Q. Can you microwave aluminum takeout containers? If you can’t, what could go wrong? What about the container you brought home from the restaurant or a leftover pie?
A. Aluminum foil is a versatile material that can be made into many different products for home and industrial use. If you look around your house, you will find dozens of ways aluminum foil has been used in packaging, decorations, and appliances.
Aluminum foil is made into all kinds of takeout containers and disposable baking pans. The advantages of using aluminum foil are that it is tough, waterproof, non-toxic and recyclable. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Another good quality of aluminum foil is that it will not give an unpleasant flavor to food stored in it.
Aluminum foil was invented in France in 1903 and replaced tin foil, which was less durable and unhealthy to use. Tin foil also gave a distinct flavor to food wrapped in it. By the end of World War II, aluminum foil was commonly used in the United States. The first company to commercially produce aluminum foil in the US was Alcoa.
Aluminum comes from bauxite, which is one of the more common ores on Earth. It is mined in Australia, North America, and the West Indies. Aluminum is extracted from the bauxite ore by smelting and refining. Aluminum foil contains between 92 and 99 percent aluminum. There are two methods of making aluminum foil: rolling ingots of aluminum on special machinery or continuously casting the metal.
The foil is produced in many thicknesses for different uses. After the foil is rolled and work hardened, it can be coated with a variety of materials or bonded to paper and plastic to strengthen them. Some examples of materials that are improved with aluminum foil include food packaging and insulation.
Getting back to the question at hand, can you microwave aluminum takeout containers? The short answer is no. There are some circumstances when it is okay to microwave aluminum items, but generally, it is better not to try. If you are very careful, you could use flat sheets of foil to shield certain parts of your food from getting too hot. You would have to make sure that the foil stayed flat and free of crinkles, and that the foil stayed further than one inch from the walls.
In short, it is risky to microwave any kind of metal unless you know exactly what you’re doing. It is better that metals be kept out of the microwave because they conduct heat and electricity and can damage your microwave or even start a fire.
Many people don’t realize that a microwave works by using radio waves. These waves are absorbed by sugar, fat, and water molecules in the food, causing them to release heat. The microwaves reach about an inch and a half into the food, and the heat is conducted to the inside of the food. The microwaves cook all the way around the food at once, which is why the microwave cooks so quickly compared to a conventional oven or stovetop.
It is safe to use glass, plastic, and ceramic materials to microwave your food because the waves pass right through them, allowing food to be safely heated inside them.
The microwave has thick metal walls that reflect the waves back into the microwave like a mirror. This prevents anyone outside from being hurt by them.
If you were to microwave something in a heavy metal pan, it wouldn’t heat up at all because the microwaves would reflect off it. (Don’t try this at home) Thin and crinkled sheets of metal, however, bounce the microwaves around too easily and cause the heat and electric current to reflect off the surfaces.
If you have ever accidentally microwaved aluminum foil or any metal, you know that the metal can produce sparks. If there is any food in the microwave, the sparks could cause it to catch fire. This is especially true of a drier type of food like tortilla chips. The sparks can cause your microwave oven to short out, meaning that you would need to replace it.
It is generally unsafe to microwave aluminum takeout containers. You could permanently damage your microwave or even start a house fire. Make sure you remove your leftovers from the aluminum takeout container and put them in a plastic, ceramic, or glass dish to reheat them.