Cooking with a Microwave. How to keep the kitchen safe.
Microwave Cooking Hints
Familiarize yourself with your client’s microwave. Read the Manual. First, try to boil a cup of water about 3 minutes on High. Microwaves (extra short radio waves) cook food by causing friction, or movement of molecules in the food. Outside edges tend to cook/heat up faster. Stirring of foods and rotation of containers can ensure more even heating.
- Microwave cooking is usually faster than stovetop or oven cooking. Microwaves use electromagnetic energy to excite moisture molecules in food and cause simultaneous heating throughout. Microwaves save energy over conventional cooking methods when cooking small or medium quantities of dense foods.
- Foods cooked in a microwave should be slightly undercooked and allowed to ‘stand’ while the heat equalizes and completes the cooking process.
- Microwave energy is absorbed by foods but reflected by METAL.
- Use glass, paper, plastic, china, pottery, or special microwave utensils.
- Do not use metal pans or aluminum foil in the microwave!
- Most microwaves are automatically set to cook at full power unless you select a different power level. (Defrost settings are 50% of full power).
- If uncertain about cooking times, select short cooking intervals and check the food frequently.
- Stir, turn and reposition food throughout the cooking time.
- Arrange foods with thickest parts toward outside of the oven, thinnest parts toward the center.
- Cover foods with glass, wax paper, or paper towel to prevent spattering and to cook foods more evenly. Remove the cover carefully to avoid being burned by the steam as it escapes.
- Foods with skins or membranes (potatoes, hot dogs, egg yolks) need to be pierced with a fork before cooking. They might explode as the steam builds inside them while cooking.
- Foods cooked in a microwave do not develop a “crust” or become “browned” as they would in a conventional oven with dry heat.
Reheating Cooked Foods:
Allow about 1 1/2 minutes of cooking time for each cup (8 Oz) of cooked food. When warming several different foods on the same plate, make sure the serving portions are similar for even heating.
Defrosting Frozen Foods:
Allow for ‘standing’ time between short cooking times. This allows the food temperature to equalize and avoids uneven cooking of the food. For each cup (8 Oz) of frozen, cooked food, microwave for one minute, and then let the food stand for 1 minute. Repeat until ice crystals have dissolved.
Foods That Microwave Well:
Vegetables, baked potatoes (first, pierce the skin with a fork) leftovers, scrambled eggs, fish, casseroles, puddings frozen entrees, and meatloaf.
How do I keep the kitchen safe?
Food preparation is a potentially dangerous job. Because of this, a high percentage of household injuries occur in kitchens. While preparing meals, people cut themselves with knives, with cans that food is packaged in, and with other objects and surfaces in the kitchen. They jab themselves with forks and bruise themselves by bumping into things. Such accidents occur even to experienced cooks. The key to avoiding these accidents is to be aware of the things that can hurt you. Think about what the possible results might be when you begin a task.
Things to be aware of for safety in the kitchen:
- Don’t cook grease at a high temperature
- Use potholders when handling hot pots and pans
- Clean up spills immediately
- Put utensils away where they belong
- Move about the kitchen with care
- Be careful when working with knives – take your time and watch what you are doing
- Wear appropriate clothing when cooking – no loose garments
- Do not use containers that are chipped or cracked.