Microwave ovens have always been advertised as kitchen equipment ideal for single-dwellers, couples, and people who like cooking in small batches. After all, the biggest advantage of a microwave oven is how convenient it is in reheating, defrosting, and cooking quick meals. But did you know that even big families can maximize its use to their advantage? Here’s how…
1. Peeling Garlic and Chopping Onions
Cooking for a big family means you’ll need a bunch of garlic and onions every time you cook most meals. To remove the hard skin of cloves of garlic, place it in the microwave with a tissue under it for about 15 seconds. The tissue is needed to absorb the moisture, so peeling the garlic would be much easier.
As for onions, you’d still need to slice it as normal, but if you place it in the microwave for about 20 seconds before doing so, you won’t have to get teary-eyed
2. Bread-making and reheating
If you have a household of bread-lovers, you won’t ever have to throw away old bread. Placing stale bread inside the microwave for about 10 seconds will rehydrate most kinds of bread quickly.
If you make homemade bread at home, you can use your microwave oven to make the proofing time a whole lot faster. Just put a cup of water in the microwave and wait for it to boil within 2 minutes. Once you see it boil, stash your dough beside it and the microwave will speed up the proofing time.
3. Cooking side dishes
If your convection oven or toaster oven is currently being used and you want to save time, you can do a lot of things with your microwave oven, such as:
- Making “baked” potatoes in a bowl. (Needs 2 minutes for one side, and another 2 minutes after turning it over)
- Steaming vegetables.
- Cooking fish. You do have to wrap it in microwavable plastic to keep it from getting dry, but once you’ve mastered this way of cooking, I’m sure you’ll choose it instead of going the traditional route.
- Frying bacon is also possible, but you have to place the slices on a kitchen towel so the moisture and oils will be absorbed, leaving you with perfectly crisp bacon each time.
4. Soaking beans
If you love making hearty recipes with beans but hate the waiting time of soaking beans and lentils, you can totally skip this process by using the microwave instead.
Just get a microwave-safe container, place your beans or lentils, add ¾ of water (or until your beans are covered in water), and sprinkle a pinch of bicarbonate soda. Let it run in the microwave for about 10 minutes, then leave it to cool inside for an hour or less.
5. Perfectly poached eggs for everyone
Cooking poached eggs can be time-consuming, especially if you’re going to cook them one at a time in the pan.
If you use your microwave oven and do the following trick, everyone from your big family can enjoy your poached eggs whenever they like to.
- Get a microwave-safe bowl and pour boiling water.
- Sprinkle a pinch of white vinegar
- Crack the egg into the bowl, piercing the yolk with a toothpick
- Cover your bowl and run it on the microwave for about 30 seconds
- Remove the bowl, turn the egg gently while placing it on a microwave-safe plate, and running again for 20 seconds or less.
- Repeat the process 5 or more times to feed your entire family
6. Toasting Nuts, Awakening Potato Chips, and Making Homemade Spices
Got a big bag of potato chips that have lost their crunch? Transfer them to a microwave-safe container with a kitchen towel under it, then run it for 30 seconds. Repeat the process until your potato chips get to the level of crispiness you prefer.
If you need to roast nuts and don’t want to crank your conventional oven or “fry” them on a pan, you just need 15 seconds on the microwave to toast any kind of nuts. Do the same process if you’re dehydrating herbs and making your own spices.
7. Melting Ingredients
If you’re baking or cooking your family’s favorite meals and you suddenly face some hardened ingredients (like solidified honey, or hard-rock chocolate bars from the fridge), use your microwave oven so you no longer have to wait.
To recrystallize honey, just check if the jar is microwave-safe and place it in the oven if it is. Uncover the jar and run for about 45 seconds or until you see the honey liquefying again.
Do this for butter, chocolate, and other ingredients you need to be melted quickly. Just make sure to cool them down after since most recipes require room temperature and not boiling hot.
Of course, if you go with a commercial microwave oven, which is a LOT bigger than the standard microwave, you can definitely feed a big family and even host many big meals in the future.