The microwave is a staple of the American way of life, thanks to its convenience and speed. It’s especially helpful for reheating leftovers, and getting multiple meals out of one cooking session (or getting another meal out of restaurant food). In most cases, it’s a great way to save time and money. However, there are some foods that do not do well in the microwave for various reasons. Here’s a quick breakdown of three examples:
- Rice. This is a tricky one. When rice is stored uncooked, it can harbor bacteria that causes food poisoning. They aren’t always wiped out after being cooked, and can even grow in numbers when left out at room temperature. So to mitigate risk, eat your rice soon after it’s cooked, and perhaps don’t look to keep leftovers for microwave heating later.
- Chicken. Anyone who has microwaved chicken will tell you it generally doesn’t come out great anyway. But there’s another reason to avoid this: the proteins change when the chicken is turned cold in the refrigerator, and then reheated later. This can cause sickness. If you do plan on reheating those leftovers, make sure it’s thoroughly cooked all the way to the center.
- Pizza. This one has to do more with taste than food safety. If you put pizza in the microwave, it’ll come out floppy and not very appetizing. Instead, try this trick: take a non-stick pan, and put the heat on low. Put the pizza in the pan, place some foil on top to cover the whole pan, and let it heat for five minutes. The pizza will come out with a crispy bottom and melted cheese. Some say this tastes better than fresh!