Microwave secrets

Your microwave isn’t just for reheating your leftovers! Find out these other surprising uses.

In-home incubator

“Have you ever picked up takeaway food but couldn’t dig in immediately for whatever reason? Well instead of leaving the food out to get cold, place it in the microwave and close the door,” said Ron Scimek, president of Mr. Appliance. “The confined, insulated and airtight space of the microwave will help insulate the food and keep it as fresh as possible for approximately an hour or so.”

Quick disinfecting

Need to reuse that dirty sponge or cooking utensils but don’t have time for the dishwasher to run? In steps your trusty microwave. “Simply place the sponge into a bowl of water with vinegar and place it on high power for approximately a minute,” Schimek told Reader’s Digest. “Utensils such as cutting boards can also be cleaned by placing them in the microwave. As with the sponge, use vinegar or lemon and place in the microwave for a minute, and voila!”


Keep that garlic smell off your hands

No, we don’t recommend attempting to microwave your hands; this is a pre-emptive measure. Engineers at Mix Repairs shared this helpful hack with Reader’s Digest. “Get around the nasty garlic smell that you get on your hands by simply blasting the whole head in your microwave on high settings for no more than 15-20 seconds. After that, the garlic cloves should be much easier to peel.”

Un-crystallise honey

It can be hard to spread crystallised honey on toast, and even harder to cook with it or use it as a sweetener. Mix Repairs appliance experts told us that the quickest and easiest way to get your honey back in its original form is to spin your honey around the microwave for a few seconds just before using it. The sugars should melt back down and you can enjoy your smooth sweetener again.

Soften hard brown sugar

There’s nothing more irritating when you’re baking than running into hardened brown sugar that surely won’t mix into whatever you’re making. But the fix is easy! According to microwave aficionados at Exclusive Repairs, “Simply put the brown sugar lump in a bowl. Wet a paper towel and cover the bowl with it, then microwave in ten-second bursts until the sugar is crumbly again. Poke the sugar with a fork between bursts to help break up the lump.” Just be sure you keep the “cook” time low. If you leave the sugar in the microwave for too long, it will melt.

Get more freshly squeezed orange juice

According to Exclusive Repairs, this trick works on all citrus. “Put your fruit in the microwave for 10-30 seconds (larger fruit needs more time). Remove the fruit and allow it to cool for about a minute. Then, slice the fruit in half and use a manual juicer to get every last drop of juice out of it.”

Chop onions tear-free

Once you trim off the end of the onion, microwave it whole for 30 seconds. Once it is cool, chop away! It isn’t enough time to cook the onion, but it will keep you from crying!

Sterilise soil

Just like you can disinfect your utensils, you can also “clean” your soil. “Place 400g of soil on a flat dish and microwave it for a minute and 30 seconds on a medium setting, until it is steaming,” Exclusive Repairs told Reader’s Digest. Why would you want to do this, you ask? According to dengarden, sterilising soil can kill off harmful bacteria, pathogens and even insects or larvae that will eat your plants.

Make a meatloaf

And in just 15 minutes, too! Taste of Home has an excellent recipe for 15-minute microwave meatloaf. With only two to three minutes in the microwave, this meatloaf isn’t just delicious, it might be the easiest thing you cook this year.