CDA Buying Guide: Microwave Safety
Following these simple rules will keep you and your family safe when using your appliance as well as protecting your microwave from getting damaged.
- Always use microwave safe containers.
- Take care when removing covers from food after cooking. The steam will quickly escape and may cause burns.
- Do not use metal containers or foil in the microwave.
- Check food is cooked through after microwaving.
- Avoid ‘superheated water’. Sometimes liquids can heat above their boiling point if microwaved for too long, without showing any signs of boiling. Even a slight agitation can cause an ‘explosion’ and potential scalding. Try to only heat water for as long as necessary or (top tip) place a wooden spoon in it. The wooden spoon breaks the surface tension of the water and ensure that water appears to boil when it should.
Things you can’t put in the microwave
Here is our quick guide to what not to put in your microwave at home:
- Paper bags. These can catch fire or release flammable toxins.
- Metal. Metal reflects the microwaves and causes them to arc violently, potentially damaging your microwave. This includes aluminium foil.
- Plastics that are not safe for microwaving. Styrofoam, yoghurt pots, takeaway containers or margarine tubs are not built to withstand high temperatures and may melt or release chemicals into the food.
- Eggs with the shell on. They will explode!
- Nothing. Yes, microwaving nothing can potentially damage the appliance.
- Grapes and chilli peppers can actually catch fire or explode in the microwave
Foods that you might not know cook well in a microwave
Did you know that you can dry out herbs in a microwave? If you have bought a fresh bunch at the supermarket, or enjoy growing your own, store the flavours for when they are out of season using your trusty microwave. Arrange the herbs on a piece of kitchen towel and microwave until they are completely dried out. Crumble into your preferred container and store.
Risotto can take far too long to cook, especially if you have guests or fancy it on a week night. Cut through the cooking time by pouring the wine and half your stock over the rice, cover and microwave for ten minutes. Add the remaining liquor, recover and microwave for a further three minutes. Add your mushrooms (or the extra ingredients for the style of risotto you are making), cheese and finish with a final five to seven minutes in the microwave. Let the dish stand for a few minutes before serving.
Healthy steamed vegetables can easily be prepared in your microwave without towering steamers and boiling pans on the hob. Simply add a tablespoon of water for every 450g of vegetables and microwave on full power for five minutes for crisp, bright and fresh veg.
You can even poach an egg in the microwave. Crack an egg into three tablespoons of water and microwave for 45 seconds. That is it! If you want to fry an egg in the microwave, place it on a plate and remember to pierce the yolk to stop it from exploding.