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Not a lot of people think about how reheating your food also plays a part in how it’s going to taste. Retaining the same texture, ensuring the heat is distributed evenly throughout the food, and properly heating your food will ensure all that. Yet, you should not solely depend on your microwave to heat your food. You should also be aware of other options.
Knowing which options are the best alternatives to reheating food without a microwave and how to use them is not an easy feat. Hence, in this article, I am going to highlight the 8 best ways to reheat food without a microwave. I am also going to include some additional details. I would recommend reading the whole article so that you have all the proper information.
It is important to be aware of ways to reheat food without a microwave. In many cases, you might not have access to a microwave so it is better to know some backup options. Below I have included the 8 best ways to reheat food without a microwave.
1. Steam the food
For frozen foods, meat items that can be easily seared or any food items that stick together, steaming them is an ideal option. This is because steaming is a smooth method of cooking, also known as a wet or moist-heat cooking method. The method heats your food with the help of moisture.
To steam your food, you will require a steamer basket. If you do not have one, you can use position a plate on an upside-down bowl so that it creates a makeshift stand. Just ensure that the water does not completely vaporize or that it does not come in contact with the plate.
If this option is too tricky or complex for you to follow, you can also go for a large soup pot or a metal colander. If you are reheating frozen food, you can simply follow the directions given in the package of the food.
2. Use the stove
The classic method of reheating food is the stove. You can heat almost everything on the stove without any hassles. Although the most ideal items are wet food items such as soup or curry but you can heat others too as long as you maintain necessary precautions.
In a saucepan, you will have to pour in whatever food you want to reheat. Cook the food from low to medium heat. Monitor the cooking process and taste it every now and then to ensure it is up to your preferences. In most cases, the food will take 5 minutes to reheat.
3. Place your food in boiling water
In some cases, the heat from the boiling water will be enough to warm up your food. It is also a very simple technique as it will not require you to continuously monitor the situation. You can easily apply this method if you go camping or are staying in a hotel. Fitting food items for this reheating method can be beans, soft-boiled eggs, tofu, hotdogs, etc.
First, you will need to boil water, you can use the stove or a kettle. In a heatproof container, such as a bowl or large mug, place the food you want to reheat in said container. A small saucepan or a Pyrex measuring cup will also do the trick. Pour the water you just boiled all over this container. Wait around for 5 minutes, minimum, for the food to get reheated.
4. Use an electric oven to bake the food
An electric oven is the perfect substitute for a microwave oven. It also provides further convenience as it can heat large amounts of food in a very short time, definitely faster than that of microwaves, that too without drying out the food in any way. You can also go for a toaster oven.
Turkey, casseroles, frozen pizza, or pasta are oven reheated using an electric oven by baking them. You will have to preheat your oven to 350 °F. Follow the instructions given in your food package and bake them accordingly. If the food you want to reheat are leftovers, place them on a baking tray and bake them for at least 20 minutes.
5. Use an air fryer
More and more people are shifting to using an air fryer these days to reheat their food. Not only is it cheap and eliminates wastage but it is also very simple and quick to heat your food. Most importantly, using an air fryer will ensure that your heated food will not turn soggy or bland in any way.
You can reheat any type of food in an air fryer as long as they are not wet food items such as stew or soup. How to use an air fryer for your food actually depends on the food you are cooking and you will have to modify your heating methods and timing accordingly.
Just one thing remains consistent, that is, do not overcrowd the air fryer’s basket with the food items and that you should always leave spaces here and there so that there is proper air circulation to enable your food to be heated.
For a general overview of how to use your air fryer, you can start by preheating it to 400 degrees, which is approximately 5 minutes. Add your food to the basket of the air fryer and then put the basket inside the air fryer.
When you see that the food is reheated, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and reheat them again for 3 minutes. This is the most important aspect to monitor about using an air fryer. You will have to check how much your food has been heated and then change the temperature and timer accordingly.
6. Pan-fry the food
Pan-frying your food to reheat them is the best option for fried or fatty foods, that is, food items with a high oil consistency. This can include fries, all sorts of pies, nuggets, pizzas, etc. Such items will retain their original crust when you pan fry them.
In a non-stick pan, pour in the food you want to reheat. Fry them from low to medium heat. If the amount of oil in the item is a bit low, add half a teaspoon of oil or butter so that the food does not end up sticking to the pan.
7. Use a broiler
A broiler will provide a kind of dry heat to your food. If you to reheat dry or fried food items such as nuggets, fries, etc., the broiler is a good pick.
You can start by turning on your broiler. In a baking tray, place the food you want to heat. Broil the food for at least 2-3 minutes. And the reheating process is complete, simple as that.
Do note that broilers can be extremely hot. Hence, if you turn the settings to high, it will take only a few minutes for your food to get completely burned. That is why I recommend always turning on the oven light and keeping your eye on the food if it requires the high option to be heated. Don’t forget your oven mitts as well!
8. Boil the food
For food items that were cooked by being boiled, you can reheat them in the same way. Prime examples can be beans or broccoli. Do not use this method for foods that consist of any kind of flavorings or sauce as it will end up distorting the taste. You should also avoid foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as rice or pasta. They end up turning soggy.
For this technique, in a saucepan, boil water. Add in the food. Keep boiling the food until you think the process is done. In most cases, it will take 3 minutes, at the maximum.
How Can Reheating Food in a Microwave be Bad?
Another reason why you should opt for other methods of reheating food other than using a microwave is that reheated food from microwaves can sometimes be harmful to you. I have enlisted some of these detrimental effects below.
Heating food items in plastic containers
Some plastic elements are soft and flexible. When exposed to higher temperatures, they can sometimes get infused with the food they are surrounding. This can be damaging to your metabolic system and hormones. There are also chances of asthma and fertility issues.
For children, there can be an increase in blood pressure. Additionally, there are risks of hypertension and diabetes.
According to studies, microwave ovens lead to 97% of flavonoids being removed from vegetables such as broccoli, leeks, etc. Flavonoids consist of a number of benefits such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. Microwaving food items with a high water consistency also led to similar outcomes.
Exposure to harmful bacteria
Food must be heated evenly at a temperature of 176° F minimum to kill off any harmful bacteria that reside within the food. If the food is not heated evenly and at the right temperature, the bacteria will still be there.
And these bacteria can expand steadily the more you allow food to cool down and be heated again. So do not reheat food in the microwave more than once.
If you want to learn about these risks in more detail, you can take a look here.
Which Food Should Never Be Reheated in a Microwave?
Contrary to popular knowledge, you should not reheat all kinds of food in the microwave. Just because it can reheat food in general, does not mean it is applicable to do so in the case of every food. Below I have provided a small list of foods that you should never reheat in a microwave.
Chicken: As I have mentioned before, microwaves cannot always completely eliminate harmful bacteria. Hence, it is better to avoid microwaving chicken as it imposes high risks of salmonella.
Rice: Rice consists of a bacteria known as Bacillus cereus and it is resistant to heat. The bacteria can produce spores which, when exposed to room temperature, can produce toxins and lead to food poisoning. It can also lead to nausea and diarrhea in some cases.
Hard-boiled eggs: When you microwave a hard-boiled egg, the interior moisture leads to a buildup of steam. This can make the egg explode, not only in the microwave but even after you take it out, it can do so in your mouth, hands, etc.