Sue Snider, PhD, is a Professor in the department of Animal and Food Sciences and Food Safety and Nutrition Specialist with Cooperative Extension at the University of Delaware. Dr. Sue Snider’s academic training is in home economics education and food science. Research for both her Masters and PhD involved microwave cooking of fish and beef. She has a deep concern and passion about food safety. Her educational programs range the entire spectrum of the food supply from growers to consumers, including youth. Dr. Snider has been involved in a number of innovative food safety projects including the development of a music-based curriculum called Don’t Bug Me! to teach safe food handling to youth. She actively writes news articles for the public on food safety and serves as a contact for regional media about food safety issues. Dr. Snider serves on the Delaware Food Safety Council, a board that advises the Delaware Department of Public Health about issues and concerns related to food safety in foodservice establishments.
Foods That Shouldn't be Microwaved
Microwave expert Sue Snider discusses foods that shouldn't be microwaved.
Sue Snider: I am Sue Snider, University of Delaware, department of Animal and Food Sciences. We are talking about microwaving of foods and I would like to share with you some things that you should not microwave. The first of these are home canned products. If you are home canning green beans or meat or any kind of vegetable, you need to be using a pressure processing to make sure that the temperature gets above 240 or 250 degrees. Things like canned fruits, sauces should not be microwaved also because the temperature is so uneven and its just not possible to make a safe product. Another item that should not be microwaved is stuffed poultry. Stuffing is very difficult to heat in the center. It has to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe. By the time you would reach that temperature in the microwave, the poultry would be so overcooked that it would not be a delicious product. So microwaving of stuffed poultry should not be done.
Another item that is a problem in the microwave is trying to deep fat fry. Fat does not absorb microwaves very well, it takes a long time to heat and the food is just not going to be as desirable, so this is a place where you really want to use traditional deep fat frying methods. Other items that people sometimes microwave are things like dishcloths clothes to dry, these are things that you dont want to microwave because of the problem with fire. So these are the items that you dont and the last item is baby food. It's very tempting to microwave a baby bottle or a baby food and it's not that the product is unsafe, but because these products can heat and become so hot that it is a problem with the baby burning its mouth. If you are heating a bottle and it becomes very hot, you may not be aware of it. Now some people do decide to use the microwave and if you are going to microwave a baby formula or food, you may need to take some precautions. In the case of the baby bottle you want to make sure you shake it, you want it to stand for a period of time and then make sure you test it. The same thing with baby food, you want to heat it, you want to make sure you stir it well and let it sit for a period of time for the temperature to equilibrate and then, test the product before you give it to your baby.
We have talked about what you should not cook in the microwave oven. We will now talk about defrosting in the microwave oven.