8 Foods You Should Never Put in the Microwave
The microwave can be the greatest gift on a busy weeknight. It heats up frozen meals and leftovers and can make meal prep a breeze. Yet, there are certain foods that you shouldn't put in the microwave because of health reasons, a mess in the kitchen or even an explosion. (Yep, it can happen!)
So, to make sure to avoid these major disasters and health scares, it's best to check whatever you're about to put in the microwave to make sure all items are totally safe to heat up. Here are 8 foods to never put in the microwave. Trust us, you will regret it afterwards!
Recipe pictured above: Char-Grilled Red Grapes with Burrata, Fennel Seeds & Basil
Grapes are a tasty snack to munch on, freeze for a chilly snack or enjoy in wine, but they certainly cannot go in the microwave. "An amazing reaction happens when grapes are microwaved. This specifically happens when grapes are halved, but still attached by their skin," says Gabrielle McGrath, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian for Baze. What happens? "Plasma is created, which looks like a mini flame. Scientists recently figured out why this is the case and it all revolves around the fact that microwaves don't even cook foods," she says.
For grapes, microwaving them creates pockets of electromagnetism, which is pretty cool looking, but also a bit dangerous in your home kitchen. So, you'll want to avoid any potential explosions of course!
Raw and Whole Eggs
"Whole raw eggs have been shown to explode when microwaved, potentially even exploding in your mouth once you've bitten into it," she says. Yikes! Now that's a scary thought. "This is not only dangerous from the sense of being extremely hot, causing potential hearing issues if exploding in your mouth, but it's also downright messy," she says. So, be sure to only heat up cooked eggs, like a quiche or frittata, if you want to enjoy some leftovers for breakfast.
When exposed to microwave radiation, processed meats form cholesterol oxidation products (COPs), and COPs have been shown to be more damaging than typical cholesterol alone and more likely to lead to the development of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup leading to hardened arteries) and coronary artery disease (CAD), she says. So, by heating them in the microwave, you could be putting your heart health at risk. It's best to avoid doing this with processed meats to be cautious!
Recipe pictured above: Balsamic Roasted Carrots
This is a shocker! You don't want to put carrots in the microwave. "Arcing is sparks produced inside the microwave from the microwave's reaction with metallic materials. Carrots may contain minerals from the soil that can cause this spark," she says.
And the same goes with hot dogs! "With hot dogs, arcing may occur because of uneven mix of salts and additives. If this occurs, turn off the microwave immediately to stop the sparking and cook the food with a different method," she says.
Breast Milk or Formula
To protect your child, don't put breast milk in the microwave. "This again comes down to the fact that microwaving does not evenly distribute heat, which can create extreme hot spots in the liquid, which is dangerous for your baby," she says. These hot spots are due to uneven heating. Instead, place the bottle under hot, running tap water until to warm it up. It'll be about one to two minutes. Or heat it on the stove. Heat water in a pan and then remove the pan from the heat to set the bottle in it until it's warm.
Recipe pictured above: Lemon Chicken & Rice
"It is not necessarily a complete 'no' to microwaving raw meats, but it's a cautionary tale. Microwaving can cook food less evenly than conventional ovens—and with certain meats, like chicken, you want your meat cooked all the way through," she says. If you're choosing to cook raw meat in a microwave, utilize a food thermometer in several parts of the meat to ensure even cooking throughout. "For chicken specifically, ensure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees, otherwise, there's an increased risk for bacteria or pathogen exposure," she says.
"Again, this is not a firm rule, but you have to be very careful when microwaving water as "superheating" can occur," she says. "This means that the temperature of the water rises above the boiling point of water (212 degrees F) in what are called 'hot spots,'" much like with the breast milk scenario. Motion (like moving and removing the cup from the microwave) can cause an eruption of boiling hot water (and usually onto the person handling the hot water), which can lead to serious burns and injury.
Just like with the water, hot spots can linger underneath the surface of microwaved sauces, which when "popped" can cause hot sauce to fly everywhere. So, it's both dangerous and messy! "Instead, heat up sauces on the stove, where you can stir them to avoid hot spot creation," she says. This keeps your health in check and saves you the hassle of a clean up disaster!