The market is flooded with several packaging materials used to carry, store and wrap food items. However, as much as they are perfect to package food, they might not be stable enough to handle high microwave temperatures.
Some of these materials are made up of harmful chemical substances that melt into your food when microwaving.
But, can you microwave wax paper?
Yes, it is safe to microwave Wax Paper. This is According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Wax papers made of paraffin and organic wax are the best to be used in the microwave since their presence is not detectable by microwave radiation. They allow the radiation to pass through them efficiently.
Also, according to World Health Organization, wax papers do not contain chemicals and highly toxic substances. They are also safe and harmless to the human body.
Wax papers are also essential food wrappers and carriers. One may also use wax papers as pan or plate liners and workplace covers when you want to work on your dough.
However, proper precautions are required when using wax paper, especially when a high volume of heat is involved.
It is advisable to avoid placing wax papers directly into the oven heat. Direct heat melts down the wax, causing the paper to catch fire and burn, leading to a fire hazard.
This article focuses on wax paper. A wax paper is made with paraffin and organic wax. The wax is inserted into the pores and later on spread, coating the outside of the paper. Apart from wrapping and carrying food items, they are also used while baking food, such as cookies, cakes, and brownies. They also store or package leftovers.
Safety Measures when Using Wax Papers in the Microwave
1. Avoid microwaving foods with high-fat contents wrapped in wax paper
Foods with a high-fat content tend to overheat. Wax papers do not always do so well in very high heat conditions. Extreme heat melts the wax coating on the wax papers, which might lead to ignition.
2. Do not overuse the wax paper by letting it stay for too long in the microwave
The longer the wax paper heats in the microwave, the more it begins to melt and wear off. If you wish to use it as a lid for the food you tend to cook for hours in the microwave, it is advisable to use a microwaveable lid.
3. Ensure Water-based microwave foods at an average heat condition
Wrapping and microwaving Water-based foods at an average heating condition may not cause the melting and burning of the wax paper. Water-based foods include fruits, steak, and garlic.
4. Buy wax papers from reliable sources
The store where you buy your wax papers does matter a lot. Reliable sources will sell reliable brands of wax papers. That way, you will have confidence in the materials you have entrusted to cover or wrap your food as you cook or reheat.
5. Avoid directly heating the wax paper
When exposed to direct heat, the wax begins to meltdown. When the wax completely melts down, it leads to ignition hence a possible fire hazard.
6. Avoid using wax papers in the oven
The heating temperature in the oven is usually too high for the wax paper to withstand. High heat melts the wax paper and will eventually cause a fire.
7. Avoid microwaving food with high contents of salt
Like fatty foods tend to overheat, salty foods also overheat to the point of melting down the wax papers, which leads to the transfer of the melted content into your food and burning the wax paper.
8. Use wax papers as leads or covers
Wax papers are better used as covers to avoid immediate contact with food. Some wax papers tend to melt and burn when faced with direct heat. Therefore using them as leads will stop the possible flow of the melted wax into your food.
Uses of Wax Paper
The following are ways to use wax paper in a microwave.
- They are used to cover defrosting food.
For even heat distribution in frozen foods, wax papers are the best to use. They ensure heat circulates efficiently, defrosting the food evenly.
- They can be used as pan liners.
Wax papers usually do not stand the heat produced in the oven. However, use them as pan liners when baking cakes, bread, and brownies. Proper care is needed as using an oven may result in the melting and burning of the paper wax.
- They can be used as plate liners.
When cooking greasy foods that might stain your plate, you may place the wax papers on your plate before placing your greasy meal. However, when such a meal is too hot, it will melt the paper wax.
- Wax papers can be used when reheating leftovers.
You may put your leftovers in a microwave-safe container or bowl and cover them with wax paper. Wax papers also prevent food splatter on the microwave walls, hence preventing contamination. You wouldn’t have to clean your microwave each time you reheat your meals thoroughly.
- They are often used as lids.
Wax papers are often used as covers for all meals. They ensure even distribution of heat as the food cooks or reheats.
- Wax papers are used in steaming.
They are quite essential when steaming food items like fish and vegetables
- They can be used to cover workspaces.
Especially in the kitchen, you can use them to cover the countertops as you work on your dough before baking cookies, brownies, or cakes. Therefore, wax papers can save you a lot of time used in the cleanup process that is required after the spread flour and dough all over your kitchen counter.
- Food storage.
Wax papers wrap and store food items like cookies, cakes, and brownies. They can also be used to separate two different layers of greasy foods.
How a microwave works in conjunction with wax paper
The following is detailed explanation on how a microwave works together with a wax paper to ensure your food is efficiently heated and evenly cooked.
- A microwave emits low-energy radiation.
- The radiation is absorbed by food molecules which then turn into energy that cooks the food.
- For the molecules to produce the required energy, they rotate round and round, colliding with the next molecule, and through friction, energy is formed.
- The microwave radiation runs through the wax paper straight into the food since the wax paper does not have molecules that can absorb the microwaves’ radiation to produce energy. In fact, paper wax is completely transparent to the radiation of a microwave.
- The transparency of the wax paper to the microwave radiation makes it the best cover for your food as you microwave. It enables microwave radiation to pass through the wax paper without any kind of obstruction to reach the food molecules where energy is produced to aid in the cooking process.
Therefore, it is correct to say food produces the heat that can actually melt and burn wax paper, not the microwave’s radiation. Types of foods whose molecules can easily absorb the microwave’s radiation to produce heat include Water, fats, oils, sugar, and salt.
The two variants of wax papers
There are two types of wax papers, bleached and unbleached.
Making bleached wax papers includes the use of harmful chemical substances like chlorine and other toxic dioxins. According to the World Health Organization, the mentioned chemicals tend to cling to fatty tissues for hours. They are described as persistent and highly toxic.
When bleached wax papers are microwaved, they melt, and their melted content mixes with food, although the amount of dioxins melted and transferred to your meals are believed to be insignificant, and their effect on human health is negligible. After a while, accumulating these dioxins in the body begins to exhibit their health risk. Therefore, it is advisable to do away with bleached wax papers to protect our future health.
Wax paper belongs to the unbleached category. The process of making the wax paper involves using paraffin and organic wax that is inserted into the pores and coated on the paper. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has assured wax paper users its safety. The materials used in making these wax papers are safe and harmless to the human body.
Wax papers are used as covers when microwaving food in a dish or bowl. They help by keeping the steam in the bowl, giving your food a moist cooking environment. They are also used to prevent food splatter so that you wouldn’t have to clean your microwave each time you cook something. However, proper care and instructions should be followed to avoid issues like exposing the wax paper to too much heat leading to the melting and burning of the wax paper.
Faqs About Microwaving Wax Papers
1. Is wax paper toxic after heated?
Wax paper is not toxic. The paper is coated with both paraffin and organic wax. The combination of the three can never turn toxic despite the wax paper wrapping hot food, burned or melted.
2. What happens if you heat wax paper?
Since the paper is coated with paraffin and organic wax, heating it in hot conditions will melt the wax coating. Higher temperatures may even cause the paper underneath the wax coating to catch fire. Therefore wax papers do not do so well under heat.
3. Is Reynolds wax paper microwave safe?
Yes, it is safe. Reynolds wax paper is designed to handle reheating and cooking without being affected by microwave radiation. The Reynolds wax paper will still maintain its shape and ensure it serves its purpose despite high heat levels. The paper is also believed to be transparent to microwave radiation.
4. Does wax burn-in microwave?
No, it does not. Wax papers are designed to withstand microwave heat. In fact, they cannot be detected by microwave radiation. However, the type of food wrapped by the paper wax may cause it to melt and burn, especially if the food is too fatty or salty.
5. Can I eat food cooked on wax paper?
Yes, you can as long as the wax paper is coated with organic wax, which has proven to be non-toxic. Therefore it is only recommended to cook food on organic waxed paper.
6. Does wax paper melt into food?
Yes, however, the melting will depend on the quantity of heat the paper is exposed to and the type of food wrapped in the wax paper—for instance, oven heat above 200 degrees. When placed in the oven heating above the mentioned degrees, the wax paper begins to melt as the wax mixes with your food, eventually catching fire.
7. What temp does wax paper melt?
Due to the nature of the paper itself, being coated with organic wax only means that at about 200 degrees, the wax coating paper will begin to melt.
8. What happens if you accidentally use wax paper in the oven?
It is advisable to avoid placing wax papers in an oven. The wax coating on the wax papers begins to melt when it directly contact the oven heat. Later on, the paper may ignite, bursting into flames.
9. Can you cook brownies on wax paper?
You may use wax papers for baking brownies as long as the wax papers are not directly exposed to heat. Therefore it is in your best interest to use the wax papers to line pans as you cook your brownies.
10. Can wax paper go in the oven at 200 degrees?
Wax papers cannot withstand 200 degrees of oven heat. At 200 degrees, wax papers begin to melt and eventually catch fire.
11. Is baking wax paper safe?
No, it is not safe. The wax paper will melt and catch fire. It may also depend on how direct the wax paper will be towards heat. Direct heat will melt and burn the wax paper. However, if you wish to use wax papers to line pans when baking your cakes and brownies, it may work for you. The biggest secret is to avoid exposing the wax papers to extreme heat.
12. Is Reynolds wax paper safe?
Yes, Reynolds wax papers are safe as long as they are used appropriately. They should not be exposed directly to the heat. If used in baking cakes, bread, muffins, and brownies, they should be used as pan liners. However, Reynolds wax paper is safe in a microwave since microwave radiation has little to no effect on them.
In conclusion, it is correct to say that Wax papers can be microwaved. They are also safe and harmless to the human body. They can be used as covers or leads when cooking or reheating your meal in the microwave. Wax papers are the best to be used in the microwave since their presence is not detectable by microwave radiation. They allow the radiation to pass through them efficiently to heat your meals.
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