This is a collaborative post.

Microwave ovens have become a staple appliance in many homes, usually used in reheating food. However, do you know what else it can do?  

Microwave and Oven

Microwave ovens have been around for a long time yet no one seemed to realize how underrated this versatile appliance is. Besides reheating your food, making mug cakes and popcorns, this appliance can do so much more, even non-food related items, and in less time.

Now you may be thinking how on earth a microwave can be useful for non-food-related items? Read on and find out all the different ways you can use this underrated appliance to its full potential.

However, even with the best microwave convection ovens, do keep in mind to proceed with caution as many of these tips are not approved by the manufacturers and also do not use anything that contains metal.

Your Disinfectant Friend

The sponges you use to clean your kitchen may contain harmful bacteria and other germs. With the help of the microwave, you can just toss the sponges (make sure they are wet) in a bowl and let the appliance kill 99% of the microorganisms. You can also disinfect baby and pet toys, but first, make sure they won’t melt. 

Easiest & Quickest way to make Breakfast

Your mornings will never be the same again once you learn the tricks of using the microwave oven to make a delicious breakfast. 

  • To make eggs: just pop in 2 eggs in a Pyrex cup measuring around 2 cups and microwave it for around 60 – 90 seconds. And voila! You’ve got yourself an egg patty which you can eat with toast or an English muffin along with cheese, where the heat of the eggs will melt it nicely. Next up, is how to make cheese. 
  • To make cheese: you’re craving something cheesy, probably pizza or lasagne, but you don’t have cheese and due to the ongoing pandemic, going out only for cheese seems to be pointless. Never fret! You can make your very own ricotta right at home. In a microwave-safe bowl, incorporate 2 cups of whole milk, ¼ cup lemon juice or white vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt, and let it churn in high heat for about 3 – 5 minutes.  Remove it from the microwave when the milk has curdled. Sieve the mixture over a large bowl to strain all the liquid and leave it that way for about an hour. And there you have ricotta cheese ready to be used. Simple and quick.
  • Making mug cakes: But of course, you knew about this! For people who crave sweeter breakfast, you can make mug cakes of any flavour along with french toast. A weekend-worthy breakfast, every day! 
  • Making crispy bacon: Microwave ovens not only cook your bacon but also make it extra-crispy and less messy. All you need to do is place paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and place the bacon on top. Then put another layer of paper towels on top of the bacon and start cooking for about 4 – 6 minutes, keeping watch that the bacon doesn’t burn. This way you’ll have fat-free bacon (as the paper towels will absorb most of the fat) and also a grease-free oven. Healthy and delicious!

Butter browning

We often use brown butter to prepare various kinds of dishes such as cider-glazed chicken, or carrot-apple spice cake. It becomes a bit messy making it on the stovetop as the butter spurts in every direction and also it is quite time-consuming.

To avoid the hazards, all you have to do is place butter in a large microwave-proof bowl with a cover on top and stash it in the oven for about 6 – 10 minutes, obviously monitoring the butter a few times after 6 minutes intervals.

You’ll know it’s done when it smells nutty, and you see a darker colour along with small bits on the bottom. It’s ready to be used!

Cooking a 12-pound Turkey

Yes, the secret towards a delicious and faster-cooking turkey, is through the microwave. If only you knew it before.

First, thaw the frozen turkey naturally instead of microwaving it. Then, place it, breast side down on a big microwave-safe plate, and roast it for 4 minutes on full power.

Then take it out, flip it on the other side, remove the drippings and then continue roasting for 8 minutes on half the power, keeping watch in intervals.

Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey which should be done at about 165 degrees.

However, keep in mind that it won’t be crispy and will not show the golden-brown colour that you would normally get when roasted in an electric oven. You can keep basting it and add a browning sauce to get that colour.

Drying Herbs

Usually, we use store-bought readymade spices for our dishes, on the other hand, some people tend to dry the leaves out with sunlight, which takes time and days.

With the microwave, you can dry those within 3 minutes (by placing them in between paper towels) and use a spice grinder to powder them for storing or use in your dishes.

It is said to work best with herbs that have woody stems such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc. It can also act as a solution to those herbs which are on the verge of going bad.

Garlic Peeling

Peeling garlic naturally can be a daunting and annoying task, plus it leaves that garlicky odour on your fingers for days. This microwave hack will make it easier and quicker for you to get rid of the peel without your hands smelling like garlic. 

Pop in garlic cloves in a microwave-safe bowl or if you’re using a small amount just pop it in the oven plate and let it run for 10 seconds.

You can then squeeze the garlic out of the peel, and you can rest assured it won’t take that amount of time to cook the garlic, it will also retain that raw garlic flavour. 

Making Tacos & Avocado 

Taco nights will become a rage once you see how easily you can make crunchy tortillas (without oil) and soft, squishy avocado.

For the crunchy base, pop in a corn tortilla and microwave it in high heat for 1 minute. Then flip it and toast it for another 30 seconds. And there you have it: a crunchy base ready for the toppings.

As for the guacamole, the entire dish is ruined if the avocado is stiff as a rock. So to make sure it’s all soft, prick the avocado with a fork before popping it into the microwave.

Then let it run for 30 seconds and check if it has reached your desired texture. If you’re worried about the flavour, don’t be, because it won’t affect the flavour of the fruit. 

Rising the Yeast Dough

You’re throwing a party and still have pizzas to make, or you are starving after a long day and are craving crunchy bread. The only problem is it takes time for the dough to rise which can ruin your craving and your time. 

Using the microwave, you can make your yeast dough rise faster in 2 ways: 

  • You can place hot, boiling water in a bowl and place it next to the bowl of yeast dough in the microwave and close the door so no steam can escape.
  • Another way is to preheat your microwave for about a minute and then place the bowl of yeast dough in the microwave and close the door. 

Both processes will ensure the rise of your dough within 10 – 20 minutes and then use it to make a pizza or regular bread. This method is much quicker than placing the bowl of dough in front of the stovetop and waiting an hour for it to rise. 

Hot & clean towels

Ever wonder how the stewards in an aeroplane provide you with hot towels on board soon after takeoff? Yes, they’ve been microwaved.

This method is also used in salons and spas when giving clients facials or hair treatments. It not only clears your skin from germs but gives it added moisture. 

Just wet the towels and then squeeze the extra water out. Then place them in an oven-proof bowl and microwave them in a 30-second intervals, depending on how hot you want the towel to be. Apply it on your skin and face and feel relaxed and rejuvenated. 

Use it as an Incubator or a cabinet

You can place the food inside the microwave when you want to keep the food warm for someone who’s probably running late or you’re not yet hungry enough to eat. The air-tight space keeps the food warm and fresh for about an hour.

You can also use it as an extension to your kitchen cabinets if you have run out of space. 

By now you must agree that you’ve taken your microwave for granted and judged it to be an underrated appliance. It is the opposite. It can not only save you time but also cook delicious food, with flavourings intact, and also help out with daunting tasks that otherwise would take you forever to complete. Now that you know, use your investment to its full potential and reap the benefits.

Person pressing buttons a microwave

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