HOW to be microwave free (Go Green)

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Do you love your microwave as much as me? OOOO how I love my microwave. I like to cook ahead on days I feel motivated and then go days without cooking so I can craft and garden as I please and not worry about coming home a little too close to dinner and eating jelly beans like a famished child.

But as I mentioned in this post, we’re not all entirely sure if microwaves are safe or healthy. It’s true that wifi and the new smart meters give off more electromagnetic radiation than microwaves, but my take on the matter is that I have CONTROL over my microwave, and lessening my toxic burden is a good goal to have.

A lot of “science” indicates that microwaves are completely safe. I’m ok with that. But once upon a time, people used “science” to advocate smoking for weight loss. I rest my point.

Then there are pictures like this:

Yikes. Ok ok, so Mercola and everyone under the sun is suspicious of micros, but if you’re like me, you just give the FDA a big ole hug and pretend you’re friends just long enough to justify your avid micro use….until you realize that microwaves are toxic crap for a whole other reason.

E-waste.

E-waste, or electronic waste, if what happens to your electronic stuff when it dies. We KNOW that undoubtedly, your microwave was made of toxic crap, that undoubtedly, polluted the environment from it’s production and packaging (plastic too…*shudder*)…but when your microwave dies, old people and children in third world countries pick it apart for precious materials.

Hi, I don’t want to be a part of this.

I’m going to confess- I have not *completely* ditched my micro. I’m working on my transition. But I thought I would share my meager tips on how I’m accomplishing that goal.

Step 1– Learn to eat things cold. I LOVE cold salads- not just green salads, but Happy Herbivore’s assorted mock tuna, mock egg, and mock potato salad. This pasta salad is my favorite too. I’ve always liked cold baked beans on hot summer days, but lately I’ve been enjoying cold rice. DH LOVES raw artichoke, but I prefer mine steamed with balsamic vinaigrette.

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Step 2– Boil/cook things stove top. I shudder at the idea that people cook things like potatoes, squash, and eggs in the microwave. I used to microwave my tea water, but now I boil it. A few small sized pans really do the trick.

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Step 3– Invest in a double boiler. I use this to make my eczema cream (which is edible, but if you make things that aren’t, use a separate one), but I also use it to re-heat things that cannot have water added to them. Soup and beans can be heated stovetop in sauce pans, but double boilers would be good to reheat things like tofu scramble, stuffed peppers, mac and cheese, etc.

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Step 4– Learn how to use a carafe or thermos in the home. When you boil tea water or make hot coffee, put it in an insulated container so it’s hot when you want more. This is a vintage glass-lined thermos, and it keeps morning coffee hot until dinner time.

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Step 5– Get a convection toaster oven. I use this oven to bake in hot weather by sticking it outside with a grounded extension cord, and I use it to bake to conserve energy since it uses less energy than an oven. But these beauties are EXCELLENT for reheating food. In fact, one of my favorite things to make in my toaster oven is reheated (toasted) leftover muffins! Most convection ovens even have a “reheat” setting. When reheating food in a toaster oven, it’s good to put it in a casserole dish with a lid. Pyrex makes some awesome dishes for this. Not to mention that toaster oven reheated pizza is second to none! (unless you like it cold!)

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I’m really interested in others’ tips and tricks to going micro free, so please feel free to leave tips in the comments below! Thanks for your help!

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7 thoughts on “HOW to be microwave free (Go Green)

  1. Great ideas to go Green Kate. Especially like the double boiler and the thermos to keep beverages warm. I have my morning tea in one right now. And I always stand back when I use a microwave, though I do use it too much. Thanks for reminding me of the potential dangers.

    Have you heard of solar cookers? Here’s a post I did about them, and at the bottom of that post are links to 2 or 3 more I did. http://throughtheluminarylens.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-encouraging-crocuses-of-spring-curious-george-solar-ovens/

    A solar oven can be fairly easy to build as well, if you are good at crafts or with woodwork. The first one I built was with cardboard, then I built two more with wood, and finally I purchased 2 portable models to take to fairs and for demonstrations.

    Thank for the post on alternatives to microwave ovens.

      • I’ve heard Maine climate is somewhat similar to our coastal BC climate. We live in coastal rainforest, with lots of cloudy days & it rarely gets too hot outside. The key to solar cooking is find the sunniest window or better yet. the sunniest part of your yard & check the weather to make sure it will be a sunny day, and then start cooking earlier than you normally would. Depending on what you cook, how much food and how efficient your oven is, the cooking times are double or even triple traditional ovens… temperatures often don’t reach higher than 220 to 240 degrees, or 275 on the best ovens, though the food is much tendier and juicier…. therefore use slightly less water. A good resource base is on one of my blog posts … google Solar Cookers International… it’s a non-profit NGO all about solar cooking. Good luck Kate.

  2. Alternatives are good, but I don’t know that avoiding e-waste is a particularly compelling reason to avoid microwaves. I’ve had the same microwave for 18 years now; it’s not as if it becomes e-waste quickly or extravagantly.

    Another energy-efficient way to cook is the George Foreman grill or similar. My brother, who is a home energy auditor, explained why it’s efficient in comments on this post:
    http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2011/07/07/grildebeest/
    We later bought one and found that it cooks veggie burgers almost as quickly as the microwave, and they taste better and have a better consistency.

    • I think you’d be surprised- *we* don’t think about things like upgrading and such, but many people will upgrade their microwave for stupid reasons like getting a different color, or for moving, etc. I hope this post motivates people to not replace their current unit when it dies! (or to go out and buy a new one!)

  3. Great tips, Kate! I confess that we do use our microwave sometimes for heating things up and most of the research I’ve found has shown that microwaves are safe, but like you I keep thinking that, one day, they’ll discover something wrong with them πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Kate!

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