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How to Operate the Microwave Oven

Updated on February 22, 2015
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

The microwave is your friend!

A hub on how to operate the microwave oven seems like a good idea. For some reason, people do not always know how to operate the microwave. I am thinking not everyone has the patience to sit down with the owner's manual. There are some basics everyone should know about the microwave.

By the way, the microwave in the photo is my microwave oven. Yes, it is not digital. Yes, it has a dial and not buttons. I like to think of it as a "retro classic," not old.

Aluminum foil - NO!

Don't even think about it...

I know plastic wrap is totally annoying. I know aluminum foil wraps around everything easier. However, aluminum foil will spark up that microwave in seconds. Not that you should ever do it, but the sparks really do fly. However, when there are sparks, there is bound to be fire. You may not know it, but your microwave is very likely to catch on fire if someone keeps aluminum foil in the oven and turns it on. Don't do it.

With that said, if you do set the microwave oven on fire, DO NOT throw water on it or in it. It is plugged into the wall. You will have bigger problems to deal with if you do so. What you want to do is first, turn it off. Then, if the fire does not look like it will go out, you want to throw some baking soda on it. Baking soda will put a kitchen fire out in no time. ALWAYS keep baking soda in your kitchen. I keep an open box in my fridge at all times to get rid of odors, but it doubles as an excellent fire extinguisher should a kitchen fire break out.

Foil wrapper - NO!

Unattended Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Peep - NO!

Food that explodes!

Let's talk about marshmallows in the microwave oven.  Yes, they can explode.  Do you really need to cook the marshmallows?  Really?  Well, OK.  First of all, don't put Marshmallow Peeps in the microwave while in the package.  Yes, the package is aluminum foil and what did we just learn?  No aluminum foil in the microwave!  That is right.  So take it out of the foil.

Next, carefully watch whatever marshmallow item you've put in the microwave oven.  Sometimes it is easier when making rice crispy treats just to pop the marshmallows in the oven.  You need to keep an eye on them though.  I know it is so much fun to watch them expand.  It might even be fun to watch them blow up.  You know what is not fun?  Cleaning that mess up.  Trust me, don't learn that lesson the hard way like I did.

When you see the marshmallows starting to "puff up" open the door, stab the marshmallows when a fork, and then begin the process again.  It might take a stab or two, and then some stirring, but you can do it.  You just have to watch the marshmallows the entire time and not get distracted.

The same goes for any type of oil or butter.  Do not leave any of these items unattended!!!  Watch them spin round and round in the microwave.  When the first fizz begins, stop the microwave oven.  That stuff can splatter all over the place, too, and that is another nightmare to clean.  It is also a fire hazard.

Don't burn that popcorn!

If you've ever burned popcorn, you know that smell is the worst.  Also, if you forget the popcorn and leave it in the microwave oven too long, it can also catch on fire.  Don't do it!  When popping popcorn, keep in mind it will only take about 2 minutes.  Once again, do not leave this unattended. 

Stand by the microwave and count the seconds between the pops.  When the pops slow to about one pop every two seconds, the popcorn is done.  When you can count to 2 the first time between the pops, take it out immediately.  This will spare you from the stinkiness of the burn!

Use plastic in the microwave at your own risk.

I used to put plastic items in the microwave all the time, but not so much anymore.  There is a lot of contraversy over plastic and if it melts into our food and what types of chemicals are going into our bodies.  A good way to prevent that, just do not microwave plastic items unless it is absolutely necessary.  All plates, bowls, and mugs will state on the bottom if it can go in the microwave.  Always try to use only items that state they are microwave safe.  I know there are times when it is easier to pop a plastic bowl with soup in the microwave, but please consider the chemicals in the plastic that are seeping into your food.  Maybe it is paranoid, but why take chances? 

What have we learned?

I hope you've enjoyed this hub on how to operate the microwave oven. So if you are 13 years old, home alone for the first time, and reading this information, please remember:

  • Don't leave food unattended in the microwave!
  • Don't put aluminum foil in the microwave!
  • Blowing up food in the microwave is dangerous and messy!
  • Don't let the popcorn burn!
  • Always use baking soda to put out kitchen fires!
  • Do not use plastic in the microwave whenever possible!

I hope this has been fun and informative. Now, go out there and heat some food up in the microwave oven!


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