What do you use your microwave oven for? Perhaps to just reheat soups or coffee or to defrost frozen pizza? Or perhaps you use your oven to cook casseroles, lasagna, and proper meals? Or do you use your oven to just bake and grill? Contrary to popular perception, microwave ovens can be used for purposes beyond cooking and reheating. You would be surprised to know that you might be under-utilizing your microwave oven. With their many features and utilities, microwave ovens have become one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen. Although there is a restriction on the type of material that can be used inside an oven, there is no restriction on how a microwave oven is used. Here are a few uses of a microwave oven you perhaps did not know about:
- Decrystallizing and recrystallizing honey: Since honey has a high concentration of sugars, it tends to solidify or crystallize due to environmental factors. This is especially true when honey has been stored for a substantial period of time without much use. Honey that has solidified can be decrystallized or recrystallized using your microwave oven. The honey can be liquefied by removing the cover of the jar and heating it in the oven from 30 seconds to 1 minute. This should be done at medium power. The honey will then get back its original consistency.
- Warming medical aids: Many ailments related to the muscles and bones and even chronic pain require hot compresses. Many people usually soak hand towels in hot running water for a hot compress. A simple way would be to soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for about 1 minute. Hot compress gel packs can also be heated and reheated in a microwave oven.
- Disinfecting: Disinfecting sponges and cutting boards. Kitchen sponges often get dirty and start smelling foul after just a few uses. Even if you throw away sponges after a few uses, a sponge may be full of germs even with first use. For instance, if you use the sponge to wipe juices off a raw chicken or salmon, it is possible that that the sponge will smell bad and be infected with germs. The same is applicable for cutting boards. You can disinfect sponges and cutting boards with your microwave oven. Soak sponges in water with a few drops of white vinegar or lemon juice, and heat it for less than one minute. Cutting boards should first be washed well and then rubbed with a slice of lemon; the boards should then be heated for less than a minute.
- Warming beauty and cosmetic products: Your microwave oven can be used to warm up beauty products. Massaging the hair with warm oil and massaging your face with a warm moisturizer often act as relaxants. Hair oil and moisturizers can be heated in the oven for around 10 to 20 seconds at low power. Make sure to check their temperature before application. Hot wax can also be heated in a microwave oven if it cools down in the middle of an application.
- Extracting juice: You must have noticed that it is often difficult to extract juice from citrus fruits when they have just been taken out from the refrigerator. You may not be able to squeeze out every last drop from the fruit. This often happens with lemon and lime. If the fruits are at room temperature, extracting the juice becomes quite easy. You can warm up lemons or limes in your microwave oven from around 10 seconds to one minute at low power before squeezing them. Do this only when you take out the citrus fruits directly from the refrigerator.