Favorite kitchen appliance? The microwave. Whether you're heating up your halo top or popping popcorn for a Netflix marathon, it's super handy. Yet, there actually are some materials and foods you can't put in the microwave, as it can be pretty dangerous to your health. Instead, be safe by learning these microwave don'ts and reserving the handy kitchen appliance for only foods and materials that come with no risks.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on eating well at home, and usually that includes making recipes in bulk or halving portion sizes to reheat and eat at a later time in the week. What's more, you can cook tons of things from scratch in the microwave, like even eggs. Reheating food is simple and quick, and it makes the leftovers taste nearly as great as the day before; however, if you're popping in foods and packaging that can be dangerous when heated under microwave conditions, it'll make for quite the unfortunate kitchen disaster. Clearly, not what you'd like to bed dealing with late on a Tuesday night after a long day at work, right? Here are seven things that you should never put in the microwave, as the few moments spared from longer cooking isn't worth it.
1. Super Oily Food
If you're eating something that's drenched in oils, be careful when putting it in the microwave. Oils can only tolerate so much heat, so when it exceeds the threshold, it can create dangerous toxins that can be carcinogenic. If your food is super oily, don't reheat it in the microwave to be safe. What's more, don't put the Chinese takeout container in either, as metal can't go in the microwave.
2. Plastic Tupperware
According to life coach Liz Traines, over email with Bustle, putting plastic in the mircowave is a big no-no, as it can release hazardous toxic elements that can pose a risk to your health. BPA is found in plastic, so it's wiser to use glass instead of Tupperware when heating food, Traines says. Plus, those grapes shouldn't be heated either; fruit can blow up in the microwave and make a mess.
3. Breast Milk
According to the FDA, it's really dangerous to put breast milk in the microwave, as it can burn the baby's mouth and throat due to uneven heating patterns. What's more, "microwave heating can destroy some of the key immune enhancing proteins due to the high temp," says Rebecca Gahan, owner and founder of Kick@55 Fitness in Chicago, over email with Bustle. To warm milk evenly, heat it on the stove or in hot tap water for about one or two minutes.
As explained by researchers at Harvard University, styrofoam material contains BPA, which can put you at risk for cancer and other diseases. So, be careful about the packaging on your food before just mindlessly putting it in the microwave and heating. You're better off going with glassware.
5. Brown Paper Bags
As explained by the USDA, brown paper bags might be great for a lunch carrier to work, but they're definitely not microwave friendly. They can emit toxic fumes and even lead to a fire when under extreme temperatures. It's safe to say, burning down the house isn't worth the meal.
6. Frozen Meat & Chicken
Gahan also cautions against reheating chicken and putting frozen meats in the microwave. "When you defrost raw meat in the microwave, it is not heated evenly. This uneven distribution of heat can lead to an increase of bacteria growth," Gahan explains. Instead defrost overnight in your fridge, Gahan recommends.
7. Hard Boiled Eggs
According to Jim Hutchison, a physicist at the University of Aberdeen, UK, over interview with The Express Tribune, while you can cook eggs in the microwave (once they've been cracked), you can't put whole eggs in the microwave. Gahan agrees: "You can make a decent scrambled egg in the microwave, but do not try to make a hardboiled egg. When heated, the steam inside in the egg has nowhere to go, creating pressure that will make the egg explode."
For your safety, and less kitchen clean up, don't put these items or foods in the microwave. Instead, heat in other ways before digging in.