The applications possible through the microwave oven number by the dozens. Microwaves typically serve as the go-to machine for heating up your leftovers from last night’s dinner, straight from the refrigerator to your dinner table.
You’re only using a small percentage of its capabilities by using it for reheating food though. You can do more than just heat water and food with it in minute-long increments.
A microwave serves as quite the handy and useful kitchen appliance when all is said and done. So what are the uses of a microwave? Keep on reading to find out.
You may also like: 22 Surprising Things Your Microwave Can Do
Enumerating the Basic Uses of a Microwave
Most people use their microwave oven every day to heat only water and food. This is underutilization of the machine. You can do further than using it as a food or leftover reheater.
It’s The Best at Reheating Food and Water
There’s a reason why most people use the microwave for reheating food and water.
Actually, several reasons. The first reason is that they’re lazy. The second reason is that the oven is remarkably effective at reheating food and drink rather quickly.
It efficiently uses micro radio waves to excite the water molecules enough to raise the temperature of beverages and dishes to acceptable levels.
It doesn’t make the food soggy and retains its essential nutrients for good measure.
Cook Food with the Microwave with Recipes and Presets
You can cook things with the microwave by using fresh ingredients to get maximum utility out of the device.
It mostly boils down to properly following recipes. While most prefer to use stoves and even ovens to cook stuff, you can cook loads of food with your microwave.
Just follow the recipe and incrementally heat up the food so that it gets perfectly cooked without evaporating all of its moisture to steam. Multi-function ovens even offer presets for different food types.
Steaming, Boiling, Blanching, Roasting, Grilling, Baking, and Defrosting
Microwaves can be used to reheat any type of food, to be honest. Even frozen ones, actually.
Not only can you use the microwave and its different modes to steam, boil, blanch, roast, grill, or break food items.
It can also defrost frozen meats and vegetables rather quickly rather than having to wait hours for them to defrost for dish preparation.
You can even make poached eggs with the microwave since that’s the easiest method of cooking eggs with the machine.
Specific Dishes to Make with a Microwave
There are specific dishes you can make with a microwave almost instantly aside from TV dinners or microwaveable dishes you can get out of the convenience store.
Microwave the Perfect Poached Egg
A microwave can make the perfect poached egg. Just do the following. Boil some water, put the water in a microwaveable bowl, and add a smidgen or tiny teaspoon of white vinegar to it.
From there, gently crack an egg open on the bowl and lightly pierce the yolk with a toothpick. Use cling film to cover unto the bowl then microwave the concoction for half a minute.
Remove the bowl, gently turn the egg, then microwave for 20 seconds. This will perfectly poach your egg.
Cooking Potatoes with a Microwave
Another vegetable you can cook with your microwave quite easily are potatoes. It’s important to prick the potatoes on all sides using toothpicks or forks.
This keeps the water molecules inside them from building up in pressure and heat a la pressure cooker.
Cook as many potatoes that will fit inside your microwave as possible for about 2 minutes at the highest power level or voltage. Remove the bowl, turn them over, then cook them for 2 more minutes.
Zapping Bacon or Fish with a Microwave
To cook bacon with your microwave, wrap them in kitchen or paper towels then zap them in a microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.
The towel soaks the moisture while the bacons get fried in their own oils, resulting in evenly cooked crispy bacon. As for cooking fish, you can do so by wrapping the fish in a microwaveable plastic.
Add seasoning like lime, pepper, and salt to taste. Zap the wrapped fish in the oven for 2 minutes. If the fillet is quite thick, cook them further in additional 2-minute increments. Watch the fish while cooking to prevent overcooking the dish.
Your microwave can double as a handy steamer as well. Microwaves can cook vegetables as well as potatoes and fish.
Just prick the vegetables with forks to give them steam holes then cook them in the microwave with water below them for 3 to 4 minutes.
Steaming vegetables inside this oven type minimizes nutrient loss. It’s also faster at steaming the plant-type food compared to a traditional stovetop cooker or steamer.
Soaking Lentils and Beans with a Microwave
Using beans and lentils tends to require you to soak them overnight before preparing them for a stew or a soup.
You can shorten their soaking time with the assistance of a microwave, though. To be more specific, soak the lentils or beans (they should be submerged) in a bowl filled with water with a pinch of bicarbonate soda.
From there, microwave them at full power for 10 minutes. Leave them in the oven for 40 minutes. Voila. You now have prepped lentils or beans in a little over 50 minutes instead of 8 hours.
Helpful Microwave Uses for Fixing Food Items
Is your bread looking a bit stale? How about the potato chips you’ve exposed to the air for too long because you left their bag open? You can fix these food items and more with the assistance of your microwave.
Rehydrating Stale Bread
Usually, as many who’ve used a microwave to reheat pizza would know, a microwave typically steals moisture from the food (especially if you overheat the food for too long).
However, if you have a stale piece or loaf of bread, you can do the opposite and rehydrate their crust instead.
Just cover them with a kitchen or paper towel soaked with water. Put them in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Keep doing the process at 10-minute increments until the stale bread is back to normal.
Toasting Nuts and Spices
Aside from microwaving egg recipes, you can also toast nuts and spices to make them nuttier and spicier.
Zapping your seeds, spices, and nuts should leave a beautiful aroma emanating from them.
Just do so at short 15 second bursts. Repeat the 15-second microwaving procedure until you get the right delicious scent from all these spices and nuts that should make your kitchen smelling more delectable when push comes to shove. That toasted nut smell is the best.
Make Potato Chips Crunchy Again
You can induce crunch to stale potato chips by microwaving them. It kind of works like with bread, but you remove moisture from the wafers instead of bringing back moisture to them.
Wrap the chips in a paper or kitchen towel then zap them in your microwave oven for 30 seconds. Repeat as needed. The towel absorbs the moisture from the chips until their crunchiness comes back.
Making Citrus Fruits Juicier
Want to make your citrus fruits like oranges and lemons juicier? Zap them with the microwave.
To be more specific, when taking a citrus fruit out of your refrigerator, you shouldn’t juice it afterwards. Rather, in order to maximize its juiciness, microwave that fruit for about 20 seconds. This allows you to squeeze more juice out of the fruit than before.
The All-Around Disinfecting Machine
Yes, it’s true. You can disinfect items in your kitchen like sponges and cutting boards by zapping them with your handy-dandy microwave.
Disinfect Kitchen Items
Sponges and plastic cutting boards can be disinfected by your microwave oven as long as they’re microwave-safe.
It involves soaking them in some lemon juice (made juicier by a 20-second zap in the oven) then heating them in your appliance for about 60 seconds or a minute. This deodorizes and disinfects them instantly.
More About Disinfecting Sponges
You need to disinfect your sponge from time to time in light of the sheer amount of leftover food bits and resulting bacteria that can stuck in it like some sort of spongy Petri dish.
Aside from lemon juice, zap the soaked sponge with a dash of vinegar in a bowl of water instead. It just takes a minute to disinfect it thoroughly.
More About Disinfecting Cutting Boards
Cutting boards regularly get pieces of onion, garlic, shallot, and gingerly stuck into them.
However, it’s best to disinfect the microwaveable plastic cutting board instead of a wooden one that might catch fire inside your oven.
Again, microwave the board soaked in a bowl of lime juice and water for about 60 seconds for full disinfection. You can do the same procedure to disinfect dog toys and children’s toys as well.
Expectations and Realities
For some, the microwave serves as an indispensable appliance. For others, it’s a TV dinner maker and a cup of water heater in case you don’t want to heat up a whole thermos of water instead. It makes life easier in more ways than one.
Many an American household has at least one microwave oven to go hand-in-hand with other essential appliances like a refrigerator. Sure, some dishes are easier to cook on the stove than on the microwave.
However, this go-getter of a device can surprise you in more ways than one.
- “Microwave“, Wikipedia.org, Retrieved February 10, 2021
- “Top 8 Uses of Microwave Oven“, Ross’s Discount Home Centre, January 23, 2018
- Devavish Patel, “20 Uses for Microwave That Will Surprise You For Sure“, LifeHack.org, Retrieved February 10, 2021