Learn the dos and don’ts of your microwave with this chef-approved guide.
Your microwave is a convenient tool that can save you a lot of time and energy in the kitchen. But just because you have one, doesn't mean you should put anything and everything inside of it. While it's a no-brainer that things like foil and plastic should never be put in the microwave, did you know that there are a lot more things (most you wouldn't expect) that can actually cause damage to your microwave or even yourself? Chef Roblé Ali talked about microwave safety and the ultimate dos and don't for using yours. Here are the five things he says you should never microwave — and one thing you absolutely should.
NO: Raw Kale
There's video evidence online that shows raw kale in the microwave can spark and potentially catch fire. Why? While the reason isn't completely known, Ali suspects it's because the minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium) found in kale are also found in tiny pieces of metal — and you know you're not supposed to stick things like forks and foil in the microwave for that very reason. Luckily, cooked kale can be reheated, since the act of cooking reduces the minerals found.
While nothing dangerous will happen if you choose to put a hamburger bun in the microwave, you will get a rock-hard, solid piece of bread instead of the soft and warm one you were hoping for. “When starch reaches a temperature above 200 degrees [farenheit] it melts, which is what makes the bread so soft," says Ali. When it cools, it can crystallize and leave the bread hard. In a microwave, this process happens even faster leaving you with a hard piece of bread. For the best results, stick your bread in the oven to heat it up.
Microwaving scrambled raw eggs is a quick and easy way to make a delicious breakfast sandwich on the go. But microwaving an egg in the shell, raw or hard boiled, will cause it to explode — leaving you with a big mess (and potentially even causing harm, like burns). The reason for this is the yolk reaches a high temperature and pressure really fast and it has nowhere to escape. Stick to cracking the eggs beforehand. Ali recommends adding in a splash of milk for fluffier eggs.
NO: Frozen Meat
Many people defrost their meat in the microwave, but it turns out, this causes it to defrost unevenly. This can lead to bacteria growth on the meat. Instead, defrost meat in the refrigerator overnight. If you need it faster, Ali recommends putting the meat in a zip-top bag and place it in a big bowl of room temperature water to defrost. Keep your faucet running slightly in the bowl and change the water every 20 minutes for an even thaw.
NO: Face Masks
A recent trend taking the internet by storm is microwaving your face mask to get rid of germs. Many fabrics can catch fire if microwaved, leading to a very big and dangerous problem. And if your mask has a metal nose piece, that can cause sparks in the microwave as well. To sanitize your mask, you can throw it in with your laundry, or you can hand wash it.
If you need roasted almonds in a pinch, microwave them! Ali says all you need to do is microwave them on high for three minutes. You can even do this with cashews and pine nuts for the ultimate roasted mix. Sprinkle on top of soups, salads, or have a handful as a snack.