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How to Use a Microwave Oven

Microwave Safety




Let's learn more about how to use a microwave oven. But first, a few words about microwave safety:
  • The foods will be very hot when removed from the oven, so use oven pads and be careful.
  • If the food is covered during cooking, make sure to leave a small portion vented, or uncovered, so steam doesn't build up and burn you when the covering is removed.
  • The foods should sit as directed in the recipe after being removed from the oven so the heat can continue to spread and dissipate. This is called 'standing time', but it is actually more cooking time.
  • Most ovens have hot spots, and if you eat the food directly from the oven, a few areas could be superheated and will burn.
  • On the flip side, there can also be cold spots where the food doesn't get hot enough to kill bacteria. Follow stirring and rotating instructions carefully.
  • Don't use metal containers unless the recipe specifically directs you to: as stated above, microwaves bounce off metal, which can cause arcing and a fire inside the oven. Some recipes may call for shielding parts of the food, especially meats, with small amounts of foil. This is perfect acceptable as long as the directions are carefully followed.
  • Make sure any glass, plastic containers, and plastic wrap you use are labeled 'microwave safe'. You can also test containers, as directed on the next page.
  • Don't heat water or other liquids beyond the time recommended by the manufacturer or any recipe. Superheating can occur when plain water is heated in a clean cup for an excessive amount of time. The water will look innocuous, but when moved it can literally erupt out of the cup. Don't heat the water twice - that adds to the superheating risk. Adding sugar or coffee granules to the water will reduce the risk of superheating.
  • Never operate a microwave if the door is damaged or doesn't close securely.
  • Don't operate the oven while it is empty. This can also cause arcing and start a fire.
  • It's also a good idea to stand 3-4 feet away from the microwave when it is operating - just to be on the safe side!

Now go to the next page for cooking tips to get the best results possible from your microwave oven.

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