Monday, March 24, 2014

10 Tips for Microwave Free Living

A few years ago our tiny microwave began shooting sparks out the side of it. It quickly headed for the trash. I headed out to the store the next day to buy a new one. Since I only needed a small one, the prices were pretty reasonable. Then I began thinking about what I actually used the microwave for...

1. Heating water up for tea when my friend comes over once a week.

2. Softening butter when I forget to set it out ahead of time for baking.

I couldn't quite justify a $60 price tag for that. I could tell you I gave up microwaves because they are unhealthy, and there are plenty of studies that show this to be true (and untrue), but let's be honest here- food that comes out of a microwave just doesn't taste that good.

-Food is cold on the outside and scalding hot on the inside.
-Vegetables are over steamed and rubbery.
-Popcorn gets scorched.
-You never quite know when water is "boiling" because it doesn't bubble in a microwave.
-Butter gets melted spots when you're trying to simply soften it.
-Melted chocolate gets hard clumps.
-Heating plastic containers in microwaves is bad news!

I could go on, but these were a few of my microwave issues. According to an article from Kitchen Daily titled Are Microwaves Toast? ... microwave sales are falling every year. I guess I'm not alone.

Here are my 10 Tips for Microwave Free Living:

1. Plan ahead: Food will not be ready within 2 minutes of you deciding you are hungry. But in our fast paced society, I think slowing down and planning ahead isn't such a bad thing.

2. Defrosting: Thaw meats or frozen food in cold water. Cold water thaws food more evenly.

3. Heating leftovers: Invest in a tiny toaster oven to save energy. Instead of storing leftovers in plastic, store them in glass or small CorningWare dishes that are oven safe. Baked food always taste better than microwaved. You can also place your CorningWare dishes in a water bath on the stove. Set your dish in a larger pot with about an inch of water surrounding the dish. Warm the water gently and stir. This is a great method for reheating rice that you don't want baked to the side of a dish. Water bath methods can also be used in an oven. (Find a how to picture here.)

4. Popcorn: After having popcorn on the stove there is no going back to microwaved popcorn! We use coconut oil for cooking our popcorn in. Then once you dump out the popcorn into a bowl, the same pot can be used for melting the butter to go on top.

5. Butter: To soften butter, use the rolling pin method or simply leave it out at room temperature. Melt butter in a small pot on low heat or use a butter warmer like this.

6. Tea: Use a tea kettle!

7. Pancake syrup: We keep our homemade syrup in a glass jar. Rather than dumping the whole contents into a pot that needs to be cleaned, try the water bath mentioned up above in #3. Simply warm the water and allow your syrup to warm while you're making the pancakes.

8. Reheating liquids: Pour it in a small pot and warm it up. (Or use the water bath method in #7.)

9. Melting chocolate: Water bath! (I know, I'm getting redundant here.) Find a great method here or use a double boiler.

10. Vegetables: Use a steamer basket for perfectly cooked frozen veggies. Boil corn on the cob for perfectly cooked summer corn. Parboil potatoes instead of microwaving them before throwing them on the grill.

So what side are you on? Team toaster or team microwave?


  1. Had to comment because the exact same thing happened with our microwave! It began shooting out sparks, we had intended to try and repair it. Then a month later it was still taking up valuable counter space in our 60 sq ft kitchen and we had found that we did not miss it at all. So I hauled it out of there.

    We have been without a microwave now for over 6 months. The ONLY time I ever wish I had it is when I forget to pull something out to defrost sooner. Not enough to make me buy a new one.

    We may invest in a toaster oven this summer. Our regular toaster is on its last legs and we just don't have the space for something that is single purpose! In the summer.... in the city with no A/C... turning on the oven every time we want to reheat something just isn't feasible... so a toaster oven might be useful.

    Excuse the rant!

    1. I love your rant! Thanks for sharing. :) We have a tiny kitchen too. The toaster oven sits in the same small place that our small microwave sat. We try and not run the A/C in the summer, so the toaster oven is perfect. I'll even freeze cookie dough balls and bake up a small batch of cookies when I'm craving them instead of heating up the whole kitchen with the large oven. And yes, I have been there when I have forgotten to thaw stuff. I had a glass jar of pasta sauce once that burst open and broke because I thought a higher heat on the water bath method would speed up the process of thawing. I'm not sure what I was thinking! What a mess! :)