Friend or foe…..there is no disputing the fact that the microwave oven can be used for so much more than simply warming up leftovers or cooking food quickly!
Here are 8 useful tricks to add to your repertoire:
1 – Let’s get juicy
Ever run short of lemons midway through baking your favourite lemon drizzle cake, wishing that you could squeeze, but a few more drops out of what is essential, the leftover peel of the lemons you have already squeezed?
Look no further than your microwave.
Next time, when needing freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice, zap the orange/lemon into the microwave for 20-30 seconds before squeezing to enable you to extract significantly more juice.
2 – No more tears
Chopping onions is often a tearful experience but it needn’t be!
Before chopping an onion, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Microwaving the onion removes the sting from the juice enabling you to chop away to your heart’s content!
3 – Herby heaven
Leftover fresh herbs?
No problem; use your microwave to dry them out.
To ensure the herbs are not cooked in the process, pat them dry before removing their leaves and popping them between two sheets of paper towel. Place the paper towel on a microwave-safe dish and heat for roughly 1 minute. Continue to heat at 20-second intervals thereafter or until the herbs have fully dried out.
4 – Sweet surrender
Honey has a nasty habit of crystallizing and turning into a sticky sugary lump at the bottom of your jar.
To convert this lump back into a smooth liquid, transfer the contents of the honey jar to a microwave-safe dish and repeatedly heat at medium power for 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the honey returns to its original fluid state.
5 – Sponge surprise
Kitchen sponges are notorious for omitting all kinds of unsavoury odours; odours which undeniably suggest it’s time for the bin!
Before turfing, try this: add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to water and allow the sponge to soak. Thereafter, heat the sponge in the microwave for one minute and allow to cool.
Once cooled, your sponges should be clean and smelling fresh once again!
6 – Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Finally, a way to make use of those last slivers of soap that drive you nuts in the shower.
Use a knife to cut the flakes into smaller pieces, placing them in a microwavable dish together with a few tablespoons of water. Heat for approximately 30 seconds, stirring to combine into a smooth liquid.
If you’re creative and wish to add a shape to your soap, consider pouring the mixture into a muffin tin or chocolate mould and let stand until hardened.
Voila – a brand new soap!
7 – Keep it clean
Although considered more convenient to use than its wooden counterpart, plastic cutting boards are known to harbour bacteria, especially when used in the preparation of meat.
For a quick and easy, chemical-free solution to disinfecting plastic cutting boards, consider using your microwave.
To do so, ensure that the board is well washed and has been rubbed with the cut side of a lemon, then place in the microwave and heat for one minute.
Result? Bacteria nuked!
8 – Sticky wax
Scented candles are very often beautifully presented in a decorative jar which can be repurposed in numerous ways if you could only remove the leftover wax.
This is a task your mighty microwave can help you with!
Firstly, check that the jar is microwave friendly. If it is, use a knife to remove as much of the wax from the jar as possible before placing the jar in the microwave for 20 seconds. The wax should melt just enough for you to be able to use a paper towel to wipe it clean.