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Knowing how to use a microwave properly from setup to clean up can help you get the most out of this versatile kitchen appliance. Even the best microwaves can be misused and ruin your food or make a needless mess.
We’ll go over how to set up and operate your microwave the right way to get the best out of it, and some tips on safety and what not to do with it. Though they’re essentially the same, there are some extra guidelines when it comes to using range microwaves that you may want to read about. Advanced or specialized features like microwave sensors also come with some of their own best practices that are worth looking into.
Two applications microwaves particularly excel at are defrosting meats and other frozen food items, and steaming vegetables.
Your microwave’s control panel should have numbers 1-9 on it. You’ll use these to enter the cooking time and power level you want to use. There will also be a start button and usually, buttons for specific heating modes including reheat, defrost and cook. You can dial these in and usually get good results, but you may want to spend some time to find the best manual settings for the job.
Note: don’t reheat leftovers more than four days old- they’re too likely to contain too much bacteria to be safe to eat compared to fresh food.
Microwaves are a good option for many hot foods, but don’t excel at cooking fish, and aren’t generally suitable at all for cooking soups, stews, or sauces.
Are microwaves bad for your health?
Studies have proven that the use of microwave ovens and the consumption of foods cooked in them provide little to no health risk over food cooked with other appliances. The electromagnetic radiation that microwaves use for heating is non-ionizing radiation, meaning it does not linger in foods after they’re cooked in a microwave oven, and foods generally retain the same levels of nutrition.
What is a convection microwave oven?
A convection microwave oven combines the heating methods of both a convection oven and a microwave, allowing for the roasting and baking of foods while they’re simultaneously microwave-heated. This makes them versatile appliances that take up less space than two different ovens.
How often should you clean a microwave?
It’s recommended that you clean the inside of your microwave once a week using a mild soap, water, and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Cleaning products made specifically for microwaves aren’t necessary but are also an option.
STAT: The cook power button on a microwave allows for adjustment of cook power between 10-90% (source)
STAT: The standard defrost button power setting is 30 to 40% of full power. (source)
STAT: The differences between microwave oven designs mean that users can’t be 100% sure that microwave radiation isn’t being emitted during cooking, though the overall chance is generally low enough to be negligible. (source)