No modern kitchen is complete without a microwave. From simple reheating leftovers to full-fledged baking, microwaves have revolutionized the way we cook.  It is quite possibly the only device where the design hasn’t changed much in the past couple of decades.

How do these tiny boxes work?

In a nutshell, microwaves heat objects by shaking water molecules.  The main component of a microwave is called a magnetron which is made of a vacuum tube and two magnets. The purpose of the magnetron is to emit, well, microwaves. Every time you reheat left over pizza, the microwaves emitted by the magnetron enter the oven’s inner chamber and travel across your slice. They excite water molecules and get them to vibrate. This movement releases energy in the form of heat, which cooks your food from the inside out.

Hence the best containers suited for ovens are made of materials that don’t have water such as ceramics and glass vessels.  Metals block the microwaves. Metal handles and aluminum foil can also create sparks if they graze the sides.

Here are some useful tips to up your microwave game:

Juice it up!

If you’re in the mood for a lemonade or orange juice, keep the citrus fruit for 20-seconds in the microwave. It’ll soften the pulp and yield more juice on squeezing. 

Hands-free garlic peel removal

Pop the garlic cloves into the microwave and heat them up for 15-20 seconds. The skin will come off as the heat produces the steam after it comes in contact with the water molecules inside the garlic. This separates the skin from the flesh. 

Tear-free Onions

Don’t shed another tear for these layered purple edible bulbs. Before slicing, microwave it for 45 seconds. The heat will neutralize the sulfur compound, called syn-propanethial-S-oxide that causes tears and you can chop them up without getting emotional.

Tomatoes follow suit

Wash your tomatoes. Cut an ‘X’ with a sharp knife on the side. Send them on a spin in the microwave for three to five seconds. Pull at the corners of the ‘X’ and voila, peels off like a charm.

The Paper Towel Trick 

Dampen a paper towel and put it on top of your food.  It’ll prevent food from splattering and will help the food retain moisture. This will also help in cooking the food more evenly. No modern kitchen is complete without a microwave. 

 Even HeatingMicrowaves tend to heat the outside edges of a plate of food first. This often leaves the food in the centre of the plate cold. When heating up foods, leave the centre of the plate empty and line your food items around the edges to heat more evenly.