Author Topic: General tips thread  (Read 1852 times)

Yvette

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General tips thread
« on: 11 Jan 2013 12:13PM »
Do you know just how useful your microwave can be - apart from cooking ready meals?

Take a look at some of the surprising things microwaves can do . . .

SAFETY FIRST:
Never put metal in microwaves and ensure all containers are microwave-safe.

Never allow children to use microwaves unsupervised.

Take care when removing hot bowls and glass from microwaves.

Sterilise soil and compost
If you are planting seedlings, then you may want to sterilise your soil first to remove bacteria and improve the seedlings’ chance of survival.

Save money on ready-sterilised soil by spreading 400g of soil on a flat, non-metal dish then heat on a high temperature in your microwave for 90 seconds or until steaming.

To sterilise compost, put 1kg in a covered dish on a full setting for seven minutes.

Professor Stefan Buczacki, former chairman of Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, swears by it.


Revive dried mascara
It's easy to give your clogged-up mascara bottle a new lease of life. Put the tube (lid off) next to a cup of water in the microwave (the water will stop it drying out).

Heat on a high setting for 30-40 seconds. This loosens the last scrapings of mascara inside the tube, giving you another few weeks’ use.

Dye clothes
Transform faded T-shirts with this speedy trick. Add a pack of Dylon natural fabric dye to a bowl of 200ml cold water and stir. Add 400ml more water and immerse up to 225g of material. Put the bowl into a plastic freezer bag and microwave on high for four minutes.

Remove, tip away the dye and rinse the fabric in cold water, leaving it to dry away from direct heat or sunlight.

Cook corn on the cob with no washing up
Don’t buy costly pre-packed versions. Just wet a paper towel, wring it out and wrap it around an ear of corn. Place on a dinner plate and heat for five minutes. Remove towel and serve with butter and pepper.

Remove chewing gum from clothesWarm one egg-cup of vinegar in the microwave before dabbing it on to the gum with a clean cloth. The gum should then simply peel off.


Warm towels
For a touch of luxury without turning on the radiators, place slightly damp hand-towels in an open zipper-bag (don’t use one with a metal zip) and heat for two to four minutes.

Unpeel old stamps
Collecting stamps? Rather than steam soggy envelopes over a boiling kettle, just sprinkle a few drops of water on to the stamp and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds.


Cook artichokes without the fuss
Cooking artichokes is fiddly and time-consuming — but not if you microwave them.

First, rinse and remove any straggly leaves. Then cut off the tip and drizzle in a little lemon juice. Microwave in a dish covered tightly with cling film. One large artichoke will take around seven minutes.

Make a soothing heat pad
If you have got aching muscles, fill a large sock three-quarters full with a mix of grains or legumes (lentils and barley work well) and sew the open end closed.

Heat for around two minutes, keeping an eye on it through the glass to ensure your stitches haven’t come undone.

The pad should stay warm for 20 minutes and is also fantastic for relieving bad backs and warming cold feet.

Melt cosmetic wax
Planning to wax your legs? Warm the wax by popping a full pot in the microwave on  80 per cent power for ten  seconds, making sure it does not boil. Check temperature before applying.

Dry out herbs
Lie washed, fresh herbs on a sheet of kitchen paper before drying them in 30-second bursts on a high setting until they are completely dry.

Leave them for a couple of minutes to rest, then store in an air-tight container. Works particularly well with thyme and oregano.

Revive stale crisps, cereal and crackers
Put a plateful in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Let stand for one minute to crisp.

Sterilise jam jars
Pour an inch of water into the jam jars. Put up to six in the microwave, then heat for one to two minutes until the water comes to the boil.

Remove, tip out the water and, hey presto, they’re ready to be filled with jam or marmalade.

Steralise kitchen sponges
To de-bug a sponge, dampen it in clean water and blast on a high setting for two minutes.

Create an instant dessert
Stick a cored  apple in a bowl with some sugar and cinnamon and heat in 30-second bursts until soft and fluffy. Serve with cream or yoghurt.

Warm plates rapidly
Want to warm plates for dinner party? Just sprinkle each one with a few drops of water, pile on top of each other and heat on high for around 30 seconds. Do not use plates with metallic decorations on them.
 
Get more juice out of lemons and limesGet more juice out of lemons and limes by softening them for 15-20 seconds in the microwave before squeezing.

Soften avocados
To speed up the ripening process of an avocado, prick it all over with a fork, pop it on a microwavable plate lined with a paper towel, and heat in  30-second bursts until soft.

Peel tomatoes
Make skinning tomatoes a doddle. Wash them, cut them in half and place cut-side down on a microwavable dish.

Then heat for up to five minutes, until the skin has shrivelled around the edges. The skins should be easy to slip off with a fork or — once cool — your fingers.

Make croutons
No croutons? No problem. Cut some bread into two-inch cubes and spread them over a microwaveable dish. Microwave on high for five seconds or until crunchy.

Whip up scrambled eggs and bacon
Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White says microwaved bacon tastes better than grilled (and it saves on the washing up, too).

For easy bacon and eggs, crack the eggs into a buttered, microwavable bowl, add a tablespoon of milk and whisk.

Cook on full power for a minute, remove and stir, then microwave at 30-second bursts (stirring at the end of each) until solid.

For the bacon, put four rashers on a plate and microwave for 2½ minutes.

Open oysters
Open fiddly oysters by placing them — with the rounder side down — in a microwave-safe dish, then cover with a paper towel. Blast for a few seconds until they open up naturally.

Wash socks simply
Washing machine broken? Not enough clothes for a full load? Not to worry. Wash your socks by putting them in a large bowl of soapy water for ten minutes on a high power setting.

Make a giant marshmallow
If your children complain of being bored, make their eyes pop with this little trick.

Put a marshmallow in the microwave and heat for no more than a minute. Stand back and watch as the marshmallow slowly expands to five, ten, 20, 30 times its normal size.

But leave it in there too long and you may end up with an exploded marshmallow — and an almighty mess.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: General tips thread
« Reply #1 on: 11 Jan 2013 12:54PM »
Quote
Make a giant marshmallow
If your children complain of being bored, make their eyes pop with this little trick.

Put a marshmallow in the microwave and heat for no more than a minute. Stand back and watch as the marshmallow slowly expands to five, ten, 20, 30 times its normal size.

But leave it in there too long and you may end up with an exploded marshmallow — and an almighty mess

I need to remember to try this at some point  >biggrin<

I really like the way microwaves can be used to heat up wheat bags for sore muscles.

ditchdwellers

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Re: General tips thread
« Reply #2 on: 11 Jan 2013 01:05PM »
I would like to urge caution with the warming towels in the microwave thing.  My husband used to do this until the time he put the towel in for too long and burnt a hole in it  >yikes<. It was one of the brand new towels that I had recently bought and was not amused.

I want to try the marshmallow trick too.  As long as it doesn't explode!

Yvette

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Re: General tips thread
« Reply #3 on: 11 Jan 2013 02:03PM »
My husband used to do this until the time he put the towel in for too long and burnt a hole in it  . It was one of the brand new towels that I had recently bought and was not amused.

It would have to be one of the new towels!  >doh<

And I would not have been amused either.

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: General tips thread
« Reply #4 on: 12 Jan 2013 08:31AM »
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Create an instant dessert
Stick a cored  apple in a bowl with some sugar and cinnamon and heat in 30-second bursts until soft and fluffy. Serve with cream or yoghurt.

I can confirm that this works very well indeed. >thumbsup<