Microwave oven: not just for cooking

PHOTO: Microwave oven: not just for cooking

I do much more than cook with my microwave oven.

Every week, for example, I sanitise my kitchen sponge and cloth in the microwave oven.

It kills bacteria, making it safe for use again. And it takes only about a minute.

If I am making jam or bottling pickles, I do not bother to boil a pot of water to sterilise the jars for the jam or pickles. I sterilise them using the microwave oven.

I fill up about six jars with water, each to a level of about 3cm, and then heat them in the oven for about a minute or till the water boils.

Using oven gloves, I remove the jars from the oven, throw away the water and they are ready to be used for bottling.

I have also used the microwave oven to clean up hardened wax from glasses holding candles.

A session in the oven melts the wax, making it easy to remove with kitchen paper, which you then discard.

You can also use the microwave oven to warm up a homemade heating pad to ease the aches of a weekend athlete.

With my recent decision to add more exercise into my routine, I have found the need for this.

If you have one of those neck pillows filled with rice or beans, you can use it.

If you do not have one, make one from an old sports sock, by filling it with some dried beans or rice, or even coffee beans for a lovely aroma.

Just throw it into the oven and warm it for a couple of minutes or so.

And voila, you have a heating pad to place over your aching muscles.

You can also dye small items of clothing (about 225g) in a microwave oven.

Fill a bowl with 200ml of cold water and, wearing gloves, stir in the fabric dye. Then add 400ml more water.

Dunk the fabric into this solution and place the bowl inside a plastic bag.

Heat it at a high temperature in the microwave oven for four minutes.

Remove, drain and rinse the fabric in cold water.

Wash it in hot water, then dry it, away from direct heat or sunlight.

You can even use the microwave to salvage dried-up mascara - a quick turn in the microwave oven makes it usable again.

I have not even gone into how I use the microwave oven to prepare food, which I will write about in my next column.

Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.