In this world of haste, none of us have the time to cook food on a slow flame. From booking tickets online to shopping online, we've managed to find ways to do our daily chores faster. Cooking is something that consumes a lot of our time on a daily basis. However, microwave cooking seems to have revolutionized the cooking industry! Right from individual houses to restaurants and commercial establishments, a microwave is used to cook, thaw and heat food. And what better way to cook food and perform the culinary functions in just a few minutes! However, we often hear that microwave ovens are not as safe as they seem to be.
Microwave Oven Safety Features
Microwaves can cook meat, which itself implies how powerful microwaves are, thus, these same waves can even burn human tissues. In 1986, there was a case where people sustained burns from spattering grease, steam and hot food from the microwave oven. However, to this the Food and Drug Administration states that such accidents can happen to anybody operating a regular oven or cooking surface.
So the crux of the matter is to protect yourself and be cautious while working with the microwave, as one would do with the regular oven, hot plates, etc. Let's have a look at some safety tips which can help you minimize the possibility of any accidents and injuries. They are as follows:
- If the oven does not work properly or is damaged, do not operate it.
- Make sure the door seals properly and there is no damage to latches, hinges, door seals or oven surfaces. If the door fails to close properly, do not use it and get it checked.
- Never operate the oven when it is empty as the no-load condition can cause excess leakage and damage.
- Never place metal utensils or anything made from metal (even aluminum foil is a big no!) in the microwave mode. Placing anything made of metal can conduce to oven damage and create a fire. Thus, use only microwave safe utensils to cook food in the microwave. Make sure you use the right utensils in the right mode. Glass is safe in convection as well as microwave mode. For grilling, use the grill tray given along with the oven.
- The revolving glass plate needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent contamination from biological buildup.
- Do not use steel wool or strong abrasives to clean the microwave. Water and mild detergent will do for cleaning.
- Foods cooked in the microwave for several minutes can be extremely hot. Thus, one needs to be careful while removing this food from the microwave, to prevent accidental burns.
- Never use the microwave for deep frying and never heat oil for the purpose of the same.
- It is not safe to heat liquids or water for excessive amounts of time in the microwave, as there have been cases where the hot liquid spurts out as soon as the oven door is opened. To prevent burns by liquid spurting, avoid boiling liquids.
- Never pop popcorn in a brown paper bag, as the paper bag can catch fire. Nevertheless, the instant popcorn available in the bag can be safely popped in the microwave.
- Piercing tomatoes, potatoes, egg yolks, etc. before they are microwaved is essential so that the steam has an outlet, rather than causing an explosion.
- Do not heat expressed breast milk in the microwave, as it can lose some protective properties, while infant formulas may lose their vitamins. Moreover, microwave heating can lead to uneven heating, which can burn the baby's mouth. So it's best to heat the baby's milk by the conventional method, even if it takes more time.
- Do not stand in front of an operating microwave for long hours. Especially, pregnant women should avoid standing in front of the microwave. However, there are no scientific reports of microwave and birth defects. Nevertheless, there's no harm in taking precaution.
- In case of a fire in the microwave oven, leave the door of the oven shut, unplug the power cord and call 911.
We need to ensure we maintain all these safety measures at home, to avoid accidents. In general, the microwave is a safe and reliable device, unless it has been damaged. Any kind of damage or leak needs to be catered to, before reuse. Paying heed to these safety measures will help you enjoy the comfort of quickly prepared food in a safe manner.