My parents bought their first microwave way back in 1986 and I remember it was a huge event! It was a beast compared to today’s smaller units and watching food spin while it cooked was mesmerizing.
Many people still use their microwaves only to reheat food; however, there are so many other things microwaves are useful for. Here are 17 things you didn’t know your microwave can do!
1) Disinfect your cutting boards.
Washing your wooden or plastic cutting boards with soap and water is usually good enough. But if you want to make sure they are 100% germ free after washing them, rub them down with half a lemon and place them in the microwave on high for 1 minute to disinfect them.
2) Getting beans ready without soaking them overnight.
Generally, beans and lentils need to soak overnight but if you forgot, just use the microwave! Place your beans in a bowl and fill with water and add a pinch of baking soda. Heat in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and let them soak for 30 to 45 minutes. Your beans or lentils are now ready to use in your favorite recipes!
3) Peel tomatoes or peaches in no time flat.
If you have bushels of tomatoes or peaches to peel, the fastest way will be to soak them in boiling water for 30 seconds. But if you have only a few to peel, just use your microwave!
Place them in the microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Gently remove them and let them rest for about 2 minutes. The peel should now easily slip off!
4) Toast nuts
Toasting nuts in the oven or in a skillet can take up to 15 minutes and that’s not even counting how long it takes to preheat the oven! Simply use a half teaspoon of vegetable oil for each cup of nuts and spread them out on a plate. Place them in the microwave and heat on high for one minute intervals. Remember to stir them after each one minute interval for even toasting. It should take about 3 to 8 minutes to get oven quality toasted nuts.
5) Preserve the flavor and color of your herbs.
Microwaves heat up food by making water molecules vibrate and this friction is what cause food to “heat” up. Because it technically can’t burn food because it doesn’t contain an hot element like an stove or oven, it’s great for drying delicate plants like herbs or even flowers.
Place herbs between two paper towels on a plate and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then you’ll want to heat them on high in 20-second bursts and check them in between. If the herbs don’t crumble when you bend them, put them in again for another 20 seconds and continue this process until done.
6) Crisp up stale chips or crackers in the microwave.
If you forgot to seal the bag of potato chips last night, no worries! Place them on a plate or paper towel and heat them on high for 10 seconds in the microwave. If they still aren’t crispy enough, put them in for another 5-10 seconds on high.
7) Revive stale bread in the microwave.
You probably already know you can revive stale bread in the oven but it is so much faster in the microwave! Simply wrap your stale bread with a moistened paper towel and pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds on high. Unwrap and enjoy!
8) Decrystallize honey in the microwave.
If your honey has crystallized, you can get it back into its original runny state in seconds. Simply remove the lid and place your bottle of honey in your microwave. Heat on medium power for 30 seconds to a minute and continue enjoying the goodness of liquid honey.
9) Disinfect your kitchen sponges.
Sponges are most likely the germiest thing in your kitchen. We use sponges to mop up messes in the kitchen and it’s actually gross knowing how much bacteria they can actually hold.
To keep them clean and germ-free, rinsing them out isn’t enough. To kill up to 99% of germs in sponges, wet your sponge and place it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. You’ll want to wait a few minutes before removing it when done since it will be HOT.
10) Steam clean your microwave oven.
There are so many things you can clean with natural ingredients like baking soda and lemons. Lemon are especially great because of their high acidic content.
To steam clean your microwave and make it easier to scrub away stubborn stains, cut a lemon in half and place it in a bowl with 2 cups of water. Heat on high for 3 minutes and check the inside of your microwave. If the inside isn’t moist and the stains aren’t easily coming off, heat it on high again for another 3 minutes. Take it out and wipe away stains with a sponge and you’ll be left with a clean microwave with a fresh lemon scent!
11) Get the maximum amount of juice from your lemons or limes.
To get the most amount of juice from lemons or limes, place them in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds before juicing. In this test, juicing two lemons from the fridge produced 2/3 cups of juice. But juicing two lemons after microwaving them for 20 seconds produced 3/4 cups of juice! WOW!!
12) Easily chop your onions without tearing up.
Simply cut off the ends and place your onion in the microwave on full heat for 30 seconds. It does warm the onion a little bit but not having to deal with stinging, teary eyes is worth it!
13) Peel garlic in a flash.
Peeling garlic can be hit or miss. Sometimes the garlic cloves falls out easily while other times you have to nearly cut the peel off. For easy results every time, peel garlic in the microwave!
For a single clove, heat in the microwave on full power for 15 seconds and the skin will literally peel off by itself. If using the entire bulb, simply increase the time to 25 seconds.
14) Make easy scrambled eggs.
One of the first things I’ve ever cooked in a microwave was scrambled eggs in a mug and it worked so well! Simply prepare your favorite omelet ingredients and place them in a greased cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave again for another 30 seconds or until done. If you’d like to try making this Veggie Nut Coffee Cup Scramble shown above, here’s the recipe!
15) Easily removing a stamp from an envelope.
Just put a few drops of water on the stamp and heat in the microwaves at 50% or medium for 20 seconds. The heat and steam will loosen the glue and make it easy to peel off.
16) Soften brown sugar in the microwave.
If you find yourself always having hardened brown sugar when you need it for recipes, your microwave will save the day. Simply place the brown sugar into a bowl and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high in 20-second bursts until the sugar is soft again.
17) Prevent food from exploding in your microwave.
If you’ve ever tried to microwave eggs yolks, potatoes, or squash in the microwaves, you know they can splatter. Generally, anything with a thick “skin” around it acts like a bubble and when things get too hot, the steam has to escape somewhere and that’s when splatters occur.
To prevent this, pierce potatoes or squash with a fork about 6 to 8 times before cooking them in the microwave. Alternatively, you can also slice them in half and put them slice down in a place before microwaving them.
There are so many uses for microwave ovens and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Please share these awesome microwave hacks and uses with your friends and family.