woman using a microwavewoman using a microwaveWe need to talk about all the things your microwave can do. (Photo: GOLFX/Shutterstock)

5 things you didn't know your microwave can do

This handy appliance goes way beyond nuking leftovers.

Your microwave is so much more than That Thing You Use When You Forgot To Make Real Dinner. It's handy and useful in its own right – you just have to know how. It even goes beyond cooking and can bail you out of a few precarious situations. (Middle-school science experiments notwithstanding.)

So what can your microwave do for you?

1. It can help you shuck fresh corn with ease.

Next time you're picking out corn at the grocery store, go for the husks. Trust us; it's very easy to shuck, and you're assured of an untouched, fresh product that's been cloaked in its natural state just for you. Our Israeli Kitchen contributor and vegetarian chef Jerry James Stone has an easy, fuss-free trick for removing all those unwieldy silky strings and husk pieces from your corn that'll help you make delicious recipes like this one, also from Jerry. All you need is a microwave and about a minute. You'll never buy canned again!


2. It can make spaghetti squash in under 10 minutes.

spaghetti squashLighten up your spaghetti dinners with this veggie alternative. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Since everyone seems to want to pretend spaghetti squash actually tastes like spaghetti, we thought we'd share a super-easy way to turn a rock-hard squash into a healthy, spaghetti-like dinner. It's just 15 minutes in the microwave. The Kitchn website has a great how-to guide.


3. It can zap bacteria out of a sponge.

Ain't it just a shame that the one thing you use to clean your surfaces is probably dirtier than the surfaces themselves? That's the paradox of a sponge – despite your most earnest squeezing and soaping, those sponges soak up germs like, well, a sponge. Kyla Herbes with Home Hipsters shared her hack for disinfecting your sponge in a video that everyone even the slightest bit skeaved out by germs would be wise to watch.


4. It can bake a cake.

Chocolate mug cakes with teapot in background.Make single-serve cakes in a microwave. (Photo: SHUSTIKOVA INESSA/Shutterstock)

Does it ever feel like you need a whole separate kitchen just for baking cakes? It seems like such a daunting task, what with all the dirty dishes, the mixer attachments, the decorating, the mess ... and then the hour or so you have to wait till it's done. Forget it! Or ... microwave it? It's easy enough for a kid to make, but it doesn't have to taste as such, with this rich and tantalizing recipe from Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman.


5. It lets you peel garlic and potatoes with almost no effort.

This one's for the garlic lovers in the house. Wait, that's all of you, right? I mean who doesn't like garlic? A heathen, clearly. But on the flip side, who likes peeling garlic? It's tedious and time-consuming, and leaves your countertops full of flaky peely mess. You just want to get into that garlic and use it already! Jenny Stewart of CHOW Tip feels your pain, and is graciously sharing her hack.

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