A rushed lifestyle seems to be the norm today, and even you organic foodies might shove off good quality homemade food once in a while in favor of fast no-fuss microwaved meals. (Even if you feel bad about it.)
Much controversy surrounds the safety of cooking food in microwave ovens. And separating the fact from the fiction might actually surprise you health nuts. Heard about radiation poisoning from microwaves? That’s actually a myth. What about microwaves sucking out all of the nutritional content from foods? Not true. (Really. So long as you don’t overcook the food.) Heard that microwaves cause cancer? Myth. Much of the bad hype surrounding microwaves has been disproved.
The negative buzz surrounding microwaves isn’t all fable, however. Microwaving foods in toxin-releasing plastic containers is a big health no-no. And microwaves can heat food unevenly leaving potentially harmful bacteria-filled cold pockets, which is especially dangerous with meats. So, don’t worry. We’re not jumping on the microwave bandwagon. In fact, we think you should toss your microwave off the wagon.
Based purely on the taste of food, the microwave loses every time. Cooking fresh meals on your stovetop, oven or grill creates scrumptious, healthful meals—and unlike the microwave, these appliances don't have any controversy about their safety. Tossing that microwave for good might not be as difficult as you think. As you transition, try these tips for easy microwave-free living.
1. Lifestyle change
Surviving without a microwave might initially take a little more planning and organization on your part. You may need to remember to set out frozen foods to defrost ahead of time. Also, without a rapid heating appliance, you might need to start mapping out what you plan to cook for the week. Putting in a little meal organizing effort isn’t all bad, though. Planning ahead will likely result in fresher and tastier homemade meals for an even healthier you. And pretty soon you won’t even have to think about it.
2. Better heating
Several microwave-free options exist to heat up leftovers, and they’ll keep your meals just as yummy as they were originally.
- Most leftovers you can just reheat in a pot or pan on the stovetop. Super simple. Add a little water to loosen up cold congealed foods.
- If you need to restore crispiness to potatoes or bread, pop them in a toaster oven (or the regular oven.) A few minutes in a toaster oven will sure beat wimpy, soft microwave-heated potatoes.
- Double boilers are a great option to reheat sauces or other liquid items.
3. Buy a kettle
Instead of heating water for coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the microwave, invest in a kettle. You can easily find modern and vintage kettles at secondhand stores and thrift shops. Kettles can provide you with hot water in minutes—and you get a fun whistle announcing that your water is ready. What microwave can do that?
Follow Kirsten Hudson on Twitter @kirsten_hudson
The Center for Science in the Public Interest
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The Daily Green, 11 Surprising Facts and Myths About Microwave Ovens, July 14, 2009