Microwave Cooking Tips – Meats, Vegetables, Desserts

by Robert Cooksey

You might hear a lot of contradictory advice about how to cook in your microwave oven. If you’re confused, there’s no need to be concerned. Many people don’t know a lot about this easy, fast way of preparing food. Here are a few tips that’ll help you enjoy microwave cooking a lot more successfully.

First, be sure that you use the correct plastics. Plastics work well in the microwave, and do a lot in the kitchen. But there are different plastics, and not all are heat proof. Some will deform or melt when microwaved. Others can leach toxins and harmful substances into the food inside them. That’s why it’s important only to use plastics that are meant for microwave use. Don’t reuse packaging like butter tubs in the microwave, and only heat packaged foods that have instructions for use in the microwave. If a food doesn’t have these instructions, take it out of the packaging before heating.

Remember that microwaved food should be cooked in small pieces, too. Cut larger items into uniformly sized and shaped pieces, and spread them evenly in the dish you’re cooking in. You may need to rotate or move these food pieces around while cooking. Keep uneven foods arranged with thick parts towards the outside walls of the container. In the microwave, outer edges cook faster than the inside of a food.

Anything that has a shell, skin, or impermeable outside coating should be pierced before you cook it. This includes eggs and many vegetables. Failure to pierce foods means that steam can build up inside, causing an explosion. Remember to cook in a slightly larger container than would be used in a conventional oven, for even heating. A round or oval shaped container is better for microwave cooking than a rectangle or square. That’s because corners can cause heat build up.

When cooking from a microwave recipe, start by cooking for the time at the shorter end of the range given. You can always cook food longer, but overcooked food is ruined. Microwaves without a turntable must be stopped periodically so that you can rotate the food. Remember that dishes inside the microwave will be very hot, so use an oven mitt.

Food that is covered when cooking in a regular oven should also be covered in the microwave. That way, you’ll know that your meal will cook evenly and retain all its moisture. Lids should be left slightly ajar to make certain that there’s no pressure buildup inside the container. When you remove food from the microwave, lift lids carefully. Open containers facing away from you to prevent burns. Salting microwave food should be done after it’s cooked to prevent it from drying out.

When baking, you can soften solid sticks of butter by heating them for about half a minute on fifty percent power. Likewise, if you’re heating sour cream, use a lower power to prevent it from curdling. Brown sugar that has hardened can be microwaved in a loosely covered container for about thirty seconds with a slice of apple or a piece of bread. This remoistens the sugar. Bread crumbs can be made by microwaving cubed bread until sale. Then, crush them in a sealed bag to make cleaning up easy.

When using frozen meat, separate individual pieces by defrosting for half a minute to a minute. If you want to cook it more in the microwave, arrange the meat evenly in a dish after separation. To drain fat from hamburger, microwave it in a plastic colander set on top of a bowl. The fat will run out of the meat and into the dish for easy disposal.

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