Microwave cooking

Equipment and Utensils
Special equipment is not necessary to microwave, but it is important to use “microwave safe” containers and utensils. These are usually safe:

Examples of what not to use in the microwave:

 

Helpful Equipment
Trivet
  • Fits inside its own dish or in another microwave dish.
  • Keeps foods like pizza, egg rolls, and sandwiches crisp and dry.
  • Can substitute an inverted plate in a baking dish.
Dome
  • Prevents spatters and retains moisture during microwaving.
  • More convenient and less expensive than plastic wrap or waxed paper.
  • Can double as a casserole dish if it doesn't have vent holes on the top.
Ring mold
  • Available in fluted and straight-sided styles.
  • Is the preferred shape because microwaves can reach every part of the food when arranged in a ring.
  • Is ideal for cakes, quick breads, and other foods.

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Terminology
Recipes for microwave cooking use a lot of words that seem like everyday words. But, words like “stir,” “turn,” “cover,” and “stand” have a specific meaning in microwave cooking. Most of them either speed cooking or encourage more even heating.

During microwave cooking, certain foods should not be covered because the steam that collects under the cover makes them soggy. Pizza is one food that should not be covered; but macaroni does because the steam helps keep it from drying out.

Microwave cooking terminology
Method
How to do it
Why

Stir

Move a spoon from the outside to the center of the dish.
  • Evens the temperature in the food.
  • Shortens cooking time.
  • Mixes ingredients so they can thicken.

Cover

Cover food by using waxed paper, plastic wrap, a glass lid, paper toweling, or a dome.
  • Prevents spattering.
  • Shortens cooking time by holding in heat.
  • Affects the texture of the finished food by holding in steam.
Vent Fold or roll back one corner of the wrap.
  • Allows excess steam to escape so some foods do not get soggy.
  • Prevents a build-up of excess steam that may cause the food to burst open.
Pierce Poke holes in thick-skinned foods (like potatoes) or thick membranes (like egg yolks) with a fork to make holes in the food.

Prevents a build-up of excess steam that may cause the food to burst open.

Rotate or Turn

Turn the dish cooking in the microwave 1/4 to 1/2 of a turn halfway through the total cooking time. Some microwaves have a carousel that continuously turns the food while it is cooking.

Cooks food more evenly.

Standing time

 

Allow the food in the dish to sit on the counter (with the lid on) for a set time after it has cooked in the microwave.

Allows food to continue to cook inside even after the microwave oven time has expired.

Arrange

Place in a ring with smaller and thinner pieces towards the center of the dish. Thicker or denser foods are placed along the outside edge of a dish.

  • Maximize even penetration of microwaves into all sides of a food that has an uneven thickness.
  • Increases the amount of microwave energy penetrating thicker or denser foods.
Turn over Flip food over so the side that was down now faces up.

Ensures more even heating, especially during defrosting or reheating frozen foods.

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