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Archive for October, 2008

Is Microwave Cooking Safe?

Posted by rhondascooking on October 5, 2008

In our current society, we are people-on-the-go!  Our lives are so busy that we don’t even have time to sit down and have a nice home-cooked meal with the family.  Instead, we turn to fast food restaurants or microwave dinners.  It has been estimated that over 90% of all Americans have a microwave.  Do you know how these ovens work?  Basically, microwave radiation excites the water, fat and other molecules in the food and in a certain amount of time, the food will cook/heat.  Now, depending on who you talk with, the answer regarding the safety of microwave usage will vary.  There are several factors to consider—type of food, type of containers, heating versus cooking. 

 

Studies have shown that microwave cooking does destroy vitamins and nutrients of some foods.  In fact, according to a study in Science News, 6 minutes of microwave cooking destroyed half the vitamin B12 in dairy foods and meat, which is a much higher rate of destruction than other techniques.2,3  Now, I must admit I too have succumb to the convenience of microwave re-heating!  Though I do not cook in the microwave, I still use it some times for defrosting and re-heating.  However, as of 2 months ago, I have started moving away from this process; though this is sometimes difficult, I know that it is imperative if I want to maintain my vitamins and nutrients.  

 

I have not been able to find many studies to back-up the dangers of microwave usage.  But I think the best thing to do is to remember balance.  Try to start minimizing your microwave usage during the week.  I have started using my bamboo steamer to re-heat my leftovers—it works great and only takes about 5 to 7 minutes! 

 

 

1“Microwave Ovens.”  Wikipedia.org. 02 Oct. 2008.  05 Oct. 2008

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_oven>.

2Raloff, Janet.  “Microwaves Bedevil a B Vitamin.”  Science News. 14 Feb. 1998. 05 Oct. 2008

<http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_n7_v153/ai_20346932>.

3Don Colbert, MD.  The Seven Pillars of Health.  Florida: Siloam, 2007.

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Read the Cooking Instructions First!

Posted by rhondascooking on October 5, 2008

Just this past week, several people had Salmonella poisoning after eating frozen stuffed chicken entrees that were raw but breaded.  This happened all because people who got sick did not follow the instructions and reportedly used microwaves to prepare the entrees.1  

 

1“Cook frozen chicken entrees properly, USDA urges.”  Reuters.com. 04 Oct. 2008. 05 Oct. 2008

<http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4930BJ20081004>.

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Gadget of the Week: Silicone Cookware

Posted by rhondascooking on October 5, 2008

Have you seen those flexible, bright-colored, rubber-like pans, spatulas, and spoons that claim to withstand very high temperatures? These cookware items are made with a polymer called silicone.  Silicone cookware is great in the kitchen because they truly can withstand very high temperatures that range between 175 to 600 degrees, as well as the fact that it is flexible, easy to store, easy to clean! 

 

There are noticeable differences between silicone baking pans and non-stick/glass baking pans.  In my opinion, I feel that baking with silicone pans keeps the baked goods moist in comparison to other pans.  However, one downside to this cookware is that foods do not brown on the bottom when baked and requires that you remove the food quickly from the pan to prevent sticking. 

 

Depending on the type of silicon cookware you select, the price is around $5 and up.  Click to learn more information about the Silicone Solutions Red Bread Baking Set as well as other silicone cookware. 

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Ask Rhonda

Posted by rhondascooking on October 5, 2008

Question: “I’m wondering if you could cover plastic vs glass containers for food storage, lunch boxes, etc.  I’m starting to worry more about re-heating foods in the microwave in plastic.”—D.S.

 

Answer:   I see two concerns with your question—appropriate storage containers and microwave usage.  Let’s first start with appropriate storage containers. The best food storage container is made of glass or ceramic, but these can be a bit pricey.  Other types of containers that are safe to use are plastic containers and non-bleached paper bags/boxes, but you have to select them based on usage.  However, because I always look for ways to protect our health and environment, I recommend that if you use plastics use those that are recyclable, biodegradable and safe.  Look on the back of the container for the numbers 2 and 5; these numbers reflect the type of resin materials (polyethylene and polyproplylene).1 (Please note:  store meat in glass containers only.)

 

Now to address which containers to use for microwave use, you must pay attention and look at the little images or read the directions/usage notes.  This is the only way to determine if that container is appropriate for microwave usage; never assume that it’s okay if you do not see anything.  Look for the microwave image or words like “microwave reheatable” or “microwave-safe”.  If you do not see either of these, then you should not use that container. Not every container should be used in the microwave.  Also, throw away any container that has been damaged in the microwave due to the heating/cooking process (i.e. small holes or indentions in the container). This can be a potential risk for bacteria contamination.

 

 

1Sage. “Decoding Your Plastic Containers.”  Online posting.  10 July 2006.  Domesticgoddess.com – All Topics. 05 Oct. 2008 <http://domesticgoddesses.tribe.net/thread/243d1968-ce4d-4345-9a60-286eb3705e62>. 

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