Admit it; the microwave oven is an indispensable kitchen tool. We use it for everything from heating, cooking, and even baking. Did you know that microwaves sometimes don’t cook evenly and can leave cold spots where harmful bacteria can build up on food? Here are some tips to ensure you are using your microwave oven safely.
Microwave Containers and Wraps:
- Use only cookware specifically manufactured to be used in the microwave oven. Check to make sure glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics are clearly labeled for microwave oven use. In addition, you can use microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels.
- Don’t allow plastic wrap to come into contact with food while microwaving it.
- Don’t use plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, or any other containers meant for only a one-time use. You risk having these containers melt or warp; this can introduce harmful chemicals that will contaminate your food. Also, don’t use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in a microwave oven.
Safe Microwave Cooking:
- Always evenly arrange your food in a dish covered with a lid or plastic wrap; if necessary, add a small amount of liquid.
- Moist heat is developed during cooking that helps to destroy bacteria and ensure uniform cooking. To allow the steam to escape, make sure you vent the lid or plastic.
- You can eliminate cold spots and ensure more even cooking by always stirring and/or rotating your food halfway through the microwave cooking time. Even if the microwave oven has a turntable, you should still stir it completely.
- Never partially cook food and then store it to use later. If you are going to partially cook food in the microwave and finish cooking it on the grill or in a conventional oven, transfer the microwaved food to the other heat source immediately.
- Cooking times vary because microwave ovens differ in power and efficiency.
- Don’t cook large cuts of meat on high (100%) power. Instead cook it on medium (50%) power for a longer period of time to ensure the center of the meat is heated through without overcooking the outer areas.
- Don’t cook stuffed poultry in a microwave oven as well because the stuffing won’t reach the temperature needed to destroy bacteria.
These are steps you can take to ensure the safe use of your microwave oven. However, sometimes you need help from a professional to keep your microwave and other appliances operating in peak condition. That’s when you need to contact the expert technicians at Dave Smith Appliance Services.