It wasn’t all that long ago when most people were apprehensive in their attitude toward microwave technology as it applied to food, mainly arising from all the unknowns. Back in the early days of microwave use (and before Snopes.com came into existence), various exceedingly imaginative stories in circulation detailing different scenarios where unwitting individuals inadvertently misunderstood the reaches of microwave applications and capabilities.
And whether they were true or not no longer remains an issue, with the entire prevalence of one or more microwave cooking units existing as firmly established cooking methods in practically every living establishment that has residents who eat.
The passage of sufficient time has brought a significant understanding of microwave technology for food preparation, and now, most homes would be thought of as “missing something” if there wasn’t at least one functioning microwave on the premises.
So Much More Than a Popcorn Popper
With a good bit of science mixed with a lot of trial and error, we have discovered that the microwave oven is a useful tool for more than a few off-norm applications. And while there are still a few remaining holdouts who pretty much only use their microwaves for reheating food and popping popcorn, everyone can stand to benefit from some pretty cool uses for the home microwave oven.
To Disinfect Stuff
When it comes to the warnings and cautions frequently doled out by the germaphobes, the topic quickly moves to the subject of sponges in the kitchen. Yes, sponges that are used for washing dishes and sopping up spills from all sorts of places.
And while it’s true that under a variety of less than careful circumstances, a kitchen sponge can quickly become a powerful vehicle of transport for a host of unwanted kitchen guests, which can only be visualized via a microscope yet pack an often-lethal punch.
So just because you used your kitchen sponge to wipe up raw chicken juices or stinky fish entrails, all you need to do to restore that sponge to total and sanitary usefulness is to rinse it out, and then soak it in water spiked with white vinegar or lemon juice, and then heat it on high for a minute. It will be hot enough at this point that you will need an oven mitt to remove it. But it will be clean.
To Speed Up Dinner
Regardless of the type of food and the strict mandates to “only cook in a traditional oven,” just about every food and dish you can make can be cooked to the point of almost being completed right within your trusty microwave and then transferred to the oven, for any intentional browning, crisping, direct heat cooking that can’t be completely accomplished in the microwave.
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While this cooking mode may take a little practice for the squeamish, it doesn’t require any extra prowess or magic skill–just maybe a little extra confidence. this is a tried and true method that works!
Microwaving potatoes is the superior method of cooking potatoes quickly, as it takes a microwave about 4 minutes to produce a fully cooked russet potato. And for those who prefer the skin on their baked potatoes to be crispy, all they need to do is reduce the microwave cooking time to 3 minutes per potato, and take them out of the microwave (hot, hot!) and brush them with your choice of cooking oil.
Next, slide them onto a baking sheet and pop them into a preheated 400-450 degree oven for somewhere between five and ten minutes overall. They’ll be done, tender and crisp!
Sweet Tooth Salvation
Who can restore both hardened brown sugar and crystallized honey to their original condition by placing in the microwave and heating in very short bursts, in between which you inspect the state of restoration? Be careful not to over-zap. Honey first needs to be transferred to a microwave-safe container.
Zap Out Crying Time
When you need to peel onions, place them in a covered container and microwave for one to two minutes on high. Then either use right away or store as you normally would a peeled onion in the fridge.
This will make peeling easier, but it will eliminate the production of tears when slicing and softening a bit of the intensity of the onion when used raw, like as a topping for a hamburger.
Soothe that Sprain
Microwaves represent a real boon to significant relief for anyone suffering from aches and pains, and not only for family members but for family pets, as well! Whenever the application of dry heat is helpful, all you do is fill fabric pouches with uncooked corn or rice and microwave until nice and hot. This produces fully reusable hot packs.
If you ever find yourself to be in a hurry and you suddenly discover that your mascara is “non-productive,” all you have to do is place your mascara stick next to a cup of water inside the microwave. Heat on high for 30 to 40 seconds, and voila!
Lie down and Dye
Combine fabric dye with cold water and whatever item you intend to dye in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes for smaller items and up to 10 minutes for larger ones. The best thing about this method is that it is far less messy than all other dyeing methods.
Drying Flowers for Scrapbooking, Potpourri and More
Drying flowers is fast when you dry them by using a microwave. The only consideration is that those flowers with thick petals don’t dry as well this way. The more delicate petal flowers, such as pansies, will dry very quickly. Exercise caution and pay attention while they “cook.”
Any household with little ones worth its salt will have a container full of broken crayons in various states of disuse. And while a new pack of crayons won’t set you back enough to spend an excessive amount of time in “should or shouldn’t I buy?” reasoning, for some unknown reasons, it’s always difficult to toss out perfectly good fractional remnants of once-complete crayons.
And thus, the “crayon box” was formed. Microwave Oven technology forever resolves this problem and even moves to create a new and fun method by which creative kids can express themselves in full color.
Take a cupcake tin and lightly grease as many sections as you will need. Next, take handfuls of crayon “bits” (sans wrappers) and load them together in microwave-safe bowls, microwaving about three cupfuls at a time, zap until fully melted (but pay close attention to prevent overheating to the point of boiling) and then carefully remove the container from the microwave using an oven mitt for precaution.
Next, pour the melted crayons into the pre-greased muffin tins. Transfer to a safe shelf in your freezer. In 15 minutes, you will have yourself some big, chunky fun crayons that will render a rainbow of color!