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The 15 Foods You Should Never, Ever Microwave


I'm not ashamed to admit that my favorite appliance is my microwave.

Let's face it, we lead very busy lives these days, and most of the time I can't even be bothered to preheat my oven.

So over the years I've learned the ins and outs of what I can and really can't microwave.

These machines have a bad reputation, but they're actually very safe and reliable these days.

Still, there are some foods you should never, ever microwave.

1.Chili peppers


I like spice in my food, not in my eyes.

See, chili peppers are loaded with a chemical called capsaicin, which gives them their spicy flavor.

Capsaicin is also used to make pepper spray, and the chemical can seep out in a dangerous mist when you heat peppers in the microwave.

You can seriously harm your eyes or throat by getting too close to the mist. Always cook peppers in the oven to be safe.

2. Eggs


Now, reheating cooked eggs is perfectly safe.

The problem is that there are plenty of recipes online for cooking hard boiled eggs in the microwave.

You should never nuke an egg.

With nowhere for the steam to go, pressure builds up inside the egg's shell until it explodes.

This can happen even after the egg is removed from the appliance, which makes them very dangerous.

Try our guaranteed method for cooking perfect hard boiled eggs instead.

3. Frozen meat


We've all tried to cut prep time by heating up frozen meat in the microwave, but this appliance is just not cut out for the job.

A microwave heats food unevenly, especially when parts are more thick or thin, like on a cut of meat.

This can ruin your meat, but also allows harmful bacteria to spread on your meat.

Overnight thawing in a safe part of your fridge is still the best way to defrost meat.

4. Mushrooms


The European Food Information Council has released a special warning about reheated mushrooms.

These fungi are actually only safe to eat withing 24 hours of their preparation. Leftovers must also be reheated thoroughly to 158 degrees - which you can't reliably do with a microwave.

That's because the proteins in mushrooms break down quickly, which can cause indigestion.

Keep in mind: processed or canned mushrooms are an exception.

5. Chicken


Leftover chicken has a very high risk of salmonella contamination, and reheating it in the microwave can let this dangerous bacteria fester.

There's also evidence that, like mushrooms, the proteins in chicken break down as they're reheated, which can leave you feeling queasy.

If you plan to eat leftover chicken, give it a thorough reheating in the over or on the stove.

6. Anything in a plastic container


People are finally beginning to learn the health hazards of microwaving food in plastic containers.

The chemicals in the container can leech out into your meal, causing a number of unwelcome health effects.

Experts say that even "microwave safe" containers can be dangerous, if they're old and scratched.

You should always transfer your food to a ceramic or glass bowl to be sage.

7. Grapes


You couldn't tell just by looking at them, but these small fruits are extremely dangerous in the microwave.

They're loaded with sugar, which can smoke and catch fire as the grapes are heated up.

In certain cases, grapes have even been known to create super heated plasma in the microwave.

For the record, raisins are dangerous for all the same reasons.

8. Carrots


Carrots are full of everything a growing body needs, including vitamins and minerals.

In fact, a carrot's mineral content is so high that these veggies have been known to spark and catch fire in the microwave.

It's best to always reheat carrots with your oven or stove instead.

9. Breast milk


Using the microwave is more convenient than turning on a stove when your baby is hungry in the middle of the night.

But there are plenty of good reasons to never put breast milk in the microwave.

Microwaving often leaves "hot spots" on your food as it cooks unevenly.

When it comes to baby bottles, these pockets of hot milk can scald your little one's mouth.

A study also found that microwaving breast milk can promote the growth of e-coli bacteria.

The safest method for heating breast milk with a microwave is to heat up a mug of water instead.

Drop the breast milk in the warm water and it will heat up evenly.

10. Broccoli


It's not dangerous to reheat broccoli, but it can be unhealthy.

Steaming broccoli in a microwave can drain out all of the healthy nutrients - which are the only reason anyone actually eats broccoli.

There are ways to avoid this, but it's just best to steam broccoli using any other method.

11. Pasta


No, you're not the only one to notice that pasta seems to explode in the microwave.

Tomato-based sauces are just too thick to heat evenly in the microwave. As pockets of hot sauce develop, it pops and splatters over the inside of your machine.

Here's the trick to making leftover pasta taste scrumptious: heat it in a pan with a little bit of oil. Best of all, there's no messy cleanup.

12. Water


Plenty of people insist that you can boil water "faster" in the microwave, but don't even try it.

Steam from water boiling on the stove escapes into the air. In the microwave, it builds up pressure until the water leaps out of its container.

You could spoil your meal, or scald yourself, so don't try it.

13. Rice


The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency singles out leftover rice as a major cause of food poisoning.

It often hosts a bacteria called bacillus cereus, which can release heat resistant toxic spores.

The biggest risk seems to come from reheating rice in the microwave after leaving it to sit at room temperature.

So only heat up your rice once, and eat it while it's warm.

14. Potatoes


Spuds are another common hiding place for bacteria, specifically at type that causes botulism.

You can avoid this by immediately refrigerating your leftover potatoes, but it's best to heat them thoroughly on a reliable appliance like your stove.

15. Celery, spinach and beets


This trio of veggies are all rich in the same thing: nitrates.

As the EFIC warns, microwaving food with plenty of nitrates can create a nasty byproduct.

Nitrates can change through a chemical reaction to create nitrosamines, which are known to cause cancer.

This is the same compound that also causes "blue baby syndrome" in infants.

Experts say cooking, boiling, and other ways to prepare these vegetables don't create the same risk.

Have you made the mistake of microwaving any of these?

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