Safe Microwave Cooking
Many busy families prepare meals in the microwave all week long. After all, it’s quicker and produces less heat than a conventional oven.
However, it’s important to cook food properly in the microwave to make sure it’s delicious and safe. If your children use a microwave, please share these simple tips with them, too.
To defrost frozen foods in the microwave, remove the food from its packaging before placing it the microwave. Foam trays and plastic wraps may melt or warp in the microwave and allow chemicals to migrate into food.
When defrosting or cooking, arrange food evenly in a covered dish with water or other liquid as needed. Always use glass, ceramic or plastic cookware that is specially manufactured and labeled for microwave use. Cover food with a lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap to hold in moisture and ensure even heating, then loosen or vent the lid or wrap so steam can escape.
Stir or rotate food midway through the microwaving time to eliminate cold spots. If you are partially cooking food in the microwave and finishing it in a conventional oven or on the grill, transfer the microwave-cooked food to the other heat source immediately. Never thaw or partially cook food and store it for later use.
Cooking times will vary because microwave ovens vary in power and efficiency. Remember to use a food thermometer or your microwave’s temperature probe to know when food has reached its safe minimum internal temperature. Always allow standing time – which completes the cooking process – before checking the internal temperature.
Below are safe minimum internal temperatures for various foods:
Beef, veal, roasts 145°F
All cuts of pork 160°F
Ground beef, sausage 160°F
Egg dishes 160°F
All poultry 165°F
Summer favorites such as ready-to-eat hot dogs should be heated until they are steaming hot.