I was hesitant to finish this article as I did not have the time to research more into WHY not to use your microwave. Then I realized that wasn’t the point of the article. The point was to give you ideas for how to use it less IF you are so inclined or convinced.
Who among us has never forgotten to thaw the meat for dinner? Ahh, yes, here – you get a ‘perfect homemaker’ sticker….All sarcasm aside, this is something the microwave is wonderful for – I admit! Yet, I don’t like the idea of exposing my pasture-raised, all-but-certified organic chicken from my parents into the microwave and altering or perhaps destroying all that is good about it. (did you catch that subtle reference to our blog title? Ahh, yes…)
If you are really determined to not use your microwave and yet you forget at least once a week (as I do) to thaw the meat for dinner in time, here’s a couple of tricks…
My chicken is vacuum sealed in 4 Lb. bags, 4 pieces to a bag. It usually takes all day to thaw it on the counter, or 3 days in the fridge. If I forget to get it out till, say, lunch time, there is still hope. I clean my dish tub and fill it with really warm water. I float the chicken in its bag in that for a few hours, and usually it is thawed enough to pry apart to de-bone or throw in the oven by 4pm. If you get chicken in smaller packages, all the better.
Ground beef is another thing – mine doesn’t come package that I can submerge it in warm water. If I wanted to make something with the raw, thawed meat (like meatloaf or salsbury steaks) – well, then, forget it. But there IS a way to turn a chunk of frozen ground beef into something for dinner in not much more time than it would take a microwave to thaw it. Here’s how…
Take a nice, heavy-bottomed pot or pan (I use my cast iron skillet) and turn it on really low. Plop the hunk of frozen flesh into the pan and cover with a lid. What you have done is create a warm, cozy enviroment that will thaw the meat without over cooking it. You just have to stir it often. Actually, in the beginning it’s rather a scraping action, but soon your meat will be loose and crumbly and nearly done cooking. I timed it last time I did this, and it took just over 20 min. That’s hardly more than thawing in the microwave and then frying it! Then you can have tacos or throw the meat into the spaghetti sauce instead of forming meatballs.
Other things you may thaw in the microwave can also recieve the hot water treatment, such as frozen chicken broth (I freeze mine in mason jars, so it’s real easy to set in a bowl of warm water), applesauce, or frozen fruit.
So, there you have it – hints from my kitchen on how to use your microwave less – or not at all. Think you couldn’t do it – go cold turkey and throw it out? Here’s an idea – put it in another room – say in the mudroom or laundry room off the kitchen. If it’s just a little more trouble to use it, you may get in the habit of using other options. Just think of the extra counter space you would make if you got it out of the kitchen!
When mine kicked the bucket, It suddenly solved a counterspace problem I’d been having – I now had room for Jeremy’s little coffee center on my side counter. Much better…