If we are honest, we’ve all done it at least once. Made a mistake with the microwave. Whether it’s been a simple mistiming incident, or putting in a non-microwave-proof plate I am sure we have all goofed up. Here are five microwave mishaps:
1. The Potato
Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes. It can be quite tricky to get the timing right. I calculated that it took about 50 minutes to cook a medium sized potato in the oven. The microwave should be at least twice as quick. So put the timer on for 25 minutes. On full power. Then I went out to the local shop just up the road to get some butter to put on my potato. Bad move. You should never leave anything on in the kitchen and go out. When I got back after twenty minutes, I opened my front door and was greeted with the acrid smell of cooking smoke. I opened up the microwave door and there was a totally blackened cremated wreck of a potato. So two lessons learned: One. Never leave the microwave on and go out- you should periodically check to see how the potato is cooking. Two. Potatoes are cooked more quickly than you realise in a microwave. Subsequently I discovered that on full power a potato will normally cook in just one third of the time it takes in the oven. Oh and make sure you prick the potato with a fork before you commence microwaving- otherwise it can explode and make a nasty mess of the inside of your oven!
While some people prefer their oysters raw, I prefer them cooked. But to microwave oysters is a tricky thing. Even though they all look the same size, I found that some were undercooked, and one or two exploded making a hell of a mess inside the microwave. I have no idea why oysters are so problematic in a microwave- might be something to do with the shell perhaps? So I am not saying that you shouldn’t cook oysters in a microwave, but just do it very carefully. Like ten seconds. Check. Another ten seconds. Check. And cover them with some microwave-proof paper just in case one or two are going to blow up!
3. Unsuitable plates.
Now I knew that you shouldn’t put anything metallic in a microwave from an early age. Tin Foil? Nope. A metal pot? Nope. But only last week I made a chili con carne and had some left over. I’d served it up on one of my more fancy plates. What I couldn’t eat I left on the plate and put it in the fridge. Next day I thought I’d finish it off for lunch. I popped the plate of chili in the microwave and set it for full power for three and a half minutes. Shut the door and… crackle spit fireworks! Sparks all over the place! What was up? It was the plate. It had a tiny circle of gold around the edge and this was causing the microwave to kick up a fuss. I was surprised that so small a metallic area on an otherwise normal plate reacted as it did in the microwave. So always check your plate before you put it in the microwave. Anything metallic there and you’re likely to have problems!
Cooking or re-heating pasta, bread or cakes just doesn’t work. Microwaves work my agitating the water molecules, but they also take out the moisture, and will make the pasta, bread or cake chewy and dry. Not good! But if you don’t believe me- go ahead and try! Perhaps a sprinkle of water will help before you microwave, but I still think you should avoid microwaving these foods.
5. Takeaway Containers
You’ve had a take-away from your local Chinese or Indian or Mexican. There’s some food left in the plastic containers they came in. Put it in the fridge. Then put it in the microwave the next day for enjoying round two of the food. No! Those cheap plastic takeaway containers are not microwave proof. I ended up with a sticky, gooey mass of noodles and melted plastic!
Of course the main way to avoid problems with your microwave cooking is to read the instructions. It may sound a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people buy a new microwave and don’t bother to read the instructions because they’ve used a microwave before. Modern microwaves are powerful and versatile and you may be missing out on what cooking you can do in a microwave.