Now that you’ve decided that a microwave oven is a kitchen must-have, it’s time to learn the nitty, gritty of this kitchen appliance. I’m sure you’ll be spending a lot of time experimenting with new recipes using your newly bought microwave oven.
Here are 12 things you should know about a microwave oven:
- You can bake with it.
Have you ever heard about a mug cake? If you’re craving chocolate cake in the middle of the night, but the thought of cleaning huge bowls, your mixer, and other utensils after baking in your full-sized oven seems overwhelming, the microwave is the key for a quick and easy way to bake.
Just don’t expect to feed a lot of people. Baking in the microwave is only for single-serve and it isn’t exclusive to cakes. You can bake a cookie, brownie, lemon bars, fudge, and cobbler (among many others) in the microwave as well.
- Cook eggs in different ways.
Cook eggs in 4 ways with your microwave.
- For an omelet, crack the eggs in a mug, add milk or butter, beat to mix, and microwave for two minutes. Stop every 30 seconds to stir and create the omelet feel.
- To poach an egg, fill a mug or bowl with a half cup of water and slip the egg in. Make sure the egg is submerged, then get a knife to prick the center of the yolk lightly. Cover your container with plastic wrap and microwave for a minute.
- Cook sunny-side-up eggs on a microwavable plate in about 30 to 45 seconds.
- You can hard-boil an egg in the microwave by submerging it in a bowl with water for 3 minutes. Note that contrary to viral videos, you cannot hard-boil eggs in the microwave without water.
- Make homemade meals from scratch ala-oven.
Any kind of one-pot meal you can cook in an oven can also be cooked in a microwave. As long as the meal you chose doesn’t require constant mixing, you can recreate most meals from scratch with your microwave.
- Steam vegetables.
You don’t have to bring out your steamer if you’re only planning to steam a plate for lunch. You can totally steam your leafy greens in the microwave, as long as you wrap them up in damp paper towels.
If you don’t have paper towels, use a bowl with some water, place the veggies inside and cover the bowl with a plate. Make sure your bowl and plate are microwavable for this to work.
- Use a microwave as a herb dehydrator.
Use your microwave as a dehydrator for fresh herbs by placing them between paper towels and microwaving them for about 3 minutes. The result is dried and brittle herbs with amazing smells.
- Microwave-safe containers are made for a reason – use them.
Don’t risk using containers and cookware that are deemed unsafe for the microwave. The reason why containers are labeled as microwave-safe is that using one that isn’t safe could lead to explosions, fires, or other accidents that could have been easily prevented.
- Boiling water in microwaves is possible but can be dangerous.
It is possible to boil water in a cup or bowl, but only up to the suggested time. If you go beyond the boiling temperature of your microwave, the water could explode out of the container and burn you once you try to get it out.
The good news is every brand of microwave oven indicates boiling instructions on their manuals. Just make sure you read them.
- Want to short-cut the rising time of your dough? Use a microwave.
Cut your waiting time in half. You can force your dough to rise much quicker if you place it in the microwave. Keep it on the lowest power possible, then shape your dough, then let it rise again inside.
- Magic Techniques like peeling tomatoes, shucking corn, and peeling garlic.
Many of the things you can do with a microwave have been fully documented. Some techniques still leave me in awe every time I remember that it’s possible. These include:
- Peeling tomatoes, peaches, and other thin-skinned fruits and veggies.
- Shucking corn and peeling garlic are great time-savers. Just slice the corn cob stalk or hard end of the garlic, place in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, then just let the skin peel off.
- Soak beans quickly.
Beans usually have to be soaked overnight to be able to use them for your chilis and meals the next day. But if you forgot all about it, you can place a cup of dried beans with 3 cups of water in a bowl, microwave it up to the allowed boiling point, and bring it out of your microwave. Keep it in the bowl for an hour before cooking.
- You can use your microwave for non-food things.
Microwave ovens can be used for sterilizing soil, coloring yarn, warming up eye pads, cleaning sponges, melting beauty products, and so on. You do have to double-check your microwave’s manual for this one.
- Some things you should NEVER place inside a microwave.
Yes, the microwave is a pretty awesome kitchen appliance. But there are some things that you simply CANNOT microwave.
Examples of this include paper and plastic bags, aluminum foil, travel mugs, plastic containers, styrofoam, Chinese takeout boxes, and hot peppers. You also cannot use the microwave as an alternative for your dryer, so no drying of clothes ever.