The web site 20 Things You Never Knew Your Microwave Could Do must have been written by an engineer who doesn’t do much cooking, because some of the advice is downright risible, and a little dangerous.
Here we try to repair the damage by running through some of the worst ideas and explaining better ways to handle them.
Flat leaf Italian parsley, dried
They say that you can dry out parsley “to save space,” but show curly leaved parsley, which is only good for decorating. Curly leaved parsley has no flavor so you wouldn’t want it dried. They suggest drying it for 3-4 minutes. HOWEVER BIG WARNING:
If you heat parsley in the microwave for even 40 seconds, it starts to smoke and by 45 seconds it was on fire. This could be pretty serious if you weren’t watching it. And that dried parsley had no remaining flavor in any case,
They suggest that you can quickly make a hot compress in the microwave by heating a wet towel for a minute. Somehow this is supposed to be faster than waiting for hot water from your tap.
ANOTHER BIG WARNING: The temperature inside that towel is 186 degrees F, and you could end up with second degree burns, By the time the towel cooled down, you could have gotten water from the tap.
Peeling a garlic clove
They claim that you can peel a garlic clove by heating it in the microwave for 15 seconds. The peel does loosen, but this cooks the clove into a weird rubbery puck, with reduced flavor. Not a good idea.
Cutting an onion without tears
The idea is to cut up onions without the onion irritating your eyes. Their cockamamie idea is to cut the ends off an onion and then heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. They claim that you can then cut up the onion without eye irritation.
ACTUALLY, what happens is that after 30 seconds the onion is bubbling and steaming. If you cut it open carefully, you will see that the middle is soft, cooked and smells rather like a spoiled onion. We threw it away at once.
Microwave poached egg
The web site we suggests that you bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour it into a bowl for microwaving. Ok, but why not just heat the water in the microwave? Lots of people boil water in microwaves every day!
Boil water and pour it into a bowl.
Then they say to put add the egg to the formerly boiling water, add a tsp of white vinegar, and prick the egg yolk with a toothpick so it doesn’t explode during microwaving.
They suggest covering the bowl with plastic wrap but we didn’t bother.
Then you microwave the egg in the bowl for 30 seconds, take it out, turn it over and microwave it for 20 seconds more.
What you get from all this hoo-rah is a very tough funny-looking egg. You could probably do 2 at a time this way (but no more) and have 2 ugly eggs. You can see the difference in the pictures. The microwaved egg looks almost fake.
You can tell the difference right away if you just press on the two eggs with your finger. The real poached one gives way at once, and the microwave-fail one is tough and rubbery like a slab of fake vomit. And it took twice as long to make as well!
Softening dry bread
The idea is to revitalize stale bread by wrapping it in a damp towel and microwaving it, 10 seconds at a time, until the bread freshens. It doesn’t. We used some week-old Italian bread to test this.
After 3 10-second increments, you have hot, soggy, stale bread. We threw it away.