Our tips for microwave cooking
Don’t know where to start looking for a fast and easy way to save time and energy in the kitchen? The answer can be found in the underrated, but powerful microwave.
In this guide, you’ll learn all things microwave. We promise that this appliance will get you preparing quick, easy and most importantly, nutritious dishes.
The key to microwave cooking? Having the right technique, a reliable recipe and the proper tools.
How does the microwave work?
The magic of the microwave is found in the magnetron, which is an electrical device inside it that can transform electricity into electromagnetic waves.
The magnetron produces high-intensity waves that are directed straight to a fan. Once they reach the fan, the waves are redirected to the food compartment. The contact between the waves and the food produces heat in the liquid (the water contained in the food), and the food is heated.
Did you know
In addition to heating food, microwaves have also been used in other industries, such as drying ceramics, paper, textile fibres, leather, etc.
However, it’s not the microwaves emitted by the magnetron that generates heat, but rather the water in the food. Water, being such a small molecule, is the only molecule that moves when exposed to microwaves.
The microwave’s functions
Over the years, the food industry realized that microwaves could do a lot of other great things besides heating food.
It’s been used in a variety of ways, including dehydrating vegetables, roasting nuts and coffee, defrosting meat and making desserts.
We’ll explain the main features of this multifunctional device.
It’s the most popular purpose and the one you’re most likely to use to reheat leftovers that don’t give an after-taste. This function is also ideal for cooking vegetables and potatoes.
This function has 2 things going for it: First, the food is defrosted quickly. Frozen food is thawed and ready to cook which proves to be a helpful time-saver.
Second, defrosting food quickly means bacteria don’t have time to reproduce, which can happen when food defrosts slowly.
What you need to know
Food is potentially dangerous when microorganisms grow because of the presence of competitive bacterial flora. Consult your doctor for advice tailored to your health and nutritional state.
Some food can be microwaved without adding water because microwaves use the water in the food itself.
This will save help you make recipes quickly, thereby saving you time. And by cooking in its own water, the food is healthier.
As well, cooking food below 100 °C retains more of its salts and vitamins.
This function is usually a combo of the forced air the appliance produces and the heat made at the bottom of the microwave. The pizza crust cooks properly because of the extra heat.
You can use the pizza function for any recipe that requires extra heat from below.
You can now find convection microwaves on the market. They can be used as a small convection oven and a microwave. Convection gives roasting and crisping functionality.
There are several myths about microwaves, raising concerns with consumers about whether or not they’re safe to use. But studies have shown that they have no negative effect on food or health.
We’ll start demystifying the most current ones so you can have peace of mind while benefitting from everything it has to offer
1. Microwaves lower nutritional value
Regardless of how it’s prepared, food always loses some of its nutrients. But microwaving conserves nutritional values better because food is steamed in its own water. As it takes less time to cook, microwaves need less water, so there’s not as much nutritional loss.
2. You eat the microwaves
False! Once the microwave oven is finished heating or cooking the food, there are no residual waves left in the oven or in the food. Once the oven stops, you should let the food rest before eating it. Not so the microwaves disappear, but to allow the heat to distribute evenly throughout the food.
So now you can be sure that the meal you’ve just microwaved isn’t harmful to your health
3. Continuous microwave use makes you sick
Nope. A long time ago, people thought that microwaves could poison you or even make you go blind. That’s because back then, there was a lack of knowledge about how this household appliance works.
But people still think that standing in front of the microwave when it’s on can cause cancer. That’s completely false. The device doesn’t emit ionizing radiation, meaning it doesn’t cause mutations, doesn’t affect DNA and doesn’t increase the risk of developing tumours.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper and safe use, as with any electrical device.
4. It’s dangerous to look through the microwave door
No, as long as the microwave is in good condition. The window shouldn’t be damaged or cracked. It’s important to make sure that the door is closed properly.
The appliance is manufactured according to strict quality control. That’s why the window is covered with a metallic film, so the waves are reflected inward, not towards the exterior.
5. A glass of water can explode
True and false. When you’re heating water in the microwave (for tea, let’s say), you’ll notice that the water will start to boil rapidly as soon as you take it out to add a tea bag or sugar, that kind of thing.
It’s true that the water can overflow and burn you. But there’s an explanation for that. It’s called super boiling.
Contrary to traditional cooking on a stove where the water’s steam escapes through the bubbles once it starts boiling, in a microwave, the water is heated through the energy coming from the oven’s compartment without producing the regular bubbles.
So when you take the glass out of the microwave and introduce another element to the water, you generate an air bubble inside the water which gives the impression that the water is exploding.
How to cook with a microwave
We’ll tell you what you can put in the microwave, which tools you should use and the best techniques to get the most out of your microwave.
What can go inside the microwave
It’s important to remember what you can and cannot put in the microwave when you’re cooking.
Essential cooking tools
Now that you know what you can put in the microwave, here are a few essential tools you’ll need to make your meals.
- The famous cover: This item prevents splatters by allowing the steam to escape through the holes.
- Microwave pasta maker: Cooks pasta al dente quickly. It’s practical and depending on the size, you can make up to 4 servings of pasta.
- Silicone steamer: This item has been adapted for the microwave so you can enjoy the healthy benefits of steam. You can also use it to reheat your lunch.
- Egg cooker: With this, eggs are ready in just a few minutes. A practical breakfast tool for those busy mornings.
- 3-in-1 microwave dish: Imagine heating not one, but 3 dishes at the same time. It’ll come in handy when you’ve got 3 hungry people to feed.
- Soup cup: With this tool, not only can you make and reheat soups, but you can bring a big batch over to wherever you need to go. Can you imagine this delicious home-style veggie soup?
Bento boxes are another option. This container lets you organize balanced, nutritious meals. The best part is you can bring it where you want, then reheat in the microwave!
The best tips for microwave cooking
To cook food evenly
To ensure food is evenly cooked, remember these points:
- Properly cover the container to keep steam in. The cover is another perfect option.
- If possible, cut food into small pieces so that the heat can penetrate it more easily.
- You can stop cooking halfway to stir, then continue cooking.
- Put the thickest pieces towards the outside of the dish and smaller ones towards the middle.
To cook safely while preserving nutrients
You should remove food from its plastic or carton packaging and put it in a microwave-safe container.
- Don’t thaw food more for more than 2 hours in the microwave.
- Make sure food is properly and thoroughly cooked. If you want, use a cooking thermometer to make sure that food has reached its proper internal temperature.
- Avoid overheating liquids (like when you’re making soup). Stop cooking midway, stir and continue cooking.
- Don’t use the microwave if the door is cracked or doesn’t close properly.
- Regularly clean the microwave with water and a mild soap, inside and out.
What food can be microwaved?
Microwave cooking is especially great for cooking small amounts or small pieces of food. Don’t forget you can also prepare recipes for the freezer, then defrost them in the microwave when you’re ready to enjoy.
Here are a few foods you can thaw and/or cook in the microwave:
As you probably already know, there are lots of tools on the market that make boiled eggs in the microwave.
For soft-boiled eggs, just grease a microwave-safe container with a little vegetable oil and a dash of salt.
Then crack 1 or 2 eggs into it, piercing both the whites and the yolks a few times with a fork. This way the eggs won’t explode while they’re cooking.
For scrambled eggs, do the same thing, but instead of piercing the eggs, beat them and pour them into the microwavable container.
Regardless of how you make them, it’s important to let the eggs rest for at least 30 seconds. The heat will finish cooking them.
Here are the cooking times for each preparation method:
You can make grains like quinoa, rice, bulgur and more. Just put a serving of grains in a microwavable container, then add water corresponding to the serving size.
It’s important to use a cover and cook it for 12 to 15 minutes on high. If you don’t think it’s ready, microwave another 2 minutes.
Veggies are among the easiest to prepare in the microwave. You can make just about any veggie in this appliance. Make sure to peel them. You can also chop or slice them. Depending on the recipe.
To cook, just put them in a microwave-safe container and add water according to the veggies’ water content. Cover and nuke on high. Here’s the preparation time for a few kinds:
If you’re in the mood for fish filets, they’re also delicious in the microwave. Simply make sure that they’re about the same thickness everywhere to ensure even cooking.
Place the fish in a microwavable dish, then add a little water. Season to taste and microwave for 3 to 5 minutes.
Yes, you can even microwave meat, but check to make sure it’s properly cooked. To do so, you should cover it.
You can stop the microwave during cooking to stir the meat to ensure it cooks evenly. It’s important to let the meat rest for a few minutes after cooking so the heat can distribute throughout.
Here are the cooking times for different types of meat:
Ready to start microwaving? Here are a few recipes to inspire you. They’re definitely time-savers!
The perfect recipe to start the day.
Looking for lunch ideas? This bowl has everything you need.
After a long day, this is the ultimate meal.
The essential mug cake to treat yourself to an easy, delicious dessert.
Enfin, nous espérons que cet article vous inspirera à franchir le pas de la cuisson au micro-ondes. N’hésitez pas à consulter notre guide du meal prep, pour préparer vos repas à l’avance et les réchauffer au micro-ondes 😉
Faites-nous savoir si vous avez des recettes préférées que vous préparez dans votre micro-ondes et quelles autres options vous aimeriez essayer!