When it comes to cooking, everybody likes to save time.
For the convenience they provide, what could be better than a microwave? All you have to do is pop in your leftovers or your frozen meal, hit some buttons and wait a few minutes. When it comes out, you’re ready to eat!
Still, be warned: not everything is microwavable.
Fortunately, we’ve put together an easy guide to keep you and your microwave safe and sound.
A couple things here: don’t eggs cook fast enough? If your answer is no, then please remember that trying to cook a whole egg in a microwave is not going to end well for you. It’s basically like lighting the wick on a runny yolk bomb that you will then have to clean up in about 30 seconds.
These eggs-plosions are caused because the steam created inside the shell makes the inside heat up too quickly. With nowhere for the steam to escape, the shell explodes.
On the other hand, you can make scrambled eggs in a microwave if you take it out of the shell and nuke it for about 45 seconds (though we don’t recommend it).
This may seem similar to the egg example but it has its own interesting twist. Unlike eggs, grapes are small and made of the right material to basically act like tuning forks for the radiation in a microwave.
At the right distance apart, microwaved grapes can actually create plasma. Though it might look cool, it may also cause a literal explosion and will definitely ruin your appliance.
Also, what kind of recipe calls for you to quickly heat up some grapes?
3. Whole Potatoes
This one is a little tricky. Again, like the egg or a solid ball of clay in a kiln, the build-up of heat inside will cause an explosion and a mess to clean up.
On the other hand, you can have a pretty good meal in just a few minutes if you use a fork to stab the potato a bunch of times before microwaving it. Try it with a sweet potato too for a quick snack.
4. Anything Metal
Most people are probably already familiar with this advice. For those who aren’t, putting metal in a microwave will make the metal create sparks and smoke. It will also probably ruin your silverware or plate or whatever else you put in it. The microwave itself could get damaged.
Overall, this one is easy: just don’t do it.
5. Whole Hot Peppers
Though you’re probably ok if you have some leftovers with sliced up peppers in them, microwaving a whole pepper is a bad idea.
Like some of the other examples, hot peppers have a bad reaction to the radiation in a microwave. The reaction creates a steam which will be infused with capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spice and heat in your peppers.
Unless pepper spraying yourself sounds like a good time, we’d recommend avoiding this one.
Oh, styrofoam. When will the world finally stop making you?
In all seriousness, aside from being bad for the environment, styrofoam is also a very bad idea to microwave (although some kinds may be safe—check for labels). Some possible side effects could be styrene gas which is known to cause cancer, chemicals leeching into your food and problems with your endocrine system.
If you like your hormones balanced, take the extra time to put your food in a safe container before microwaving it!
7. Paper Bags
Though we’re not sure why you’d try this, paper bags are liable to catch fire in a microwave which would cause you all sorts of problems. There’s also the chance that any ink printed on the paper could release itself into your food—and nobody needs those problems.
Paper plates, on the other hand, are generally pretty safe.
8. Some Plastic Containers
This isn’t a hard and fast rule. Though some containers are definitely microwave-safe, others could be a hazard to you and your food. If you want to avoid poisoning your food with the many chemicals found in plastic, it’s probably best to avoid it altogether.
9. Travel Mugs
This one follows pretty naturally from some of the rules listed above. Though you might want that coffee reheated fast, don’t do it in a thermos made of plastic or metal. That coffee is probably not going to taste very good if you do.
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Strangely enough, it’s also a really bad idea to run your microwave when there’s nothing in it as well. The way microwaves work is by releasing low levels of radiation (called microwaves) to heat up your food. Though these waves are pretty weak generally, though still strong enough to heat your meals, if they have nothing to hold onto they can get stronger.
And that’s bad.
Pro tip: don’t even try it.
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