ceramic container. Here, the air surrounding the food is heated up, this then heats up the food.
Microwave ovens don't heat up the surrounding air, instead the microwaves pass through the container and the food, and 'excite' the molecules in the food, which then generates heat. This is a reason why microwaved foods tend to cool down a whole lot quicker than food that has been cooked on a hot plate or in an oven.
Sure, a microwave can be a great way to warm up leftovers and cook food quickly. However, you may not be sure how to use a microwave properly and safely, or may want a refresher on what you can warm up and cook in this appliance.
In the post, I would be talking about; how to best use your microwave oven, the dos and don'ts of the microwave oven and safety tips when using the microwave oven. I will also be discussing about other uses of the microwave oven, as you know the microwave oven can do much more than just heat up your food.
How to best use your Microwave oven.
1). Read the instruction manual.
I know.... who reads operation manuals today? Well it is quite important that you pay attention to this. The first thing to do to use the microwave properly is to read its user manual and safety instructions. The user manual will explain you several things which you may not know otherwise and thus proves very useful.
It will explain the various modes present and how to use each as well. Don't experiment when trying to learn how to work the machine. So the first to do before you start using your microwave oven is to follow the instructions on the manual and necessary safety precautions for your microwave oven model.
2). Set up the microwave on a flat, dry surface.
A clean counter in your kitchen or a solid, wooden table would be good for the microwave. Do not put the microwave near a gas or electric range, such as your stove. Then you can plug in your microwave, make sure you do not plug in several devices together as this can be slightly dangerous.
Depending on what you are heating or cooking, you would set the time in the microwave. Doing so is easy, all you need to do is to either turn the knob or press the button against the time given on the microwave.
3). Put the food item in the correct microwave utensil.
You have to remember to use a utensil which is 100% microwave safe since you can damage the microwave if you use anything which is not suitable for it. Some of these microwave safe utensils are:
* Aluminum foil: this is for shielding only. Small smooth pieces can be used to cover thin parts of meat or poultry to prevent overcooking. Arcing can occur if foil is too close to the oven walls. The foil should be at least 2.5cm away from the oven walls.
* Dinnerware: microwave-safe only. Do not use cracked or chipped dishes.
* Glass jars: always remove the lid. Use only to heat up food until it is just about warm. Most glass jars are not heat-resistant and may break.
* Glassware: heat- resistant oven glass ware only. Make sure there is no metallic elements or parts. Do not use cracked or chipped dishes.
* Oven cooking bags: follow manufacturer’s instructions. Do not close with metal tie. Make slits to allow steam to escape.
* Plastic: microwave-safe only. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Should be labeled "microwave safe". Some plastic containers soften, as the food inside gets hot.
* Plastic wrap: microwave-safe only. Use to cover food during cooking to retain moisture. Do not allow plastic wrap to touch food.
4). Learn how to clean the Microwave.
This is important as if you want to keep your microwave oven for a long time, you have to maintain it very well. You must clean it not just on the outside but also on the inside. The best way to do so is by cleaning and washing the tray, to do this you have to remove it every now and then.
Another method is to keep some water in a microwave safe utensil and heat it for some time. This will lead to development of steam which will help remove stains and other particles from the inside.
With this 4 easy steps, you are good to go with your new microwave oven. It is so simple to use and so fast and effective. However, there are certain dos and don'ts of Microwaving that everyone should know. Knowing them would help keep you and your microwave oven safe. Want to know them?
Here are 5 don'ts of Microwaving that you should know.
- Don't use metal bowls or utensils.
Metal containers tend to shield and spark when put in the microwave oven and this can spoil the microwave oven itself. Instead use glass, ceramic or microwave safe plastic containers. Glass and ceramics are pretty safe to use in the microwave. They are neutral, so there's no likelihood of them leaching chemicals into the food.
People are sometimes skeptical about using plastic containers as their chemicals can leach into the food. This is true too, but some plastic containers are now designed to be safely microwaved. These are called microwave safe plastic containers, they have it labelled on the bottom of the container.
- Don't heat food items that are packed and sealed.
Heating such items can lead to explosion inside the microwave. First take out the food from sealed packet and then heat it in a microwavable dish or utensil. You also should not heat or cook any food and beverage item that is flammable in nature (i.e. items that catch fire). Heating such items can cause fire or explosion inside microwave.
- Don't microwave food uncovered.
Covering your food before placing it in the microwave oven stops it from splattering all over your microwave. Having it uncovered, particularly if there is fat or liquid in there, can lead to the food exploding and causing a big mess inside the microwave oven. A cover not only eliminates splattering; it also cuts down on cooking time.
- Don't cover the vent of microwave at the top when it is in use.
You also should not cover any part of the microwave with metal foil. This can lead to overheating of the appliance and sometimes even risk of fire. You shouldn't also leave the microwave oven door open when in use. That is just silly, this act can lead to exposure to microwave energy.
- Don't take out your microwaved food immediately.
After cooking or heating, allow the utensil or dish to stand in the microwave oven for a short time before taking it out. This will bring down the temperature of the hot container and will protect the user from risk of any injury or burn. You can also use these Microwave Mitts to reduce the risk of burn or any injury
And for those of you that are still worried about safety issues, here are some Microwave oven safety tips to put your mind to rest.
* Ensure that the microwave oven is placed in a cool place. Do not keep it near or beneath any cooking or heating appliance. This can lead to overheating of the microwave.
* Ensure that you don't operate the microwave oven if the door does not close firmly, or if it is warped, bent or damaged. Heat seeping through the small gap could cause an explosion. It could also expose you to harmful microwaves.
* Ensure that you don't stand in front of the microwave oven for too long while it is operating. It is not advisable to do this, and you have to especially caution the younger kids from doing this. This is to prevent accidents and exposure to radiation.
* Avoid super-heated water. “Super-heated” is the term used for water that is heated beyond its boiling temperature, without signs of boiling. If you use a microwave oven to heat water in a clean cup beyond the boiling temperature, a slight disturbance or movement may cause the water to violently explode out of the cup.
Adding ingredients such as instant coffee or sugar to water before heating greatly reduces the risk of hot-water eruption.
* Ensure to always clean the microwave oven cavity, the outer edge of the cavity, the door with water and a mild detergent. It is not advisable to use scouring pads, steel wool or other abrasives.
It is very important to be safe, but that shouldn't scare you into not using the best appliances. A microwave oven is an amazing kitchen appliance that would definitely make a difference in your life. You shouldn't be scared away but the several dos and don'ts that it has, every appliance has one risk or the other that you have to be cautious of.
The microwave oven can be one of the best kitchen appliance you ever got yourself or your wife, once you know how to handle it well. Do you know that apart from just reheating your food, a microwave oven can do much more.
There are so many other uses of the microwave oven and you would be surprised to even discover what some of them are. I know you are itching to find out, I won't keep you waiting for much longer.
Here are some of the other uses of a microwave oven:
* Cooking food.
Yes, you can actually cook with a microwave oven. Certain types of ovens can be used for baking, grilling, roasting, blanching, boiling, and steaming food items. You can make some whole meals with a microwave.
* Making citrus fruits juicer.
* De- crystallizing honey.
* Roasting garlic.
* Heating beauty products.
* Proofing yeasts.
* Re-hydrating stale bread.
* Toasting nuts and spices.
* Disinfecting sponges and cutting boards.
* Removing postage stamps.
* Heating medical aids.
The wonders of the microwave oven are endless, getting one now would make your life better. However, you have to know all about this appliance and about how to safely use it so as it enjoy it to its fullest potential.