The microwave oven has been making our dreams come true since 1967. From reheating leftovers to baking potatoes and popping popcorn, it seems the microwave can do it all and it can do it incredibly fast! Many of us lean on our microwave to help us re-heat and cook food in a pinch! After all, it’s the perfect solution especially when hunger strikes and you’re too exhausted to cook in the oven.

Have you ever taken a moment to think about everything you put in the microwave and whether it is actually safe? If you haven’t, don’t worry, we did all the work for you and searched the web to find out exactly what isn’t recommended for the microwave! Some of these foods may seem like common sense while others may surprise you! Let’s all microwave safely and let’s not microwave these 12 foods!

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1. Chicken

We all know how risky it is to eat uncooked chicken as it may contain salmonella and in turn can give us food poisoning. However, cooked chicken that has reached the internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit should eliminate that risk.

Unfortunately, reheating chicken in the microwave can put you at risk again. This can be especially true if the leftover chicken wasn’t stored properly. You see, it needs to be refrigerated 1 to 2 hours after cooking otherwise you risk the growth of bacteria. Since the microwave is known to unevenly reheat food, especially thick pieces of meat, it may not reheat the chicken back to the required 165 degrees. To eliminate your risk of food poisoning it may be best to reheat chicken in the oven or on the stovetop.

2. Grapes

Of course, it goes without saying that one would not normally microwave a grape. But for those that are curious to find out if you can dehydrate a grape in the microwave, trust us you can’t and you shouldn’t try it either!

Instead of raisins, you’ll get fire – yikes! When microwaved, grapes can actually generate plasma. Not only do you not want a firey ball in your microwave but it can ruin your appliance too. This is one of those things you shouldn’t try at home!

3. Hot Peppers

Hot peppers are spicy due to an active ingredient called capsaicin which can vaporize when microwaved. While heating hot peppers in the microwave may not cause you to become sick, it could create a troublesome experience.

If you do feel the absolute need to microwave hot peppers, you’ll want to open the microwave door with caution. A faceful of vapor would not be a fun experience at all.

4. Hard-Boiled Eggs

You might want to think twice before reheating your hard-boiled eggs in the microwave. When hard-boiled eggs are heated in the microwave, steam begins to build up. It essentially becomes like a small pressure cooker, so much so that the egg can explode!

With a single prick of a fork, the egg can explode into a million tiny hot burning pieces. One man tested it for us all to see, check out this egg explosion video. To avoid burning your mouth, face, or hands be sure to cut the hard-boiled egg into small pieces before reheating.

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5. Mushrooms

Reheating mushrooms in the microwave won’t cause any harm, however, if the mushrooms weren’t refrigerated right after cooking then you could be at risk for food poisoning.

The reason for this is because the protein structure and complex enzymes can become destroyed if they’re not refrigerated immediately. If this happens, when reheated, the mushrooms can cause an upset stomach. If you know you won’t be eating your delicious mushroom dish entirely, be sure to toss it in the fridge right away!

6. Potatoes

Similar to mushrooms, if potatoes aren’t stored correctly and are reheated in the microwave, they too can be harmful. Potatoes can grow a bacteria called clostridium botulinum if stored incorrectly. This bacteria can be very harmful if it is consumed.

You might be thinking, well wouldn’t the microwave kill off this bacteria with the heat? As we discussed earlier, the microwave isn’t prone to evenly reheat food and therefore could put you at risk. When in doubt be sure to refrigerate leftover potatoes immediately, and reheat them in the oven!

7. Rice

Further, rice is similar to mushrooms and potatoes as it can grow spore-forming bacteria. Unfortunately, spores can develop resistance to extreme heat which means the microwave may not kill off the bacteria. Keep in mind, this problem usually only arises if you reheat the rice and then allow it to sit at room temperature.

If you come into contact with this bacteria, it may cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. To avoid bacteria growth, be sure to keep the rice warm at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit once the rice has been reheated instead of allowing it to come back down to room temperature before consuming.

8. Breastmilk & Formula

Breastmilk and/or formula is so important for your new little bundle of joy. When bottle-feeding your baby, it’s recommended that the milk is lukewarm before feeding it to your baby. Which often means you’ll need to heat the milk.

Unfortunately, it is not recommended to heat the milk in the microwave. As we discussed earlier, the microwave is known to not heat contents evenly. Thus, can result in “hot spots” which can scald your baby’s mouth or throat. Instead, it is recommended that you heat the milk in a pot on the stove.

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9. Takeout In Styrofoam Containers

Taking home leftovers from the restaurant is awesome and guarantees you get to dig into a delicious meal twice! Thankfully restaurants come equipped with takeout containers so that we can get our beloved food home safely.

If you find yourself with takeout leftovers in a styrofoam container, be sure to transfer the contents to a dinner plate that is microwave safe before reheating. Styrofoam is a type of plastic and when you microwave it, it can release toxins into your food – yikes!

10. Leftover Food With Toothpicks

The takeout containers aren’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to reheating your restaurant leftovers. Many sandwiches, wraps, and the like are often served with a toothpick or wooden skewer.

While it serves a practical purpose as it holds all the delicious layers together, this could cause problems for you in the future when you go to reheat your food. You see, a wooden toothpick or skewer in the microwave can spark a fire. So be sure to check that tasty sandwich for toothpicks before you toss it in the microwave!

11. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are incredibly healthy for you but you may want to think twice before heating up leftovers that contain cooked kale, spinach, and even celery.

These leafy greens contain nitrates which are good for you, however, when microwaved they may convert to nitrosamines. Studies have shown that most nitrosamines are carcinogenic. So play it safe and heat those leftover greens in the oven! Keep in mind, this also applies to other nitrate-rich veggies such as beets and turnips!

12. Frozen Meat

So you plan to make a delicious chicken dinner but then you realize that you’ve forgotten to take the meat out the night before. We’ve all been there but microwaving meat to speed up the thawing process may not be a good idea.

If the meat isn’t cooked immediately after thawing in the microwave then, you risk bacteria growth. This is because the meat can reach the “danger zone” which is anywhere between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The best method is to transfer frozen meat to the fridge and allow it to remain there until it has completely thawed. While this method does take the longest, it is the safest!

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

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