Coconut bowls have grown in popularity recently, especially among the environmentally conscious. Today, you walk into any grocery store, and you’ll likely find aisles of these eco-friendly dishes ranging from pricey to budget-friendly.
And it’s not just about their sustainability; a coconut bowl on your dining table can be a statement piece or a subtle decoration. But, before you order that hefty box of four, there is one thing you should know: coconut bowls crack when exposed to high temperatures.
So, this begs the question, can you microwave coconut bowls?
Unfortunately, coconut bowls are not microwave-safe. When exposed to the microwave’s intense heat, they will crack, warp, and crumble in seconds. If you must reheat food in a coconut bowl, do so in a heatproof dish first, then transfer it back to the bowl once done and at room temperature.
For more insight on why you should never microwave coconut bowls, if they’re safe to eat from, their benefits, and how to take care of them, keep reading!
What Are Coconut Bowls?
A coconut bowl is a container made from the mature coconut’s outer shell and can take any shape from round to oval. It’s traditionally used to store and serve food, like soups, salads, or desserts.
The rise in sustainability awareness has led people to rethink their dishware choices, opting for environmentally friendly materials. For instance, plastic and paper bowls can leach harmful chemicals such as BPA into your food if heated at high temperatures for an extended period. Plus, they’re non-biodegradable and must be manually recycled.
On the other hand, coconut bowls are all-natural, biodegradable, and compostable, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact. I also love their tropical elegance, which adds a unique touch to any table setting.
Of course, there are some safety concerns surrounding coconut bowls. Read on to find out why you should never microwave them.
Can You Microwave Coconut Bowls Safely?
Unfortunately, the microwave’s high temperatures can cause coconut bowls to crack or shatter due to their soft texture and porous nature.
To fully comprehend why microwaving coconut bowls is a bad idea, first learn about their composition.
Coconut bowls are made from the hard outer shell of mature dried coconut fruit. The coconut’s inner flesh is removed, leaving only the tough outer shell, which is then sanded and polished to a shine using coconut oil. The result is an extremely lightweight and absorbent product that does not fare well in intense heat.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re useless or ineffective. They are ideal for serving cold or room temperature foods such as soup, salad, ice cream, raw vegetables, yogurt, and cereal. They also have many other uses around the home, such as plant pots, candle holders, soap dispensers, and pet bowls.
But if you must use your coconut bowl in the microwave, I recommend first transferring your food to a microwavable dish. After heating it, allow it to cool before transferring it back into the coconut bowl for a stylish snacking session.
Are Coconut Bowls Safe To Eat From?
Yes, coconut bowls are safe to eat from but proceed with caution.
First, the market is flooded with counterfeit bowls made of synthetic materials and low-quality plastics containing toxins like BPA. These products are often labeled 100 % coconut or BPA-free to trick customers into purchasing them. I recommend purchasing your coconut bowl from a reputable source or contacting the manufacturer.
Second, the manufacturer may occasionally treat the bowl with chemicals that can leach into the food. Some manufacturers, for example, use bleach to remove natural blemishes on the bowl’s exterior surface. Unfortunately, manufacturers rarely disclose this information on their product labels. So, look for sanded coconut bowls that have only been treated with coconut oil or beeswax.
Lastly, just like any other dishware, clean your coconut bowl before eating from it. Although cleaning does not eliminate the risk of ingesting toxic chemicals, it does reduce your exposure to them. Remember, no hot water while washing! Hot water can warp the bowl, destroying its structure.
In a nutshell, conduct due diligence when selecting a coconut bowl. Check the label to see if the ingredients contain hazardous chemicals, buy from a reputable retailer, and always wash before using.
Benefits of Eating From a Coconut Bowl
Eating from a coconut bowl has plenty of benefits.
- Sustainable: If you’re eco-conscious, eating from a coconut bowl is more sustainable than using paper or plastic products. The raw material (coconut shell) is all-natural and biodegradable. Additionally, the bowls are made in low-tech environments with simple hand tools, requiring no fossil fuels to produce them.
- Waste-Free: Worldwide, pollution from non-biodegradable materials like plastic accounts for a huge chunk of landfills. That translates into billions of tons annually. In contrast, coconut bowls decompose naturally after use, significantly lowering your carbon footprint.
- Encourage a Healthier Life: Eating out of an environmentally friendly container encourages healthier and more conscious eating. Plus, you’ll reduce your chances of contracting foodborne illnesses or suffering health problems related to chemical exposure.
- No Plastic Taste: Paper containers alter the taste and smell of food. Coconut bowls, on the other hand, do not absorb odors or tastes and pose no risk of chemicals leaching into your food.
How to Take Care of Your Coconut Bowl
Like any kitchen utensil, coconut bowls require maintenance to keep them in good condition. Here are a few tips to help you care for your bowl:
- Never microwave the coconut bowl or expose it to high heat. As I previously mentioned, extreme heat will crack the bowl, making it unusable.
- Handwash your coconut bowl with mild soap and warm water. Avoid hard scrubbing and abrasive cleaners as they can scratch the bowl’s surface.
- Dry your coconut bowl completely before storing it away. Moisture can promote bacterial growth, resulting in food spoilage, odors, and decay over time. To remove excess moisture, pat with a clean, dry cloth/paper towel or simply air-dry.
- If possible, store the bowl near room temperature to avoid absorbing excess humidity from the air.
- Inspect your coconut bowl regularly and occasionally rub some coconut oil on its surface to maintain the sheen. I recommend polishing it once a month or every 15-20 uses. The more often you polish your bowl, the longer it will last.
Faqs On Can You Microwave Coconut Bowls
1. Can you heat coconut bowls?
Heat can cause coconut bowls to crack, rendering them unusable. If you must warm your food in a coconut bowl, do so in a heatproof dish.
Otherwise, use them only for cold or room temperature foods such as ice cream, yogurt, soup, fruit salad, etc.
2. Are coconut bowls safe?
Unlike synthetic plastic or paper products, coconut bowls are entirely made of natural coconut shells. As a result, they don’t contain any potentially harmful chemicals or toxins that could leach into your food.
Plus, they are biodegradable, making them a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to other disposable options.
3. Can you put hot soup in a coconut bowl?
You should never put hot soup, or any other hot liquid or food, in a coconut bowl.
The soup’s high temperatures will cause the bowl to crack or break, resulting in a sloppy mess. To eat your soup in the coconut bowl, ensure it’s cold or at room temperature first.
You can also check on how to heat soup in microwave.
4. How do you make a coconut bowl food safe?
Make certain that it is made entirely of natural coconut shells. There should be no traces of synthetic material, nor any chemicals or wood pulp treatment.
Next, wash the bowl with warm water and mild soap to remove dust, pollen, or other contaminants.
5. Why do coconut bowl cracks?
Coconut bowl cracks due to exposure to extreme temperatures.
For example, when you put it in the microwave, the bowl’s interior heats up faster than the outside, resulting in a temperature gradient. This creates thermal stresses within the material that eventually lead to cracking.
6. Can coconut bowls go into the dishwasher?
Coconut bowls are not dishwasher safe because the high heat can cause them to crack and damage.
To clean them, simply handwash them using warm water and soap. Moreover, soaking your bowl in water for long periods can make them moldy.
7. What do you use a coconut bowl for?
A coconut bowl is an excellent way to enjoy a healthy, delicious, refreshing fruit bowl. You can also use it to serve desserts like ice cream or frozen yogurt and dips like guacamole. The applications are endless; just don’t put anything hot in them or expose them to high heat.
8. Are coconut bowls reusable?
Coconut bowls are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a sustainable and reusable option for your next dinner party.
These bowls are made from organic and natural materials (coconut shells) that otherwise would have been discarded as waste.
9. How long do coconut bowls last for?
Coconut bowls can last for years if properly cared for. Keep them away from high heat, handwash them in warm soapy water, completely dry them, and store them in a cool, dry place.
Remember, a little coconut oil polish every now and then will keep your bowl looking brand-new.
Coconut bowls are an excellent alternative to plastic and Styrofoam products. They are 100% natural, biodegradable, compostable, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and non-toxic. However, they crack when microwaved or exposed to high heat.
The best way to use your coconut bowl is as a serving dish for cold foods like rice, salads, and soups. Also, treat them with care and they will last you a lifetime.