Microwave Tips: Safety and Cleaning Hints for Microwave Ovens
Microwave ovens are used in most modern households. Here are some quick tips for general microwave use.
These days it would be hard to find a kitchen that isn’t equipped with a microwave oven. Whether used for cooking, defrosting or reheating, its convenience and speed fits in so well with modern lifestyles.
Microwave Cookware and Utensils
There are so many different kinds of cookware available specifically for microwave ovens, ranging from the utilitarian plastics and glass to ceramic dishes that are suitable for use as both cooking and serving dishes.
Whichever option is chosen, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always use dishes that are marked “microwave-safe”, as these products are tested to withstand the microwave’s heat.
- Takeaway food containers are not suitable for use in microwave ovens.
- Round or oval containers work better. Square containers can concentrate heat in the corners, drying out food.
- Food should be covered with microwave-safe plastic wrap, not foil. Metal and foil can arc in the oven and cause fires or damage the electricals. This also applies to plates with gold plate rims and patterns.
The best way to maintain a clean microwave is to wipe it out with a damp cloth after each use.
For more thorough cleaning, place a cup containing water and two tablespoons of lemon juice in the oven and heat it on high for two to three minutes.
This will soften the grime enough to make them easy to remove with a cloth.
To eliminate strong cooking odours in the microwave, increase the amount of lemon juice to half a cup per one cup of water, and heat.
- As with any appliance, be certain to read through the manufacturer’s installation and operating instructions before using a new microwave.
- As ovens come with different wattage depending on their size, it can take some time to become familiar with the necessary cooking times for different meals. Start with the shortest time recommended, and increase in small increments until the meal is cooked/reheated.
- When heating wheat bags, include a cup of water as this prevents wheat bags from drying out.
- Poke holes in plastic wrap covers, leave lids ajar and open any steam vents on microwave cookware to prevent steam build up.
- Open lids and remove wrap away from the body, taking care not to allow steam to come in contact with hands.
- Be careful of “hot spots”. These are areas where the food hasn’t cooked evenly. Stir liquids well both during cooking and prior to serving. It is not recommended to use a microwave to heat a baby’s bottle.
- While the container may feel cool to touch, the contents can still be extremely hot. Always allow a dish to stand for at least one minute on removing it from the microwave. Longer if the dish is unable to be stirred.
Microwave ovens are incredibly useful for creating easy meals, reheating leftovers and defrosting.