Some 30 years ago, domestic kitchens received the gift of the microwave and quickly became dependent on it for lightning-fast heating. Younger generations can’t even imagine making porridge, hot chocolate or popcorn without it. And yet so many of us are using the microwave incorrectly for reheated foods. Sure, we know to never zap aluminium foil, metal, or plastic, but there are equally dangerous risks involved in nuking certain foods. For starters, a microwave does not cook food evenly, which often means that any bacteria present in the reheated foods will survive. Then there’s the problem of microwave blasts directly contributing to the production of carcinogenic toxins. To minimise the microwave risks, don’t use it to cook or warm these ten foods:
Shelled or unshelled, when a hard-boiled egg is cooked in a microwave, the moisture inside creates an extreme steam build-up, like a miniature pressure cooker, to the point where the egg can explode! Even scarier, the egg won’t burst inside the microwave while it’s being heated, but afterward, which means the scalding hot egg can erupt in your hand, on your plate, or even in your mouth. To avoid turning your egg into a steam bomb, cut it into small pieces before reheating, or better yet, avoid putting it in the microwave altogether.
Many new mothers freeze and store their breast milk for later use, which is great, as long as it’s not reheated in a microwave. In the same way that microwaves heat plates of food unevenly, they can also warm a bottle of breast milk unevenly, creating ‘hot spots’ that can severely burn a baby’s mouth and throat. Then there’s the carcinogen hazard that comes with reheating plastic. It’s recommended that breast milk and formula be thawed and reheated in a pot on the stove, or using hot tap water. As a workaround, you could heat a cup of water in the microwave and then drop the bag or bottle of breast milk in it to thaw.
Read this to find out about four things you should never microwave at all.