Saran wrap, also known as plastic wrap, is not always the best choice for use in the microwave if you have other options available, as it can potentially release harmful chemicals into the food. However, the USDA states that it is safe if the brand is labeled microwave-safe and you do not let it directly touch your food. Read on to find out some steps you can take to use saran wrap in the microwave safely:
Check Whether Your Brand of Plastic Wrap Is Microwave Safe
To ensure that your plastic wrap is safe to use in the microwave, there are a few things you can do:
- Check for a microwave-safe label: Look for a microwave-safe label on the package or consult the manufacturer’s website to confirm that the plastic wrap is safe to use in the microwave.
- Check the packaging for any warning signs or instructions: Many brands of plastic wrap will have warning signs or instructions on the packaging that indicate whether or not the product is safe for use in the microwave.
- Check the ingredients list: Plastic wraps made of polyethylene are considered safe for microwave use.
- Consult the user manual of your microwave oven: The user manual of your microwave oven may have a list of recommended plastic wraps or materials that are safe to use in the microwave.
- Experiment with a small piece: If you’re still unsure, try heating a small piece of plastic wrap in the microwave for a short time. It should be safe to use if it doesn’t warp or melt.
Make Sure the Saran Wrap Is Not Touching Your Food
When using saran wrap in the microwave, it is important that it doesn’t touch the food because the heat from the microwave can cause the plastic to soften and melt. In addition, if the plastic wrap comes into contact with the food, it can stick to the food and become difficult to remove. Plastic wrap can also release chemicals into the food, which can be harmful to ingest.
Leave a Gap for Steam
It is important to poke holes in the saran wrap when using it in the microwave to allow steam to escape. This needs to be done for several reasons:
- Pressure build-up: As the food heats up, steam is produced. If the steam cannot escape, it can build up pressure inside the container and cause the plastic wrap to balloon or even rupture, potentially causing injury or making a mess.
- Avoiding overcooking: Allowing the steam to escape can help prevent the food from becoming overcooked. The steam trapped inside the container can increase the temperature and cook the food faster.
- Preventing condensation: When food is cooled down, condensation can form on the inside of the plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap is not vented, the condensation can cause the food to become soggy and spoiled.
- Preventing melting: It can also help to prevent the plastic from melting, as the holes allow the heat to escape and prevent the plastic from getting too hot.
Make Sure the Saran Wrap Is Not Torn or Crumpled
It is essential to make sure that saran wrap is not torn or crumpled when used in the microwave because it can cause the wrap to melt unevenly. If the plastic wrap is torn or crumpled, some areas of the wrap may melt while others remain intact, which can cause the plastic to release harmful chemicals into the food and create a fire hazard in the microwave.
Additionally, if the plastic wrap is torn or crumpled, it may not be able to properly cover the food and vent steam, which can cause the food to overcook or become soggy.
Another reason why it is important to make sure the saran wrap is not torn or crumpled when used in the microwave is because it can cause the plastic wrap to stick to the food, making it difficult to remove and potentially ruining the food.
Watch Your Food Closely
It is important to watch your food closely when using saran wrap in the microwave because plastic wrap can melt quickly and cause a fire hazard. Keep a close eye on it, and if the plastic starts to warp or melt, stop the microwave immediately.
Avoid High Heat
You should avoid high heat settings when using saran wrap in the microwave because the high heat can cause the plastic wrap to melt. Additionally, the high heat can cause the plastic wrap to stick to the food, making it difficult to remove and potentially ruining the food.
High heat can also create a fire hazard as the plastic wrap can ignite, melt, and release harmful fumes.
It is also important to note that plastic wrap can melt at different temperatures, and some plastic wraps may not withstand high heat settings. Therefore, if you use plastic wrap in your microwave, it is best to use low or medium-heat settings and keep a close eye on the food as it cooks.
While we have laid out the precautions you need to take when using saran wrap in the microwave, it is essential to use it with caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re unsure about using plastic wrap in the microwave, using microwave-safe containers with lids or paper towels, wax paper, or parchment paper is best.