Engineer Percy Spencer invented the microwave in 1945 after he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he worked on his active radar set. Ever since its household popularization, the microwave has saved home cooks innumerable hours. But even though the microwave has arguably been one of the most useful inventions of the modern age, it still has its limitations. Microwaves can be the time-pressed cook’s best friend, but it can also be downright scary when you microwave the wrong thing.
Here are some items that should never, ever be microwaved:
1. Plastic Bags
Even though it’s sometimes convenient to just leave food in the plastic bag in which it was stored, it’s certainly not a good idea to attempt to microwave your food in that bag. This includes everything from sandwich bags to grocery bags. Not only will the plastic melt, but the chemicals from the plastic will also leak into the food.
If you don’t want a glowing ball of plasma to explode in your microwave, keep this fruit clear away from your microwave. Although it’s hard to say why you’d microwave grapes in the first place.
3. Travel Mugs (or any kind of metal)
It doesn’t matter how quickly you need that coffee—if it’s in a travel mug, don’t nuke it! Travel mugs typically keep drinks hot because of their double layer of metal. And of course, metal and microwaves are archenemies—this includes aluminum foil, flatware, plates with metal accents and those little Chinese takeout containers.
4. Whole Eggs
Interestingly, eggs were one the first foods that Spencer tried to microwave back in 1945. Though whole eggs don’t do well in the micro, scrambled eggs cook up quite nicely—just ditch the shell first.
After a good 10 seconds or so in the microwave, your slice of bread will become super-chewy and rubbery—not appetizing in the least.
6. Nothing at all
Something must be in the microwave when it’s on (something not listed above, of course). Not putting something in the microwave when it’s on can destroy the microwave.
If something seems like it might be iffy to put in the microwave, odds are it most likely is. The oven or stove may take a bit longer, but it’s also much safer for many foods. Of course, the possibilities are endless when it comes to non-microwaveable things, so a helpful tip is that if it has metal, one-time use plastic (like a yogurt container) or an outer membrane (like a grape or egg), then opt for an alternative heating source.