Grandma isn't listening, so it's okay to admit it: microwaves have forever changed the way your family prepares and cooks food. Need to thaw meat fast for supper? Reheat leftovers? Make buttery popcorn in a flash? Thanks to the home microwave, these tasks no longer require the kitchen stove or result in having to wash pots and pans later.
Instead, families just put the food inside their microwave, push a few buttons, and relax for a few seconds while awaiting that satisfying ding that signals the meal or snack is ready to eat.
But to be fair, microwaves are not designed for use with all foods and cookware. In fact, attempts to cook some types of foods or use some types of cookware or utensils can damage your appliance or even cause a fire or injury. If you love the convenience of your microwave oven and want to use it safely, these tips are just what you need.
Putting take-out containers in a microwave oven at home or at work is a critical error that most people are guilty of making. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons, including the following:
- paper cartons may be coated with wax and capable of catching fire in the microwave
- there may be hidden wire, aluminum foil, or other metals that can cause sparking in the microwave
- plastic wrappings and containers can melt and catch fire or cause burns when touched
If a fire or sparking occurs when these items are used in the microwave, serious damage to the appliance can occur. In addition, since it is impossible to know how the take-out wrappers and containers were manufactured, there is also a danger that toxins could be released from them during the heating process.
Some foods are just not meant for the microwaving process in their natural state. For instance, eggs in their shells, cherries, and grapes can explode and catch fire during the cooking process. Potatoes can explode, if not pierced prior to heating. Hot peppers, such as jalapenos and chili peppers, may or may not actually explode, but they will release pepper-laden steam that can result in watery eyes or breathing difficulties for anyone nearby when the appliance is opened.
It is also important to mention the common misconception that microwaves must be replaced instead of repaired. The truth is that many common issues that befall microwave ovens can be easily repaired by a competent microwave repair professional.