10 things that absolutely should not go in the microwave

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Updated on 24 Jul 2023

Reheating leftover food in the microwave is something we all do from time to time to put a quick and easy meal on the table. Many foods can indeed be put in the microwave without a problem, but that is not true for all food. Below, we list ten things that absolutely should not go in the microwave.

1. Eggs

There are all kinds of ways to prepare an egg, but the microwave is not one of them. This is because a raw egg can explode in the microwave due to the high pressure, making for a messy mess. So always prepare your egg in a pan with water or fry it in a little oil.

2. Frozen meat

Many people think that defrosting frozen meat in the microwave is convenient. However, you run the risk of getting sick from this. While reheating, the outside cooks, but the inside remains frozen and bacteria can develop. Always defrost your meat from the freezer the night before by putting it in the fridge. 

3. Red pepper

Basically, a red pepper can go in the microwave just fine and very little will happen. But be careful when you open the door: not only your eyes, but also your mouth will be on fire. So a spicy pepper is better prepared in the pan.

4. Puff pastry

The nice thing about puff pastry snacks and puff pastry dishes is the crispy exterior that contrasts with the soft filling. Putting puff pastry in the microwave unfortunately does not achieve this effect. The puff pastry feels limp, tastes limp and is red hot after a while in the microwave. So always use an oven when preparing or reheating puff pastry dishes.

5. Water

Heating water in the microwave seems convenient and simple, but often turns out wrong in practice. In the microwave, the water gets so hot that it can boil over. In a pan, air bubbles form, but this does not happen in the microwave. This causes the water to become red-hot and can even cause burns. Better to opt for a kettle or a pan on the cooker.

6. Leafy vegetables

Many leafy vegetables contain the substance nitrate and reheating them in the microwave converts the nitrate into nitrite. This is harmful to your health and so do not reheat leafy vegetables in the microwave. Examples are spinach, endive and lettuce.

7. Frozen fruit

Want to use frozen fruit and defrost it quickly? Especially don’t do that in the microwave. The fruit acquires an unpleasant flavour in the microwave and the juice often splatters all over the place, forcing you to clean the entire microwave. It is better to thaw the fruit in a bag in warm water.

8. Reheating a plate full of food

It may seem like the easiest way to microwave a plate full of food in one go, but this often results in a hot outside and cold inside. Instead of heating everything in the microwave all at once, do it in parts. This way, the heat spreads better and your food gets evenly warm.

9. All kinds of packaging

There are all kinds of packaging we microwave. It is common knowledge that an ordinary plastic container is not microwave-safe, but what about other containers? Microwave-safe containers, for example, do not melt in the microwave, but that does not mean they do not contain harmful substances. Avoid all paper packaging in the microwave: this can cause a fire, unless the bag is made specifically for microwave use. Also be careful with aluminium foil. Once this comes into contact with your food, it can cause flashes in the microwave.

10. Empty microwave oven

Besides a lot of things that can’t go in the microwave, ‘nothing’ shouldn’t go in the microwave either. So you never turn on an empty microwave! The radiation in the microwave can’t focus on anything and so the appliance damages itself.

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