Not cooking your veggies in it
This isn’t a ‘mistake’ per se, but often people forget that this is an easy alternative to stove cooking. Additionally, cooking your vegetables in the microwave is the best way of maintaining as many of the nutrients, vitamin C, and glucosinolate they possess as possible.
You never use the pause button
The ‘pause’ button is an under-utilized form of microwave management, and one we’re sure you aren’t using nearly enough. Stirring leftovers or ready meals halfway through is absolutely essential for making sure they are cooked properly, and this is where such a button becomes super handy.
You reheat boiled eggs
There are certain things that you should not be putting in the microwave, and reheating hard-boiled eggs is a big no-no. Reheating them with the shell on is going to lead to an exploding eggy mess. Instead, you’re going to want to peel it (maybe even cut it in half) then heat it slowly, ensuring it’s heated evenly.
Microwaving with plastic containers
Unless your plastic container specifically says “microwave safe” make sure you aren’t using it to reheat your food. This is because many plastic storage containers contain chemicals such as BPA that are linked to health concerns, such as heart disease, diabetes, and infertility.
You aren’t using it to dry herbs
Did you know that instead of waiting ages for your fresh herbs to dry out, you can actually dry them using the microwave? A big mistake many of us make is that we don’t actually bother doing this, and it can save you a lot of time. Sandwich the herbs of your choice between two paper towels and microwave for around 30 seconds.
You don’t use it to peel garlic
Peeling garlic is one of the least fun and most tedious bits about the whole process of cooking with it, but luckily, microwaves remove this issue. By popping an entire head of garlic in the microwave for around 20 seconds, the cloves will peel themselves, so that your fingers will remain garlic-free.
Not prepping Sunday breakfast in the microwave
Believe it or not, you can actually cook eggs and bacon in the microwave, saving you the effort of firing up the stove. Scrambled eggs and omelets are the ideal choice for microwave cooking, whilst the bacon can be placed on a covered plate, and cooked at one-minute intervals.
Not knowing its wattage
Many microwaves are slightly different, and they behave in various ways depending upon the wattage levels. Figuring out yours is the best way of making sure you cook effectively. Knowing this information plays a big role in helping you determine the correct cooking times, so nothing will ever be under or overcooked again.
You’ve never microwaved potato chips
We’re not talking about emptying a bag of potato chips into a bowl and nuking them. Instead, we mean slicing potatoes super thin, spraying with oil, seasoning, and cooking on a microwaveable plate, uncovered, for three minutes. Then let them cool down so they crisp up nicely, and you have homemade potato chips!
Not making microwave lattes
You don’t actually need a coffee machine to make delicious lattes, you can actually do it in the microwave. Firstly, brew espresso on the stove, then filled a lidded jar half full with milk and shake well. Take the lid off and microwave for 30 seconds, to give you the perfect warm milk for your espresso.
You cover plates with plastic wrap
Covering your food when using the microwave is always a great idea when it comes to preventing issues with splattering, but plastic wrap should be avoided. This covering contains chemicals that can seep into your food, so make sure you use a moist paper towel instead in order to get the healthiest outcome.
You don’t toast nuts
Yes, you can always do this on a stove or in the oven, but the microwave is far more efficient, and you’re less likely to burn them. Lay the chopped nuts out on a (microwavable) plate, and nuke at 30 second intervals until you reach the desired texture and color that you’re aiming for.
No regular cleaning schedule
Keeping your microwave clean is the best way to ensure that it is in full working order as much as possible, and this is why you should implement a cleaning schedule. Not having one of these can lead to your microwave running at a less the optimal level, and this may cost you money if you need to fix or replace it due to malfunction.
You didn’t know you could make caramel
Caramel on the stove is incredibly difficult to master, which is why it is so useful to be able to cook it in the microwave. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a bowl, cover it, and cook it in two-minute increments until you get it just exactly the way you want it to be.
You defrost meat in its packaging
You can absolutely use the microwave to defrost meat (as long as you follow the correct guidlines for the type of meat you have), but don’t defrost it in its packaging. Chemicals from the packaging can seep into the meat as it is defrosting, and this brings with it a number of different health concerns.
You use it for non-food items
Occasionally, people consider drying wet gloves, socks, and other garments in their microwaves, but this is not a good idea. The problem with using any kind of non-food item in the microwave is that there is a potential fire hazard. This is especially true if the item contains flammable materials, like cotton or polyester.
You’ve never used it to husk corn
If you’re looking for the perfect way to make corn on the cob hassle-free, your microwave is the best way to do this. The best thing you can do here is cut the handle off the corn cob, then stick it in the microwave on high for two to four minutes. The heat separates the corn from the husk and it can easily slide out.
You reheat leftovers with the lid too tight
Covering food in the microwave is something you should always be doing, but you also need to ensure the lid is never completely sealed. Sealing the lid too tightly can make it almost impossible to open until it has cooled down, resulting in trapped steam or even exploding soups and other liquids.
You use the wrong setting
One of the most common mistakes a lot of people make when cooking with their microwaves is using the wrong setting. You have to try to do the best you can to understand the settings of your microwave. Try referring to a manual (some manuals are available online) if possible, as this is going to help you cook or heat your food correctly.
You forget you’ve used it
Sometimes people forget they have used their microwaves altogether! This often results in forgotten food or liquids, that have been left to grow cold again. If you reheat or defrost something and then go away and do something else, there is a chance you will forget about it. Where possible try to stay near the microwave so you remember it’s there.
Defrosting meat incorrectly
Defrosting meat is one of the big advantages of using a microwave, but this is something you need to make sure you’re doing correctly. When your microwave beeps mid-cycle (when using the defrost setting), this is a sign that you need to turn the meat over, and remove any sections that are already thawed out, so they don’t start to cook.
Not covering your food when heating it
Reheating food to eat is one of the most common reasons to use the microwave, but you need to make sure you do this properly. One of the big mistakes to keep in mind is reheating your food uncovered, because this could lead to food or sauce exploding all over the inside of the microwave.
Not cleaning up after mess
Mess can happen in your microwave particularly when you are reheating without covering. Where possible, this is somewhere that you need to take action. Trying to use your microwave when it is covered in mess typically leaves residue on food, and can slow down cooking times. Not to mention, it can also reduce your microwave’s functionality.
Buying the wrong microwave
Another big mistake that many of us make with our microwaves is that we actually wind up buying the wrong microwave for what we need. It is really important to make sure you look at the different options you are considering, and ensure that you are making an informed choice when buying your appliance.
Putting your microwave in the wrong place
This might not seem like something that would be an issue, but it can actually have more of an impact than you might think. It doesn’t really matter where you house your microwave, but there should be as much space as possible left around it. This should be around 10 centimetres at the sides and 20 centimetres on the top.
Not keeping on top of grease and grime
You may also need to ensure that you keep on top of grease and grime in your microwave. Allowing this to build up and not keeping on top of it can reduce the effectiveness of your microwave, and the way in which it is able to cook food, which may become costly in the long-term.
Not using the microwave enough
People frequently make the mistake of thinking that microwaves should be used just for defrosting and reheating. But according to experts, it can actually be used for so much more than this. Consulting the manual will shine a light on these different options, or you can look online. Additonally, realizing the versatility of your microwave can help you feel like you’ve got good value for money.
You’re not tailoring the levels to what you want
There is no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to using a microwave, and this is something you need to understand. When reheating food, it is best to try to use a lower power level. This is going to help you get the best result, even though it’s going to take a little longer.
You don’t own a microwave at all
Microwaves are incredibly useful and versatile appliances, and can fulfil a great range of different services for you. If you want to make the cooking process at home much simpler, and reduce the amount of work and effort you have to go through, get one if you can – it will revolutionize your life.
Not playing with your food
Microwaves tend to heat the surface of the food incredibly quickly, but take a lot longer to heat the inside. This is why you need to intermittently stir food in order to get the heat to the right places, and make sure your food is heated in an even and balanced way throughout. There is a strategy to this, but it’s easy once you’re familar with it.
Using the wrong food cover
This is actually quite a common mistake, as many people believe they can use any type of cover, but this just isn’t the case. Avoid plastic bags, plastic wraps, and styrofoam as much as possible. These can be cumbersome, as well as presenting potential health concerns too.
Ignoring the importance of the turntable
Rotation is a pivotal part of the microwaving process, that helps to ensure that food is moving correctly and heating properly. You can also make use of the turntable by stirring the food during the cooking process to help make this more effective. When setting up a new microwave, make sure the turntable is installed correctly and is not loose.
Not using a microwave-safe container
When you are looking to microwave food effectively, it is important to make sure you are making use of the right containers. A common mistake people tend to make is that they use containers that are not safe for microwave use, and this is bad for your overall health, and for heating effectively. Most containers should say whether they are microwave safe.
Forgetting to remove the fork
There are so many things that you need to consider when it comes to microwaving your food effectively, and a big mistake is forgetting to remove the fork (or other metal items). Leaving metal inside your food dish is going to cause damage to the microwave, as well as potentially even leading to a fire.
Eating too quickly after cooking
Another big mistake that people tend to make with their microwaves is eating their food too quickly after cooking it. For the best (and safest) results, have a little bit of patience before you start tucking into your food. Letting your food rest a little before eating is a great approach to take, and can make a huge difference to the taste and enjoyment.
Microwaving something that sparks
Microwaving foods that spark is not advisable, so these kinds of foods need to be avoided. According to the US Department of Agriculture, some of the foods that can spark include things like hot dog sausages, carrots, and spinach. This is something you need to avoid, to take the best possible care of your microwave.
Heating up peppers
Bell peppers are a great and versatile option that can be combined with a lot of different dishes. However, microwaving them is not a good idea because hot peppers emit some of their capsaicin, which can sting your eyes and nose when you open the door of the microwave. A more pleasant option is to sauté them instead.
Not replacing your microwave when it needs it
One of the biggest mistakes we make when using a microwave is that we don’t replace them when they need replacing. If the door isn’t working properly, or the cooking time is taking too long, these could be indicators that your machine needs to be replaced. Don’t ignore these – it could lead to a dangerous or expensive fault.
Using the power button
The problem with using your power button is that most microwaves will default to their highest power setting. This is why you need to try to ignore the power button, and make sure you use lower settings in order to ensure that you are heating your food in the safest way possible.
You use too much water when steaming vegetables
When you are cooking vegetables in your microwave, it is important to make sure you don’t use too much water. To minimize the loss of nutrients found in the vegetable, you need to try to reduce the amount of water you are using when you cook your veg. This will help them to retain valuable vitamins like B, C, and D.