The Nukes of Hazard: Safe Microwaving

by in Food Safety, Healthy Tips, April 28, 2009
microwave
Is this thing safe?

There’s more to know about the microwave than which buttons to press. Sure, it’s handy for leftovers or a quick snack for the kids, but you can’t just pop anything into the insta-oven.

Hazards of Microwaving
Here’s an oldie: Never stand directly in front of the microwave when something’s cooking. My dad always said we’d get radiated. The FDA, however, says the microwave actually emits very low levels of radiation and is safe for everyday use. If you’ve got an older model with damaged doors and loose latches, it could leak more. Replace that baby immediately — newer ones are more energy-efficient, anyway. And while the levels of radiation may be minimal, you still don’t need to stand directly in front of the microwave while something heats up. Get back to cooking and prepping other stuff! That’s the beauty of the microwave…

The Right Containers & Covers
Rule #1: No metals in the microwave ever! Unless you want to see sparks, that is. Certain plastics shouldn’t be in there either. Check the number on the bottom of the containers to see if yours is microwave-safe. Numbers to avoid are #6, #3 and #7 as they’re more likely to leach chemicals into your foods. (And definitely don’t heat acidic foods — tomato sauce especially — in plastic containers.)

Other definite no-nos: Chinese food take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, butter or margarine tubs and other one-time use containers. Instead, use glass, ceramic containers and plastic contains specifically made for microwave use.

Add to that list: plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers or aluminum foil (remember, foil is a metal). Wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper and microwave-safe paper towels are better choices. Plastic wrap can melt or warp and get into your food — gross! Covering food when microwaving helps keep in moisture and heat evenly. I like to use a glass pot lid to cover my food instead of wasting plastic or paper.

Defrosting & Cooking
If you’re defrosting food in the microwave, remove the packaging — especially the foam trays. They’re not heat stable at high temperatures and can melt.

We’ve all defrosted or reheated food in the microwave — the plate is hot but the food is cold! That’s because there is an uneven distribution of heat. You need to rotate or stir food halfway through the cooking or defrosting process. Once the beep says your food is done, wait a couple minutes to let the heat distribute throughout the food.

Your Best Option
Most experts consider microwaving a safe cooking choice, but it’s still unclear how much exposure might cause harm or how it affects the food. If you’re not in a rush, the stove top and conventional oven are still classic options.

Want to know more about cooking meat in the microwave? This USDA article has good info.

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Comments (25)

  1. Kyle says:

    Micrwaves aren’t a gamma source. Or a beta source for that matter.

    Hell, they aren’t even an alpha radiation source…

    So the worst they can do is burn your flesh. Which is painful. Most people will get “out of dodge” of a microwave beam before they seriously get harmed.

    You’re not getting a dose of radiation posioning, be it slowly over the duration of your lifetime, or quickly by standing there with the door busted, period.

    Which begs the question of, was this written by a 10 year old? This line in the story:

    “Most experts consider microwaving a safe cooking choice, but it’s still unclear how much exposure might cause harm or how it affects the food.”

    Makes it blatenly obvious that it was.

    Oh, FYI: It “affects” the food by vibrating hydrogen laiden molecule’s in the food, heating them and thus heating the food.

    It burns flesh in the same way.

  2. If you actually knew anything about microwave cooking you would see how ridiculous and untrue your comments are. Do you even know the wattage of your microwave?
    I have been teaching microwave cooking for 24 years. I use foil all the time for sheilding.Plastic wrap and wax paper are fine to use. Food heats unevenly because people use to high of a power level. Find out the truth about things before you feed peoples fears and keep these myths going.

  3. ANNIE says:

    Just because you teach Micro-cooking……does not mean it is safe!
    I was told, by a professional Nutritionists, take two glasses of water, microwave one, at room temprature water two plants………..the one watered with microwaved water dies. I would try it, but I kill all plants, sorry!

  4. Cheyenne says:

    Cooking veggies in the microwave is good because it retains more of the vitamins and minerals than other forms of cooking.

  5. I didn't know that about the foam trays, thanks for the info! I would suggest using a thermometer too, checking temperatures ensures food is cooked properly. Just make sure it's a calibrated thermometer!

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  7. Alia Comboy says:

    IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencesFor abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

  8. source says:

    -Terry Goodkind

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  10. Meghan Payno says:

    Is there an RSS feed with all the whole content in its place of just the teasers?

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