Microwaving foods

First Posted: 9/21/2008

September is national food safety month. It is a time to reflect on our own personal food safety habits. One appliance that today is a household kitchen standard is a microwave oven. Most people only use microwaves to reheat foods; however, they can be used for cooking and defrosting foods.
Thinking about food safety, here are a few pointers to keep in mind when choosing containers and wraps for your microwave:
Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.
Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.
Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.
Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven.
Using the microwave for more than reheating is as easy as following a recipe. Microwaves can retain many more nutrients than boiling because there is less water use, hence, less opportunity for water soluble nutrients like the B vitamins to leach out into the water. Here are some pointers to consider when cooking in a microwave:
Arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap; loosen or vent the lid or wrap to let steam escape. The moist heat that is created will help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure uniform cooking. Cooking bags also provide safe, even cooking.
Do not cook large cuts of meat on high power (100%). Large cuts of meat should be cooked on medium power (50%) for longer periods. This allows heat to reach the center without overcooking outer areas.

Cook foods to the following safe minimum internal temperatures. For a copy of Fight Bac brochure with proper cooking temperatures, please call our office at 602-0600.
To start your day off try this easy microwaveable oatmeal recipe that even my husband makes every day!
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup hot water or skim milk
1-quart microwavable dish
In a 1 quart dish, combine 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1 cup skim milk or hot water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir in frozen blueberries, maple syrup and or brown sugar for flavor. Enjoy!
1 medium apple cored
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Place apple in a bowl slightly larger than the apple. Add water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cover and vent with microwaveable plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Enjoy! Top with low fat vanilla yogurt.

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