Unexpected uses for your microwave

1) Dry herbs
If you've got some herbs left over that you won't be able to use before they go off, you can dry them in the microwave. Place a few branches of the herb between two paper towel sheets and microwave for two to three minutes.

2) Sanitize sponges
If you're kitchen sponge is starting to get a little funky, put it in the microwave for two minutes to sanitize it. Make sure it's wet before you put it in and that it doesn't have any metal or plastic parts.

3) Peel garlic
Instead of trying to peel the skin off with your fingers and knife, pop the whole head in for 20 seconds and the cloves will separate and easily slide out of their skins.

4) Peel tomatoes
The most common way to peel a tomato is to drop it in boiling water, but you can also get it done in the microwave. Score the bottom of the fruit with an X and pop it in for 30 seconds. Depending on the size, it might need another 30 seconds. The skin will slide right off without ever messing up a pot!

5) Soften sugar
If you're a baker, you know how quickly brown sugar can turn into hard lumps that are impossible to break apart. Simply place a damp paper towel over it, microwave for 20 seconds, and the sugar will loosen.

6) Steam vegetables
Since boiling can suck out many of the vitamins and nutrients in your veg, steaming is a great option. Add a few tablespoons of water to your bowl of veg, cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Use caution when opening as the steam can burn you.

7) Make fruit juicier
If you've got some lemons or limes lying around that have gone hard, pop them in for 10-20 seconds and they will yield much more juice when squeezed.

8) Toast nuts
Spread out nuts evenly in a microwave safe container and microwave for two minutes. The nuts will be fragrant and should have a light brown colour. No more overcooking in the pan!



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