Reheating food is a key feature of the wonderful kitchen appliance, the microwave oven, but there are so many other benefits many owners have yet to discover. If you’re the proud owner of a microwave or considering investing in one then here are some hidden uses of this incredible machine.
Disinfecting kitchen items
If you’ve spent some time cleaning your kitchen thoroughly and in the time of a pandemic this is advised then you might find yourself with quite a foul-smelling kitchen sponge. Rather than chucking it out in favour of a new one, simply place some vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl, soak the sponge in the bowl, and place it in the microwave for a minute. This is particularly useful when cleaning up after raw meats. Likewise, plastic cutting boards that have seen better days can be quickly disinfected and revitalized with lemon juice and vinegar before placing in the microwave.
Raw honey has become an incredibly popular dietary addition, but it can be quite unmanageable when left in a fridge or cupboard and it crystallises. No matter, because the crystallised honey can simply be placed in your microwave for 30 seconds to a minute before returning to its golden liquid form.
Increasing juice from citrus
With many people confined to their homes during this time, baking skills are becoming significantly more advanced. If you’re looking to prepare a homemade lemon meringue pie but are finding your refrigerated lemons a bit lacking in juice, just place them in the microwave for 20 seconds before juicing. Likewise, if you’re looking to extract some more juice from that orange to go with your morning breakfast, then simply microwave your oranges.
No more tears cutting onions
If just the thought of chopping onions brings a tear to your eye, then you will be thrilled to learn this hidden gem. By placing an onion in the microwave for 30 seconds before chopping it, you will remove the harsh sting that makes your eyes water and you can cut the vegetable without your eyes watering.
Warming medical packs
Whether you’re looking for a hot compress to warm tired muscles, or a heating pad to warm up your bed this winter, then your microwave will come in handy. Place the compressor heating pad in the microwave for a minute and you’re ready to go. A gel pack can also be reheated in the microwave to alleviate headaches
For the stamp collectors out there, you can remove stamps off envelopes without damaging them simply and easily using a microwave. Just sprinkle some light water droplets on the postage stamp, place it in the microwave for a few seconds, and then peel it off slowly.
Reviving stale bread
If you haven’t managed to get through your entire loaf of bread before it goes a bit stale, don’t waste food. Instead, cover your stale bread in a water-soaked paper towel and place it in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Soaking Lentils and Beans
For any recipe that calls for the inclusion of lentils and beans, don’t worry about soaking them overnight, rather place them in a bowl full of water, add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, and then microwave the bowl for 10 minutes. Thereafter, leave them in the microwave (without turning it on) for another 40 minutes, and they will be ready to use.
Foods you never thought you’d cook so quickly Another great feature of the microwave is its ability to cook food at incredible speeds. If you’ve been unsure of what can be cooked, here is a quick selection of easily microwaveable food items.
A baked potato is great for a busy day when you’re craving a filling meal but just don’t have the time. Prick the potato all over with a fork and then place in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the potato over and repeat. Keep checking on the potato and cook for a bit longer if necessary, depending on the potato size. You can even cook mashed potatoes in the microwave, just be sure to heat the milk in the microwave before adding it in.
Where roasted garlic takes three-quarters of an hour to cook in the oven, the same clove of garlic can be cooked in less than 8 minutes in a microwave oven. Simply slice off the top of the head to reveal the cloves, then place in a small but deep dish, add olive oil and seasoning, wrap in plastic and microwave.
There are many vegetables that can be steamed in a microwave by adding a bit of water. This includes mielies, spinach, mushrooms, carrots and peas, all of which can be cooked in a dish with a bit of water and covered in plastic film. It usually takes around 4 minutes in cook time.
For a delicious poached egg, add boiling water into a bowl with a splash of white vinegar. Then crack in an egg and pierce the yolk before covering with cling wrap and microwaving for 30 seconds. Turn the egg and microwave for another 20 seconds before it’s done.
Complement this poached egg with bacon slices! Wrap the bacon in paper towels and microwave them for 23 minutes.
Types of microwave ovens available
Now that you’ve discovered the incredible range of the microwave oven, you might want to upgrade or even invest in one for yourself. And if you’re looking for a brand that will offer you a microwave that is efficient, long-lasting and fits the modern kitchen, then Defy is your best bet.
This is the entry-level model which is ideal for the basic cooking and reheating operations as it provides uniform heating. Defy has a variety of microwave ovens in both the electronic and manual models.