Microwaves and Bacteria

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Cooking raw food in a microwave is probably not the best choice for a variety of reason, but one of the most important has to do with how microwave ovens deal with dangerous microbes and bacteria that are pretty easily done away in conventional ovens and stovetops. The benefit of cooking in a microwave comes with eating food that has more of its benefits such as vitamins and minerals intact than frying the same food, but there is a price that must be paid to receive that benefit. Microwave ovens are designed in such a way that food tends to cook unevenly. That is why very often your burrito is crunchy in some places and chewing in others. This uneven cooking method allows for the potential of bacteria surviving the process and making its way into your mouth. And that is never a good thing. Here are some guidelines you need to carefully take note of when cooking in a microwave oven.

Even if your microwave is the kind that automatically rotates the plate, don’t let that fool you. Stop midway through and rearrange what you are cooking by stirring or flipping food around with a fork. This increases the possibility that your food will get cooked evenly throughout with no raw or semi-raw pockets that bacteria can survive in. Also be sure to check the internal temperature of all meats and poultry before accepting that your food is fully cooked. Some microwaves come with a thermometer attachment, but you can always pick up one for a very cheap price. Most of these meat thermometers will tell you what your target temperature is, so make sure to stick it in several places to make sure all parts of your meat has reached that level.

When using a bowl or dish, take a moment to wrap some microwave-safe plastic wrap around the food. This will ensure serve to reduce evaporation while at the same time helping to heat up the surface area of the dish. Prick a hole in the wrap so that steam can vent, however, and make sure the plastic itself doesn’t come into contact with your food. Any time you cook anything in your microwave oven, don’t just immediately grab it and pull it out. Allow the food to stand inside the oven after the bell dings. What happens when you do this is that you allow the heat that is concentrated on the inside to radiate outward. This will further cook the outside of your food while also acting as a sort of equalizer of the temperature inside. This is an easy way to reduce those cold sections in otherwise hot food.

Be sure to always thaw meat before you actually use the microwave to cook it. This is why microwave ovens have a thaw or defrost setting. Go ahead and use that setting to thaw frozen food completely before cooking it. When you cook food that isn’t properly thawed you are allowing ice crystals to remain on the food during the cooking process and this contributes to that unevenly cooked problem. Remember that coming across a cold spot in your food isn’t just unpleasant from a taste perspective, it can also be the site where bacteria were not properly disposed of. And that creates a whole ‘nother set of problems.