As more of us become aware of the importance of what goes into our mouths, we are trying to retain as much of the nutritional value of our food as possible and reduce the amount of toxicity we expose ourselves to. But, if you were a child or teenager of the ’90s you probably grew up reheating things in a microwave and find it a little hard to imagine a microwave-free kitchen.
Well, human beings were reheating food before the microwave, and we’ll be heating up food long after these things are no longer used (like polaroid cameras, charcoal clothes irons and rotary dial phones). So, in case, you’re at a loss for microwave alternatives, I have a few to recommend.
The first place most of our food gets prepared is on the stovetop, and this might be the best place to reheat some of it. For almost all dishes, I will start by adding a few tablespoons of water to the skillet or pot. This creates a layer of moisture between the food and the pan which prevents the food from sticking or burning while it reheats. Since many foods loose moisture while in the fridge, we need to add a bit of water to it anyway. So, don’t be afraid to water sauté your refridgerated dishes.
Double Boiler / Bain-Marie
If you don’t have a commercially-produced doubleboiler (2 pots designed to fit one inside the other), you can place your food into a heat-resistant glass bowl or metal bowl that fits snugly onto a sauce pan or pot. The lower saucepan or pot is set to boil (water inside it) and the heat from the boiling water provides a moist but effective temperature that reheats without burning.
My 2nd favourite way to reheat food is in the toaster oven. For baked goods, the oven ensures that you don’t get soggy food. But for other types of food, even dishes with sauces, I just wrap them in foil paper or place them in an oven-safe container (sealed with foil paper) and they’re ready to eat in 15 minutes, usually.
Whether you’re using a bamboo steamer or the metal steamers (that look similar to double boilers), it is a great way to gently heat food without bruising and drying them out. I have actually placed an entire plate of food inside a steamer to reheat the meal, but if you try this, please be careful to use a plate charger or another plate to rest it on while you eat as the one you place in the steamer will be VERY hot.
Of course, another really efficient bonus method is the portable personal warming oven that I use for reheating my lunch while on the job: The Hot Logic Mini. It gets everything really hot while retaining flavours in 60-90 minutes and still uses up less energy than a microwave does in a couple minutes. I love my Hot Logic Mini and wrote about it here and here.
What methods are you planning to use instead of a microwave from now on? Please tell me in the comments below.