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How to prepare food safely using a microwave

October 20, 2014

Microwave ovens are highly convenient time-saving tools capable of cooking hot meals in a short space of time. These versatile appliances are just as capable of cooking your food as any other method, whilst still maintaining the essential nutrients and vitamins that you need.

However, just like when dealing with any other appliance, it is important for people to observe sensible practices when they are using their microwave. Failing to follow food safety practices can result in scalds, burns and food that has been improperly cooked.

Avoiding injury

It is essential that you always take care in handling hot foods, regardless of the appliance that you have used to heat them. Remember:

  • A microwave should never be used to heat a baby’s bottle
  • Oven mitts or gloves should be utilised to protect hands from extremely hot dishes
  • When food is wrapped to be cooked, there should always be an exit available that allows steam to escape
  • Never use the microwave to heat eggs still in their shells as the pressure buildup can cause them to rupture

Thorough cooking in the microwave

Though microwaves are undoubtedly a convenience in our busy lives, they are not always ideal for evenly and thoroughly cooking food. If parts of your meal aren’t properly heated, they could contain harmful bacteria that cause serious illness and food poisoning. Always use the following tips for safe microwave cooking:

  • Try to cut your food into smaller portions before you microwave it, as this will make the product easier to cook evenly and thoroughly
  • Use a lid that has been classified as ‘microwave safe’ to ensure a more even heating process
  • Rotate or stir your food at least once, halfway through the cooking process
  • Shallow containers will allow for better cooking in the microwave so utilise these whenever possible
  • Always ensure frozen food has been thawed before you begin to cook it unless it is intended to be cooked from frozen. Remember, even small cold spots can provide the perfect location for bacteria to thrive