Monday Mission: Mind the Microwave

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to cut down on your microwave use.Our family took on this mission about two years ago, and I’m nearly ready to relegate the microwave to the basement to make room for a big old Berkey water filter system. My husband is not quite ready to get rid of the microwave completely, but I think he can handle reheating his oatmeal in the laundry room once a week.I never used to be wary of the microwave at all. In fact, when I was expecting my first child and still teaching full time, I remember my principal tsk-tsking me because I was squatting down and watching my leftovers get nuked. He didn’t think my pregnant belly should be hanging out by the microwave. I brushed it off completely. With my second, I think I would back away a bit when I turned the microwave on, but I certainly gave it hardly a second thought, and definitely not a third one. (How different life with my third will be!) When I started getting into the traditional foods movement and writing this blog about two years ago, I discovered all sorts of reasons not to use my microwave. I got a bit testy at one author who thought the microwave should be nothing more than “a plant stand” and, I thought, made anyone who dared to turn one on in their home feel like they were going to kill their families. That made me mad. It’s the opposite of the balanced approach so important to me and which is the cornerstone of Kitchen Stewardship®. I’m not into scare tactics, but I am into baby steps. I felt at the time that ceasing to use the microwave would be next to impossible, but I decided I could take a baby step and simply become more aware of how I used it. Whenever I was about to turn the microwave on, I asked myself, “Do I know of another way I could accomplish this task?” If it was convenient enough, I’d do it. Thus began the nugget of thought that became “Mind the Microwave,” my first big challenge here at Kitchen Stewardship®.Mind The Microwave - Small Steps to avoid using the microwave

Why Avoid The Microwave?

A few years ago I did some research on the effects of microwaves on our food and in our bodies. I read some research that claimed broccoli (our house’s first place prize for “most appearances as a side vegetable”) lost something like 85% of its nutrients when cooked in the microwave vs. steaming. What?!? You mean I’ve been eating 15% healthy broccoli, boringly cooked and eaten out of nutritive obligation, for years???? No way dude. I was not a happy camper. Even if the research is flawed or has other sources that totally discredit it…or just disagree with it…I know that steaming broccoli is the healthiest way to eat it. Almost every source I can find agrees on that. So if there’s a chance the microwave oven is destroying even 25% of the healthy vitamins in there, I’m going to go with the stovetop. Why risk it? That’s what I’m inviting you to do. Learn to cook veggies properly, especially broccoli and our other cruciferous friends.How to Cook Veggies WITHOUT a Microwave - Baby Steps to avoid microwave usage

How to Cook Vegetables WITHOUT a Microwave

I cooked my veggies, like my mother before, in the microwave for my entire adult life until I realized it wasn’t the most healthy way to do so. Here’s how to get the most nutrition out of your veggies and avoid the microwave for preparing them

Buy good vegetables

Frozen are fine, although I can’t stand the taste of frozen broccoli anymore. Frozen peas are a staple in our house, especially with little ones – finger foods! Fresh is good. Canned are no-nos!

To steam or to boil?

Boiling vegetables results in water full of nutrients and veggies limp and less healthy. Unless you’re going to drink the cooking water – gross – don’t boil your vegetables, please.Steaming retains almost all nutrients for almost all vegetables, AND it’s quicker than boiling because you don’t have to wait for so much water to heat.

Get a steamer basket

I’ve seen them at dollar stores and there are many styles on Amazon. They kind of look like something from a spaceship, but are made to fit most pots. If you don’t have one yet, don’t despair. I’m thinking that you can just put a cm. of water in the bottom of your narrowest pot and still end up steaming most of your vegetables since they’ll be stacked on top of the few that are sitting in the water. (Don’t tell, but that’s what I always do with frozen peas because I’m too lazy to get out my steamer basket and big pot.)  Worth a shot!

You don’t need a lot of water

Tonight I put an inch or less in my pot, and before I could get my already-cut broccoli out of the bag in the fridge and into the steamer basket, the water was ready. See? No more time than the microwave, I promise.

Add the veggies after the water is boiling

You can turn your heat down to medium or less, just enough to keep the water steaming but not wasting energy.

Set the timer for 5 minutes.

Or less. Check them — they should be “crisp-tender“, which means their color is enhanced (green veggies get gorgeous when steamed!), they are slightly tender when you stick a fork in them, but not limp. Green veggies will tell you when they’re overcooked – they start to look more like fall colors than vibrant springtime.

Either serve immediately or use one of the following methods to stop the steaming process:

  1. Run cold water over the steamer basket (or in a colander) quickly and keep vegetables warm in a separate dish.
  2. Plunge veggies quickly into a bowl of cold water and return to hot pot to keep warm.This is important because even after you turn off the stove, the vegetables will continue to cook in the pot of hot water. If you’re like me and can’t perfectly time all the parts of dinner and the diners themselves to be ready at exactly the same time, your green beans will be limp before you know it if you just leave them in the pot. This happens with microwave steamed vegetables, too, so no complaining about extra steps!
You can season the vegetables before or after cooking, in the steamer basket or in a bowl. I find drizzling olive oil or melting butter, then adding salt and pepper is super easy right in the steamer basket. You can also throw on some crushed red pepper, cumin, or even chili powder for a little zing!
Timesaver:  Just toss the water out of the pot you steam your veggies in and rinse it, then turn it upside down on your stove to dry. Done.  Don’t waste your time putting it in your dish water! It’s not a “real” pot because it’s not “really” dirty, right?
For me, baby steps without any pressure on myself was all it took to gently slide from a standard, microwave-reliant household to one in which my 2-year-old daughter has no idea what the thing does. It’s become a large and expensive kitchen timer, for all intents and purposes (if you don’t ask my husband). If you buy into the fact that the microwave is no good for you, or if you figure that IF something MIGHT cause harm is enough reason to at least cut down on using it, then take it from me: it’s a lot easier than you think to mind the microwave.
Do you have a microwave in your house? How often do you rely on it?
More on Microwave Usage:Related Recipes:

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That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

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66 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Mind the Microwave”

  1. We got rid of our a couple of years ago. I actually recently wrote a post about this mid-January titled “Life Without a Microwave”, I also cite some research on why it isn’t healthy or actually harmful. We’re doing just fine without it, I love our toaster oven!

  2. I went a year without a microwave on accident once (new apartment didn’t have one and I just never got around to buying one!) and a year later realized that it really wasn’t that hard.

    Since then I’ve moved and gotten married and the microwave is used quite a bit in our home. One question I have is about Office Lunches. I can see how we would avoid it at home, but how can my husband eat a healthy nutrient dense lunch at work without using the microwave? I struggle with this, because having him take his lunch to work really saves us a lot of money and is extremely helpful for managing his dietary restrictions. Honestly, I thought that I was doing the right thing by sending him to work with a warm homecooked meal free of any preservatives, MSG, processed/packaged junk made with homemade bone broths, meats and veggies bought from local farms, etc. But are we ruining it all by warming it up in the microwave? I’m trying to figure out the balance here….is it better to have the nutrient dense wholesome real food lunch reheated in the microwave or a lunch from his work cafeteria that is from who knows where made of who knows what? I guess I’ll have to start brainstorming cold lunch options….

    1. I pack lunch for my husband every day and he doesn’t use the microwave at work. I put hot soup for him in a thermos sometimes, I make lots of healthy sandwiches that don’t need any heating, green salads with chicken that don’t need to be heated. As for things that are not so great eaten cold (like leftover pasta with drumsticks), I guess I’m just lucky my husband would rather eat it cold than nuke it! 😉 Hope that sort of helps.

    2. Suzanne,
      I love Anastasia’s advice – I would add that soups stay warm in a thermos style container, but casseroles and non-liquid based things don’t really. I’d still rather send my own food and have it nuked than caf food (which is probably nuked at some point anyway!). Great goals! 🙂 Katie

      1. Leah, I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me the issue is not how to carry my lunch–I have containers and a bag that I really like–but that I want to eat a hot lunch most days. My office is absurdly air-conditioned in the summer, so I am cold year-round. I don’t want to eat a bento lunch, salad, or cold sandwich.

        Luckily, I’m not that concerned about microwaves. I haven’t seen good evidence that they do significant nutritional damage to anything except breast milk. (When I was pumping milk for my baby, the bottles were reheated by placing them in a bowl of warm water.)

  3. I’m happy to say we got rid of our microwave last year! Sometime after your mind the microwave in may series, and we haven’t missed it since! 🙂

  4. We have not had a microwave in our house for nearly 4 years. My husband and I (before kids) lived in the middle east with no microwave and I found that I didn’t even miss it. There is nothing I can’t accomplish with a stove, oven, steamer, hot water or patience. Plus, cooking something from the inside out using radiation creeps me out. The data on the dangers of microwave use is getting more substantial, too.

  5. So many people have already given up their nukers!

    Well, we use it about once a day. The boy just can’t cook! He actually only knows how to press the reheat button on the microwave to reheat his frozen leftovers. If it’s going to be more complex than that one button I have to walk him through it or do it myself! LOL

    I would like to switch to a convection toaster oven at some point, but I’d also like one that can act as a dehydrator and those are out of my price range at the moment. I also don’t know if he could cope with it.

    I’d like to say that since I am home to heat up lunch I could just do it on the stovetop, but honestly I am an university student buried under texts, so I get lazy and nuke my lunch too.

    I am just glad that what we put in the microwave is all homemade, from scratch healthful foods!

    1. Amanda,
      You’re doing great! When you get that toaster oven, just package single serving leftovers in glass and tell the boy how long to set it for…although that’s more steps than the reheat button, so it might take some time. 😉 Katie

  6. My micro time got radically cut when it broke! Unfortunately, it is a unit built in with the oven, so it will cost a few thou to replace and can’t be fixed. Soooo, we have rediscovered life without a microwave for about a month now, and I’m loving it. This afternoon, younger son made popcorn on the stovetop and after pouring the popcorn in the bowl, melted the butter in the pot. It got a little browned before it was all melted, and that made the BEST butter for popcorn. We were all marvelling about how much BETTER our food is now that we don’t have a microwave. BTW, I have a toaster oven on order to help out a little in the leftovers department. But that clocked in at $200, well short of the 2000 needed for a new microwave. Not really missing it, except when I forget to thaw out hamburger buns. 🙁

  7. We became microwave free when I got pregnant with our 1st. Then I had a terrible sick pregnancy, and people had to come help, and they didn’t know how to cope without a microwave. It was frustrating for them. When we found out I was pregnant with our 2nd, and the sickness started again, and we knew we would need help again…. well, we bought a microwave, but put it out on the enclosed back porch. 🙂 Our helper-people were happy and I was happy.

    Then we moved after baby came, and the microwave somehow ended up in our kitchen and I’ve been using it. A LOT. Think I need to look into the convection toaster oven. Anyone want to suggest a good brand that won’t completely break the bank? I figure I can get something for my microwave to start the saving process. 🙂

    1. Dawn,
      Ours is an Oster from Bed Bath & Beyond for about $60 maybe? I liked our first better though, which was $100 (Cuisinart) at BBB, so only $80 with the 20% off coupon. They can be affordable! Good luck! 🙂 Katie
      PS – there’s more brand discussion up above for “Lea” – worth a look.

  8. I moved ours out to the top shelf of the garage pantry. Hubby sometimes grouses because it is difficult to reach, but that’s the point. Ironically, I was the one who got him into the habit of using the microwave to nuke his chili instead of a pan because I didn’t want to deal with extra dishes. I regret it now. Most of the time I find that I tend to use the nuke box only when I’m being lazy. I try to steam leftovers on the stovetop, which works fine, but would like to eventually get a convection toaster oven. (Just have a regular now.)

  9. Good topic once again.

    I 32nd the toaster oven. We use it for everything.

    But our microwave is a built in so we use it for storage! =) Less likely for the hubs to “reheat cheat” that way…

  10. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    Great post! I love that this topic is getting more attention lately! We’ve been microwave free since we got married (5 years ago) and I haven’t missed it at all. Sure, it is a little bit more work, but even with 3 kids in three years, I don’t miss it.
    We remodeled a house last year and didn’t even put one in.
    Thanks for a good post!

  11. I love this topic, Katie!
    We ditched ours this year. It is now yes, like yours, an expensive kitchen timer, but it also has a nice fan, night light, and I store some stoneware baking dishes in it! I met someone who removed hers and put in a cookbook rack. I’m not ready to do that yet, but since we think we may be permanent residents in Grand Rapids, maybe we’ll just do that one of these days!

  12. We replaced ours with a toaster/convection oven about a year ago and I have never regretted it. The fact that we dirty more dishes is annoying but worth it. I use the toaster oven more than I ever did the microwave as I never used it for cooking, just reheating and defrosting. We tried to move the microwave downstairs for hubby, but he dropped it. It has taken him longer to be content with out it, but that was mainly because of the learning curve in how to heat things, etc.

    1. Could you tell me, Martha, what model you bought? I have a convection oven that I use ALL the time but it is on my counter. It has 2 shelves so I would be MORE than happy to put in a convection instead of the microwave. Thanks!

      1. I bought an Oster. I think we only spent about $100. It takes up less space than our microwave did and I was able to get rid of our toaster. I love being able to toast 6 slices at once. It is a counter top model.

  13. We got rid of our microwave when we moved to our duplex about 2 1/2 years ago. I just didn’t think it was worth it to use the counter space for it, and I never thought it was that healthy. My husband misses it occasionally, and my friends are often surprised (especially if they come over for lunch and bring their own food that needs to be heated up), but I am very glad that we don’t have it. We melt butter in stainless steel children’s pots and pans from Ikea. And we make popcorn on the stove when we make it (so much better!)

    1. Jenni,
      It was barely 3 years ago that I was that surprised friend at a new acquaintance’s house. I thought she. was. nuts. No microwave?? How did they cope? Why in the world? More dishes??? I laugh at that scene in my head now… 🙂 Katie

  14. We opted to not replace our microwave when it quit working about 1 1/2 yrs. ago. Took some adjusting (esp. defrosting issues), but now we don’t even think about it. Well, except for my daughter, who thinks I’m nuts. 🙂 We put a convection/toaster oven in it’s place.

  15. Mind if I be different? My guess is most people who use the microwave on a regular basis won’t be posting. We use ours daily. Have I read your posts on it yet? No. Will I? Yes- as soon as I’m done commenting. 🙂 And hopefully I’ll be convinced. 🙂 I’ll also be looking into the convection toaster ovens. My old one is 10 yrs. old, and I have to set it about 100 degrees higher than it says… don’t think it’s very efficient… and things take forever. I’ll read… yes I will. 🙂

    1. wow. You have a great teachable spirit Sarah. Good for you. i also got rid of mine and took it to the shed for now. My husband was reluctant so I just proposed that we try it for a week then if we don’t like we could bring it back. My plan worked and it remains there.:)

  16. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    It was maybe a year and half or two years ago that I realized I shouldn’t use it. So I tried not to, but as long as it was in my kitchen, I’d use it. I’d be hungry and want my food hot NOW and not want to dirty another dish (which usually meant plastic went in the microwave, ahem). Or I’d forget to defrost dinner, so I’d throw it in the microwave. I realized, for me, I’d just keep doing this until it was no longer an option….

    So about a year ago we just tossed it in the basement. I put my dehydrator in its place. 🙂 I don’t miss it!! I really don’t. I do have to plan ahead more, but since I meal plan anyway, it’s not that hard. And a sink full of hot water works just fine to defrost meat. We also now use glass dishes for our food and they go in the oven just fine to reheat! No big deal at all.

  17. Just last night I was thinking about how it would be to not have a microwave. I don’t feel like I use it all that often but if I paid more attention I’d probably realize how much I do use it. My big question is how do I reheat my coffee that inevitably gets cold before I finish it. Hum, I guess I could just use a insulated mug.

    1. Sara,
      Coffee is a hold up for a lot of people! It seems like a lot of work to put it in a clean pot on the stove. My solution is that I just don’t drink coffee, but I never have (no hoity toityness there, just don’t like it), so I get off easy. 🙂 Katie

  18. Happy to say that we tossed our working microwave about 4 years ago. No regrets! And more countertop space 🙂

  19. I have been working on using my microwave less often for about 2 years and am trying to use my stove and toaster oven more often. As others have said it really doesn’t take much longer to heat things conventionally. What it does seem to get use for most often is reheating coffee. When our younger son was about 3 (he is now 24) he even referred to the microwave as the coffee heater. I don’t really use it for cooking, and rarely even use it to defrosting items. I will keep the microwave because it is also a convection oven. I am so glad I chose to get the dual oven now.

  20. We’ve been microwave-free for a couple of years now, and don’t miss it at all! We have an electric kettle for hot water, and I use the stovetop and oven for everything else. We are planning to get a stainless steel convection/toaster oven (saving my rewards points!) eventually, and this should save energy over heating up the regular oven when we want to reheat leftovers or baking in smaller quantities.

    Anyway, I feel the health risks involved in using a microwave are not worth it, and I have heard that the molecular structure of food heated/cooked in it is altered. I’d rather do things the old-fashioned way (well, sort of, lol).

  21. When our microwave died nearly 2 years ago, we didn’t replace it. My husband still misses it a little, but I very rarely do. I have found that leftovers taste so much better heated in the toaster oven, steamer basket or stove top. I can’t even heat water for tea in the microwave when I’m at someone elses home…everything tastes gross coming out of that box now! I never knew it made a difference in the taste of food(and water) until I gave it up.

  22. When I met my husband nearly 11 years ago, if it didnt go in the microwave to be cooked, I didnt eat it. I had even taught my then 5 year old son how to cook in the microwave.
    Fast forward 10 years, our heavily used microwave got struck by lightning and after much discussion and reluctance on the part of my husband we replaced it about 4 months later. (I HAD to have a microwave!) Well, about 3 months later, that one started smoking and sparking (nothing metal was in it), so we unplugged it, tossed it to the curb and have not replaced it. That was about 6 months ago.
    I admit, there are times when not having a microwave is a pain, especially if I am running late and have not prepared well in advance, but for the most part, we don’t miss it at all. After it died, I read up on all the negative effects microwave cooking has on your food and on your body. Am I glad we haven’t replaced it. We are eating much healthier as a result!

  23. We (my husband and I) have gone back and forth on the subject…many times. I feel in microwaving food I’m zapping the nutrients and that it, like so many other appliances, is just a waste of energy and space. So over the years (we didn’t get our first one unti about 7 yrs after we married), when our microwave has died, we’ve managed to live without one. Then my husband will get grand ideas that he NEEDS to have one just to warm up his coffee and that’s really all we have ever used it for, thankfully we own a wood cookstove, which is just as easy to use for those small jobs. Our 4th microwave (in 25 yrs together) just died about a month ago….once again we will live without one, for how long…….I guess only my husband knows. LOL!

  24. Oh man, people do not believe me when I say we don’t have a microwave and don’t miss it! My husband and I moved in together in summer of 2007 and did not get a microwave then because we didn’t have a place to put it and didn’t have the money for a microwave AND a new piece of kitchen furniture AND to stock a brand-new kitchen with tools. Now, 3 and a half years later, we still don’t miss it.

    I will occasionally bring something for lunch at work that I just want to be warm, so I stick it in the microwave, but mostly, I bring cold lunches or else soup in a thermos. It cuts down on the line in the office kitchen anyway, right?

    The only things I did in the microwave before we moved were heating water and steaming veggies. So instead of a $50 microwave, we got a steamer basket and an electric kettle. And we use both of them almost every day.

  25. I’ve never been a microwave fan. We have one however, because it came with my husband. He doesn’t use it much either since we’ve married. This past week though, our kitchen was demolished and we’re looking at 10 weeks without a kitchen. I suspect we’ll be using the microwave a bit more. I’m trying to work around it, but it’s hard without a stove!

  26. I love your idea of being mindful about it as a path toward realizing how little you need it! I do pretty well with that at home.

    But I have a full-time job, and 3 or 4 days a week I bring leftovers to reheat for my lunch. There is no stove here. I have an electric kettle and coffee percolator for making hot drinks and instant oatmeal, but for heating up leftovers the microwave seems to be the only option. Do you have any other ideas?

    1. Becca,
      Did you see the discussion in a couple other places in the comments? Good ideas and encouragement there! 🙂 Katie

  27. We recently switched out our old appliances for stainless steel, which included a new microwave (at the time, I did still use it, but regardless, it’s one of those that sits above the stove, so you have to put something there, and if we sell the house, most buyers would want a microwave there as well). Anyway, we ended up getting a convection microwave (which I hadn’t even know about until we went microwave shopping), and I’m so so so glad we did. Even though I almost never use the actual microwave part any more (only my husband uses it on rare occasions to heat something up), I really love having essentially a small convection oven which now sits above my stove and has pretty much replaced my toaster oven (which was huge and took up LOTS of counter space). It actually works so much better than the toaster oven (heats much more evenly, and pizza especially seems to heat up much better).

    Since essentially giving up using my microwave, I have found that initially, it can seem daunting, but after a while, I truly don’t miss it. You really do find your own tricks to make it easier, and truly, food just tastes so much better when I use my stovetop or convection to reheat food. One thing that really helped me also was getting a mini-saucepan (holds about 1-2 cups) for melting butter, small amounts of milk, etc. (as those were things I had previously used my microwave for). Also, making creative use of leftovers helps. Like if I have roast beef/gravy and mashed potatoes, I have layered them in a glass pie plate (mashed potatoes on bottom, topped with the roast and gravy), cooked in the convection until hot, the potatoes get kind of toasty on top, and WOW, so much better than just nuking everything in the microwave, and the pie plate doubles as my actual plate, so no extra dishes. I have also found that lots of things heat up well in a small saucepan on the stove with the lid ON to kind of steam it (like roast potatoes, taco meat, etc.), and if I have pasta and sauce, I usually put the sauce in a saucepan and heat until warm/bubbly, then put the noodles right on top for a few minutes to steam (lid on), then you can either stir together or not, depending on preference. And, having a kettle on the stove means that you always have easy access to quickly heat up water for tea, etc. As for veggies, I’m not a huge fan of steamed veggies (I think there are so many tastier ways to cook them!), so that’s never been an issue for me :-).

  28. I actually use my microwave mainly for extra space, like when I need to have something rise, but there is no more room on the counter… it gets to sit in the microwave!

    The husband uses it mostly for melting butter. Even though it’s not used much, I think he would still protest if we got rid of it… maybe I can just move it…


  29. I’ve been watching my microwave use for a while now. Need to read up on your research but I’m not really finding it more work to heat things on the stove than in the microwave.

  30. Beth @ Living Simply

    We got rid of our microwave last September. Haven’t really missed it! Got a big toaster oven to replace it — it works great and reheats leftovers faster than I thought it would! The only things we really used the microwave for anyway were heating water and melting butter/coconut oil. And the stove works just as well for those!

  31. We moved to Germany in July. Haven’t used one since. We would have had to buy a 220v one and didn’t want to spend the money. I haven’t missed it – nor has my husband. We’ll never have one again.

  32. About 6 months ago I found a convection toaster oven on a great clearance price, so I bought it and brought it home. I moved the microwave out. My husband was less than thrilled. He moaned about making his cup of tea (he heated water in the microwave). We put it in the garage. Our kids got microwave popcorn for christmas and really wanted to make it… so we plugged it in in the garage. A few days later my dh wanted left overs, he put it in the microwave. then the next day he asked me to make him more of the left overs. I used the stove. He was now sold on the benefit of the stove top. He said the left overs were as good as the first day he ate it. But the microwave left overs were not good at all. He’s now convinced that though it’s a bit more effort, it’s totally worth it taste wise!

    1. Tracy,
      Awesome comparison! I really think a teapot is about as fast as a microwave for water, anyway, and it doesn’t need to be reheated as often b/c it holds the heat better. 🙂 Katie

  33. we have been microwave free for 6 months now! I have friends that ditched it and always thought it was way too hard to do. Then i did a little research, not about the ‘waves’ but what it actually does to our food. when we bought a house i asked hubby if we could just put it in the garage (since we lack counter space) and see if we can go without one. a week later he gave it away! never once did i think he’d ditch the microwave, he needed convincing since his main meal was chicken nuggets (which i stopped buying him). but we haven’t looked back!

    the hardest part (at first) was reheating leftovers.. i was heating everything on the stove with a little water in it. it turned out great and all, but it was a pain. Then i picked up a convention toaster oven (vs a regular toaster oven) and now reheating is easy.. and tastes soo much better than from a microwave

  34. Years ago, I went to my husbands co-workers house one day for a visit and when I went to warm up my daughters bottle I found no microwave. They said that they’ve never had one, that they re-heat on the stove. I thought that was the strangest thing! Growing up almost all of the food I ate came out of the microwave and the thought of living a life without one boggled my mind. When we bought our house 6 years ago there were no appliances in the house when we moved in, and with little counter space we decided to get a microwave that goes above the stove that also serves as an exhaust fan. We gave our counter top microwave to my mother in law. Well, the microwave part of it broke over a year ago and it was going to be just as much to fix it as to replace it. I figured instead of rushing out to buy a new one or paying the repair fee, why don’t we wait it out and see if we really need it. Well, I guess we didn’t really *need* it, since it still has not been replaced or repaired. We do still use it for the light underneath, and for the exhaust fan and the timer on it. Life has been just as easy without it! It actually keeps me from buying crummy prepared foods that I would eat when I was bored. My mother-in-law lives downstairs from us and does still have the counter top microwave in her house and occasionally I may run down to warm something up (more so my husband), but I’m so used to doing everything on the stove or the toaster oven that it’s become more of a hassle to use the microwave now. I don’t see us replacing it now unless the whole unit breaks down. I would have never imagined being one of those strange families that doesn’t have a microwave… But I’m perfectly happy with that 🙂

  35. We stopped using the microwave with your help…last year maybe. We had it around I just stopped using it then the opportunity came to get it out of the house and I have never missed it. 🙂 yipee! I melt butter on the stove and I use a tea pot to heat water for tea. Leftovers are the only thing that can get tricky but I love that we got rid of the microwave. Thanks!

  36. We moved in September to a smaller house, and had no room for a microwave! I am thrilled! Food reheated in the oven or stove takes a bit longer and makes more dishes, but tastes so much better! And no guilt! I would like a toaster oven for quick little reheats without turning on the oven though!

  37. Katie,
    I started reading your blog because of the microwave series. Thanks.

    I still haven’t given my microwave up. Yes, I have excuses, but I need to keep working on that one. Thanks for bringing it up again.

  38. We put ours up in the loft a few months ago because we needed the space and it was barely used. We’ve not missed it and making hot chocolate in a pan is much more fun anyway!

  39. I am thrilled with myself 😉 When we moved in June we left the microwave that belonged at the old rental there and moved to our new rental that didn’t have a microwave and I refused to let my husband bring our old one home from his shop to have here. I told him to keep it there, I didn’t want it here I wanted to try living without one. Plus on days when he works in his shop I can still send things that need warmed up and he can use it occasionally there.
    There are still moments when I wish I could warm up something quickly, but we have adapted well and don’t miss it too much!

  40. I tossed our microwave a few months back. It was taking up space and we only really used it to heat up water for tea. I never used it to thaw food because that process always scared me. My children don’t complain about not having one and neither do I. I get more complaints from my friends and family that come to visit. They can’t believe there is not a microwave in the house.

    1. Colleen, Donielle at Naturally Knocked Up found that not only was a teapot just as quick for one cup, the microwave was actually 5 degrees lower on “boil”. Weird! 🙂 Katie

  41. We’ve slowly phased out the microwave to the point where this last move we chose to leave it behind. It helps that we DO NOT have space for it. My hubby misses it greatly sometimes, but I was able to compromise him into a toaster oven. I told him ‘a toaster oven will do many of the things the microwave does, plus more. Does a microwave make toast?’ Hahaha

    Now, as long as we stay here long enough that he doesn’t want the microwave BACK after we move again!

  42. When we moved, we left the built-in microwave at our previous house. There wasn’t one in the new house, but someone gave us an extra that they had. We had a hard time finding a place for it, and before long we realized that it was making funny noises… and we just didn’t want to take any chances with our health. Since it was already a cast-off, we put it in the dumpster without any qualms. And we haven’t missed it in the 2-3 years since!

  43. I recently got rid of our microwave completely. It was being used less and less in our home, and we really needed work space. The cart it sat on has become a really functional work/baking center that has made life so much easier ! One former use for our microwave was if I miscalculated the time needed to cook meat in our oven ( microwave finished it off quickly). This happened last night, and instead of “nuking” the chicken to finish, back into the oven it went and we spent time talking as a family. I think that’s another thing lost all too often .

  44. We have not had a microwave for a few months now and don’t really miss it. I make most of our food from scratch so we only used it for thawing something out here and there. I think it is great that you are trying to limit the use of yours! Cooking on/in the stove is much safer not to mention the energy you save!

  45. I got rid of our microwave almost 2 years ago, and I wrote a piece about it for my blog:

    I truly haven’t missed it at all, and I cherish the extra counter space I gained.

  46. We quit ours cold turkey…physically moved it to another room, downstairs away from the kitchen, sitting on the floor, not plugged in. Real inconvenient to use for popcorn and quesadillas. Then we discovered that popcorn tastes better popped on the stove, and quesadillas are wonderful on the stove or in the oven. Now we are in an apartment with a provided microwave. It is tempting at times to use it, but we really try to avoid it.

  47. We haven’t had a microwave in probably about 4 years. The only time I miss it is when I want to reheat leftovers (for myself) quick instead of turning the oven on. Eventually I’ll get around to getting a toaster oven, but it just hasn’t happened.

  48. I was lucky enough to be thrown in the deep end when, in the few months before my wedding I lived with a family with four kids who didn’t use a microwave. When I first moved in, I thought I would miss it terribly but then it was a surprisingly not big deal. By the time I moved in with my husband a few months later I just never set up the microwave.
    I will say that having a toaster oven makes it much easier to not have a microwave for reheating little stuff.

  49. Serene in Singapore

    We went cold turkey. I guess for us, it helped that it was used mainly to heat up food. We did miss it when we wanted to hit up a few dishes for our dinner. Using our steamer unit took longer than usual and it often toughens/dries up the meat 🙁

    But we are used to it by now – it’s been 3 years! 🙂

  50. We basically only use the microwave to that something that I’ve forgotten to set out to thaw, or for heating water from my young ones whom I don’t allow to use the stove top, yet. But it’s time I taught them to use the tea kettle, instead.

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