Are Mixing Bowls Safe in Ovens, Microwaves, and Dishwashers?


The material of a mixing bowl and other cooking utensils dictates whether it can be safely used in an oven, a microwave, or a dishwasher.

 

Admit it.  Sometimes you think that when it says microwave-safe, you assume you can also use it in the oven, right? Why not, because both kitchen appliances use the same high-heat system and technology for cooking and warming food. Or do they, really? That is where the confusion lies.

Are mixing bowls safe in ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers? There are mixing bowls that are safe to use for cooking in an oven and a microwave.  There are ones that can only be used in the microwave and those that can be used only in the oven. It depends mainly on the material of the bowl.  The microwave oven and conventional oven have different kinds of technology in terms of providing the heat to cook food.

Mixing bowls can be safe to clean in a dishwasher.  Usually, the instruction manual or product description will tell you if it is safe or not.  A sticker or label placed on the mixing bowl itself will tell you if it is safe to use in a dishwasher.

Photo by stux from Pixabay

Photo by stux from Pixabay

 

Your collection of mixing bowls, your trusty oven and microwave, and your reliable dishwasher have to be adequately taken care of and utilized only for what they each are intended for.  We have to take the time to read the manuals carefully before we even try to use for the first time a newly acquired appliance.  Not only to use it properly, and to know everything it is capable of doing, but also not damage it by knowing what exactly it can and cannot do, and how to set it up, use it, to clean and maintain it.

It’s All About the Material

Food preparation and cooking depend on a lot of things such as kitchen appliances, gadgets, utensils, bowls, ladles, and many others. They are important for food processing and preparation, for washing and cleaning, cooking, serving, and storage. One of the basic and essential one is the mixing bowl.

Besides a container to mix the various ingredients in your recipe, it is also convenient for mixing the batter, tossing salad, marinating chicken or beef, sifting ingredients, and also in baking.  They are available in different sizes, in sets, or individually.

The mixing bowl itself is used for other things like storage, serving, as well as a container for cooking. That said, we need to know what is safe to use in three of the more often used appliances in the kitchen: the oven, microwave oven, and the dishwasher.

To make both our appliances and gadgets, and other helpful kitchen stuff to stay around for long, we need to take care of them. And one important thing to do is to make absolutely sure that our mixing bowls are safe to use in the above-mentioned home kitchen appliances.

Plastic Material

Photo by MarkMartins from Pixabay

Generally, plastic bowls are inexpensive, and there are some that come in fancy shapes, plastic being molded in production. They can be in any color that may add brightness, color contrast, and accent in any kitchen décor. However, plastic bowls can sustain scratches and tend to absorb odors and get stained after considerable time of usage.

Glass Material

Photo by Ajale from Pixabay

Glass bowls can be quite durable and be used in the microwave and stored in the ref and freezer. However, it can break or shatter, especially if accidentally dropped.  Glass bowls look elegant, classy, and modern. Food can even be well presented and look more attractive in a glass bowl, such as fruit salad.

Stainless Steel Material

Public Domain photo from Pixabay

Stainless steel mixing bowls are durable and yet lightweight as compared to other metallic steel bowls, making it the container workhorse in most kitchens.  Stainless steel is not a reactive material which is ideal for cooking especially with high heat and prolonged cooking. So, the food cooked in it does not acquire a hint of metallic taste. The sheen and natural color of stainless steel bowls look just right when used in cooking because they impart a sense of cleanliness and durability. As  serving bowls, they look sleekly elegant, edgy, and very modern. The stainless steel material can come in different levels of sheen, such as the brushed finish all the way up to the super shiny, almost reflective one.  

Reactive Metal Like Aluminum, Copper, and Carbon Steel

In cooking, there is a scientific side to it, believe it or not. It is about choosing between using a reactive or a non-reactive metal bowl. The scientific angle to it is that metals are mostly reactive. That means the metal the bowl is made of reacts to certain ingredients cooked in it.  Not all foods and ingredients do that, only some of them.  Foods such as citrus, tomatoes, sauces made with tomatoes, and vinegar are a few of the acidic ingredients that can do that. Aluminum, cast iron, copper, and other steels are a few that fall under this class of reactive metallic materials.

What Bowl Materials Are Safe to Use for Each Kitchen Appliance

Photo by CANULLI from Pixabay

Modern residential kitchens are mostly well-equipped with modern-day conveniences. Among those most often used ones are the oven, whether gas or electric oven, the microwave oven, more conveniently referred to as a microwave, and the dishwasher. Their regular maintenance is also essential to prevent them from malfunctioning, breaking down, or looking crummy. They are utilized in the kitchen for processing and cooking food, as well as cleaning gadgets and utensils. They have to look their best, like spiffy clean and sanitary, and more importantly, in optimum working condition.

So, one has to be mindful and check whether a cooking utensil we bought is safe to use in a conventional oven, gas or electric, in a microwave, and to be washed and cleaned in a dishwasher.  For instance, metallic dishes, containers and cookware can be used in the oven safely, but these metallic objects should not be put inside the microwave oven because they reflect microwave rays, called the magnetron, inside the microwave. This situation can lead to uneven cooking of the food, or worse, to damaging the microwave. It just takes looking at the label somewhere on the gadget that says it is microwave safe, oven safe, or dishwasher safe. 

Now, here’s a brief rundown of bowl materials that can be used in each of them.

Gas and Electric Ovens

Bowls manufactured in these materials are used in conventional overs:

  • ‘Pyrex’ bowls
  • Ceramic bowls
  • Stoneware bowls
  • Stainless steel bowls
  • Cast Iron bowls
  • Silicone bowls

 Microwave Ovens

  • Utensils labeled for microwave use, such as ‘microwave-safe.’
  • Heat-proof glass container or bowls such as ‘Pyrex’ and ‘Anchor-Hocking’ brands
  • Glass Ceramic bowls such as ‘Corning Ware’
  • Stoneware bowls
  • Microwave-safe plastics
  • Paper
  • Basket containers made of wood or straw, ideally lined with napkins for moisture absorption from the food; use only for quick warm-ups
  • Paper plates, towels, napkins, and bags, preferably white with no prints on it.
  • Heavy plastic wrap, parchment paper, wax paper. For added safety, put vents or holes in the wrapper for steam to vent out.

For a container to be considered microwave-safe, here are four criteria to guide you:

  1. The material of the container, such as a bowl or plate, does not contain water or water molecules
  2. The container will not melt from the heat generated by the food it holds due to the cooking process
  3. The container will not give off chemicals into the food when heated
  4. The food container does not contain any sharp metallic part, even moderately sharp ones

Both Conventional Oven and Microwave Ovens

Bowls that are made of these materials can be used in both conventional ovens and microwave ovens:

  • ‘Pyrex’ bowls
  • Ceramic bowls
  • Stoneware bowls
  • Silicone bowls

 Dishwashers

  • Glass bowls
  • Plastic bowls
  • Steel bowls

 Things not to wash in the dishwasher

  • Wooden bowls
  • Cast-Iron bowls
  • Copper bowl
  • Aluminum bowls
  • Non-stick pans
  • China or milk glass

We have learned a little about what kitchen bowl materials are safe to use in the oven, the microwave, and the dishwasher.  But before we shift our attention to the ingredients, the food preparation, and the right kinds of bowl to put them in, let’s take a short breather with this next one.  It’s something great about the dishwasher. 

Enjoy Extra Time and Efficient Dishwashing with an Electric Dishwasher

When our thoughts dwell on the choice between washing the dishes by hand under running water from the kitchen faucet or letting the dishwasher do it all for us, the amount of water and electricity consumed with using the dishwater may seem higher than by manual washing.  Studies show a different number, though.

A few people took it upon themselves to do some testing to find out the real score.  They cleaned the dirty dishes by hand, took note of how much water was used. Then, performed the same testing using their automatic dishwasher.

The calculation revealed that handwashing used up 3.5 times more than it did with the dishwasher. The number became even higher when using a more powerful and efficient type of dishwasher.

Dishwashers do not fill up water to its maximum capacity or spray streams of water during the whole cleaning process. It is made up of carefully conceived, sophisticated, and complex setup of pumps, filters, spray jet nozzles, and re-use of water in the complete duration of the process. It is only at the start and at the final step of rinsing that it uses clean water. In between, the water is recycled, undergoes filtering and is heated to the appropriate temperature for thorough and effective cleaning.

By leaving all your dishwashing chores to the automatic dishwasher, you save time that you can devote to other important tasks. There is no reason not to have one.  If you have no space for a regular-sized automatic dishwasher, you can opt for a portable dishwasher model instead.  It only needs to be connected to a sink or laundry faucet,  and a power outlet, then you are all set.

A Few Food Preparations and the Ideal Bowl for Them

We have learned a little about what kitchen bowl materials are safe to use in the oven, the microwave, and the dishwasher.  Now, let’s turn our attention to the kinds of food or food preparation, vis-a-vis the right mixing bowls for each of them.

  • Acidic or Sour Foods: Tomatoes, citrus fruits such as lemons, vinegar, and vinegar-based sauces and other sour foods are not advised to be placed or processed in bowls made of reactive materials such as aluminum and copper.  Food can acquire a certain metallic taste, and the bowl itself can develop unsightly stains. Use ceramic, stainless steel, or glass bowls.
  • Dough and Batters: Flour can be mixed in any bowl regardless of material as long as it does not contain any acidic food or ingredients. What to be careful with when using flour as an ingredient in cooking is to use a deep bowl to prevent it from igniting and cause a fire.  Sounds incredible? More on that later. 
  • Fruits: Fruits are best prepared and processed in ceramic or glass containers. Fruits tend to take on the flavors of foods previously put in the same container. Ceramic and glass bowls are better alternatives for food recipes with fruits.
  • Marinades: Marinades may most likely contain an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon. Use stainless steel, glass, or ceramic bowl container instead.
  • Oils: For recipes or ingredients that include oil, place them in bowls that are non-reactive and stain-resistant such as stainless steel, glass, and ceramic containers.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid, which makes it sour-tasting and acidic. So, the ideal container for salad dressings made with vinegar must be a glass or ceramic container. If a bowl is used just to prepare or mix the vinegar and then stored in a separate container, the bowl can be a plastic one.
  • Whipped Egg Whites: Aside from glass, ceramic, and stainless steel bowls, a copper bowl can also be used for beating egg whites. The copper material’s reactive property is a good thing in this case because it results in the release of copper ions, which make the egg whites stiffen and form peaks.
  • Whipped Foods: A metallic bowl is not advisable for whipping foods because of the possibility of creating microscopic shreds or shavings, which could contaminate the food and produce a metallic taste. Use a glass container as an alternative.

For many people such as homemakers, moms, baking enthusiasts, gourmands, and gourmets, working in the kitchen can be enjoyable and exciting. It is a fulfilling outlet and expression for their creativity and love for good food and cooking. 

However, there are potential hazards that could happen and result in a full-blown catastrophe.  A number of them we are aware of, like accidentally cutting yourself with a sharp knife, to serious ones like electrical malfunctions that could set off fires in the kitchen.  And there is one food mentioned earlier that could potentially be the cause of an explosion and fire. And it is not only that ingredient which may pose a potential danger in the kitchen. 

Now here is that list of the foods that are totally harmless in their natural state, but given the “right” combination of circumstances can set off unexpected and unfortunate events in the kitchen. 

Enjoying a Flambé and Preventing a Fiery Disaster!

Flour is a staple ingredient that is important in many foods and recipes that we make.  But in certain situations, flour and other foods and ingredients we store in our kitchen can become highly flammable and could lead to a destructive fire at home.

A fire can happen in any setting at any time. And we must fully understand what possible triggers can set it off in our kitchen. Reading the following will enlighten us and forearm us with the knowledge to prevent it from happening to us and in our kitchen.

01 Alcohol-Based Foods and Sauces

The RiskMarsala and Sherry are liquors and are sometimes included as  ingredient to jazz up certain sauces. Flambé is when a food added with liquor or liqueur is ignited, not only for dramatic effect and to impress guests, but also to impart the rich flavor of the liquor or liqueur without the alcohol in it. In short, liquors and liqueurs contain alcohol, and alcohol is flammable. So, they are possible triggers for accidentally setting off fires.

Not only those mentioned above but any concoction or sauce that contains alcohol can make it flammable. If it does happen, the ensuing flames can be put under control quickly.  But when the bottle happens to be close enough to a source of heat or flame, it may escalate into a more dangerous situation. The worst scenario is when the sauce container is right beside the flame.  It could result in an explosion.

Safety Precaution:  Be always mindful to keep flammable concoctions away from the stove or any source of heat that can cause it to explode.

02 Bacon

The RiskThe high-fat content of protein-rich food such as bacon contains a large quantity of grease that is released when it is cooked. When the cooking is left unattended, the meat can burn, resulting in the oil splashing and sprinkling out of the cooking pan.

Safety PrecautionMake sure that the cooking pan to be used is deep enough to prevent the fats and  grease from spilling over and escaping from the pan. Be sure to throw away the previous grease used and pour in a new one for the next pieces if you are cooking several slices of bacon. Drain the used oil out of the pan, and keep it in a container bottle and away from the stove. A better alternative is to throw away the used grease as it is believed to be unhealthful to re-use grease and oils.

03 Deep-fried stuffed peppers

The Risk: When frying stuffed peppers, there is a tendency to put too much oil in the pan to completely immerse them. The airflow becomes obstructed making the peppers explode, resulting in droplets of oil flying in all directions. If there are stoves turned on nearby, oil droplets may land into the open flame and cause fire.

Safety Precaution: The pot or pan should only be filled with cooking oil halfway its depth. Never pour oil in a pan almost to its brim. Check that all burners nearby are turned off.

04 Flour

The Risk: Flour, non-dairy creamer, and powdered sugar are a few of the cooking ingredients that are in powdered form. When poured into a hot pan alone, without any other ingredients in the pan, flour and similar stuff can burn. Accidentally spilling them into a direct flame may ignite them and cause a fire.

Safety Precaution: Add any powdered ingredient in the pan last or when there is already another ingredient in it, like butter or cooking oil.  If a pan accidentally caught fire, pour baking soda to extinguish the flame. Do not ever put out the flame by pouring flour over the flame and pan.

05 Garlic

The Risk: The powerful flavor and odor of garlic make it a favorite and essential ingredient in a lot of recipes. Its variety of health benefits is another reason it is used as a garnish or ingredient in cooking. Garlic is loaded with so much natural oil that it can quickly burn and pop when cooking in a hot pan. This can result in the oil splattering into the burner, which can potentially lead to fire in the kitchen.

Safety Precaution: Cook garlic by sautéing it, which means cooking it with a moderate quantity of oil or fat in a shallow pan and rather high heat set on the cooker.  

06 Peanut brittle and other ultra-sugary foods

The Risk: Sugar can become extremely hot when cooked and can give out flames in seconds. So, be very careful when creating sweet dishes requiring lots of sugar such as the delicious peanut brittle, crème caramel, or flan de leche.

Safety Precaution: When cooking in the kitchen, make sure there are no interruptions and that your mind is concentrated on the cooking. You should not forget to monitor and control the level of the stove’s heat. Make an effort to concentrate and to stay with the cooking from the start until it is completely done. Before you leave the kitchen, check every appliance and  turn off every appliance that has been used or left open.

A Few Safety Measures to Do and Remember in Case a Fire Breaks Out in Your Kitchen

No, this is not a fire caused by an electrical malfunction in your refrigerator, conventional oven, or dishwasher, or any other appliance that runs on electricity. Nor is it caused by a faulty electrical wiring somewhere in your home’s electrical system.  It is fire from inflamed grease, oil, or any ingredients usually found in the kitchen that can be accidentally ignited and cause fire.

Here are some advice given by fire safety experts. They are tips on what to do when a cooking fire breaks out in the kitchen, specifically, fire caused by mishandling grease, oil, or other combustible ingredients or materials usually present in the kitchen.

 SAFETY PRECAUTION:

  • The causes of cooking fires that occur in the kitchen are mostly the result of inattentiveness. If you have to leave the kitchen in the middle of cooking, it is always safer to turn off the stove. You might think you will only be away from the kitchen a few moments, but you would never know. That few moments may be enough for a kitchen fire to happen. Err on the safe side and make it a habit to turn off all kitchen appliances when away from the kitchen.
  • When cooking, especially using fat and other ingredients that may easily catch fire, use a pan deep enough to prevent the oils and greases from spilling over that may catch or cause fire.
  • Maintain the cleanliness of your kitchen and your appliances. The oil from foods and from cooking may cake or harden on the surface, both inside and out, that may potentially ignite.

Now here are things you should do in case a fire breaks out in your kitchen:

  • If a fire caused by grease happens on the stove, put the lid of the pan over it to put out the flame. An added safety measure is to wear gloves to protect your hands from being burned.  And do not touch the lid or the pan, until they cool down.
  • Do not attempt or try to put out the grease fire by pouring water over it. This may cause the grease to splash and spread the fire around.
  • For the fire that occurs in the oven or microwave oven, pull out the plug from the electrical outlet and leave the oven or microwave oven door closed until the fire is out.
  • You can try to put out the fire if you are capable of doing so, and know precisely how to do it safely. You can use a fire extinguisher or a fire-proof material that you can use to put out the fire. Placing the cloth over the fire will prevent oxygen from sustaining the fire.
  • If you cannot handle the fire by yourself, call for help. Contact the local fire department or 911.

Concluding Words

Photo by onlynoodle from Pixabay
Photo by onlynoodle from Pixabay

Kitchen appliances do take a lot of workload off our hands and our minds. Thankfully for that,  we do not fritter away time to fret over a lot of issues we used to have when they were not around yet.  Those times when the idea of an oven, a refrigerator, or a washing machine was still unfathomable.

These home conveniences are, of course, essential and invaluable. Thanks to these conveniences, life has become much more comfortable and rewarding.  We have more time to spend in recreational pursuits, relaxation, physical exercise, meditation, time with family and friends, and of course, to work for a living.  Even that has changed. 

Let us not forget how laptops and personal computers have positively transformed our lives.  It has taken the rough edges out of every kind of work conceivable. We work much faster and much more efficiently, with information just a click away. We now have the option to work online at home. And our businesses do not necessarily have to take up much of our time.  Office-based and online businesses don’t have to be constantly monitored; our computer can do that for us.  Passive income, scalability of time spent for work and earnings, instant results, interconnectivity, and many more great things are now available to us.

In short, let us be thankful for technology and how they are used to improve the quality of life.

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