Is it safe to microwave foods?

Nobunny should ever put metal in the microwave!

Despite the sensational headline, yes, it is safe to microwave foods.

But some methods of microwave cooking and reheating can be harmful or downright dangerous.

This becomes especially important knowledge for college students now away from the watchful eye that kept them from blowing up the house for 18 years. I stopped flammables from going in a microwave more than once as an undergrad.

For the rest of you, here are some basic DOs or DON’Ts (adapted from the USDA and Food Network) :

DON’T put metal in a microwave…ever. You will cause sparking and potential damage. This includes aluminum foil and those portable coffee mugs.

DO microwave by number. Avoid plastics No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7, as these could leach chemicals into your foods. Plastic wrap and Styrofoam can also melt. Transfer to a different container and use a glass lid to cover the food.

DON’T heat acidic foods, like tomato sauce, in plastic containers.

DO choose containers made of glass or ceramic or plastic that’s made for microwaving.

DON’T cook large cuts of meat on full power. Instead, use medium power (50%) for longer periods to ensure heat reaches the center without overcooking outer areas.

DO stir or rotate food halfway to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive.


Any others I missed?

2 thoughts on “Is it safe to microwave foods?

  1. What’s with those metal racks that come with microwaves? That’s always been a disconnect for me: “Never put metal in the microwave, except for this metal rack that we give you and this metal temperature probe…”

  2. Excellent and always timely guidelines for microwaves especially this time of year with kids going off to college. One suggestion is to add something about the “metal” racks in many OTR’s. Too often users see the metal racks and figure it’s OK to use a metal pan on the rack. This is especially true when company is helping with the cooking and not familiar with metal racks in microwaves.

    Metal pans are solid and some, when used in the microwave, can cause arcing (like a lightning bolt only continuous) with the side of the oven cavity. If this continues too long it can burn a hole in the oven wall and require the unit to be replaced. Best practice: No metal or foil in the microwave.

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