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... for Microwave Safety
- Don't overheat or overcook items. It increases the
chances of burning yourself, ruining the food or setting the microwave on fire. When
in doubt, cook in short bursts, checking items frequently.
- Wait for a moment before removing hot food from the
oven. This avoids boil-over and explosive situations; see Microwave Madness. Don't
add anything such as sugar or a tea bag to freshly microwaved liquids while holding the
cup in your hand or having it near your face.
- Prick egg yolks or items with tight skins such as potatoes,
eggplants, sausages. It helps avoid an explosion. Don't try to microwave a
whole egg in its shell!
Cover items likely to splatter or jump out of the dish, such as beans.
Don't use plastic wrap unless it's designed for microwave, and even then,
don't let it touch the food because of the possibility chemicals could be
transferred into your food. Better yet, cover with another
microwave-proof dish or a microwave plate cover designed for that purpose.
- All paper products are manufactured with chemicals.
Never use grocery bags, paper plates, newspapers, butcher's wrap or other paper items to
heat food. The microwave can cause chemicals in these products to transfer into your
food. Use white paper towels only if the label states they are microwave safe.
Wax paper, parchment paper and oven cooking bags are safe to use. Don't overheat!
- Plastics melt, and most contain VERY TOXIC
chemicals. These toxins are sealed into the plastic, but microwaving may release
them. Guess where they go? Into your food! Never let plastic wrap touch
your food. Use only microwave plastic wrap to cover dishes, or use a
microwave plate cover or
another inverted dish. Never reheat in Styrofoam, margarine tubs, whipped
topping bowls or other plastic containers. If you use reheatable disposable
microwave containers, discard them afterwards; don't reuse. When using
microwavable plastic containers, NEVER use with fatty, greasy or very sugary foods.
Reheat briefly only, and don't overheat.
- If your dishes (serving bowls, plates, mugs, cups, etc.) contain any lead at all, leaching
of lead into your food is accelerated in a microwave. Utilize glass such as
Pyrex or Corningware to cook food (and even to heat food, especially greasy, sugary or
acid foods) whenever possible for greater safety and peace of mind.
- Never place metal items such as aluminum foil, steel or
aluminum containers, utensils or wire ties in the microwave. It can damage the oven.
- I don't recommend cooking meats, egg or cheese dishes,
custards or breads in the microwave as a general rule. (If you're happy with the
results, however, that's what matters.) The microwave process shortens and tightens
the protein, or the gluten in wheat, drying and toughening the product. There's
exceptions, but usually a tender, more flavorful dish can be done using conventional heat.
Reheat breads very briefly, wrapped in a damp paper towel. Meats are
best reheated briefly, covered, on lower power if possible.
- If something in your microwave catches on fire, don't open
it or throw water on it. Hit the stop button, unplug it quickly, stand by with a
kitchen fire extinguisher just in case (you do have one, don't you?) and let it burn
itself out. It may damage your oven but it shouldn't burn you or ruin your kitchen
that way. Never use a microwave with a damaged or misaligned door or seal. You can find
replacement parts online.
- Make sure children understand the rules about using a
microwave. In many ways, using one is safer for them than using a stove, but it has
its own very real dangers.