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3 min read

Microwaves are a popular choice for reheating food stored in containers - be it last night’s leftovers or a packed lunch, and we get questions all the time about whether food can be reheated in the microwave in our stainless steel lunch boxes.

So, can you put metal in the microwave? Well, yes actually, but you probably don’t want to! 

You can put metal in the microwave - it won’t catch fire or explode, however you may get sparks! Jagged edges can cause a build-up of electrical current which causes sparks, and in severe cases, fire. So, no forks or crumpled tin foil in the microwave please.

But will it heat my food? No, is the simple answer

Metal functions as a shield in a microwave, blocking the waves emitted by the oven. That’s why why you might want to use a bit of foil round the edges when you’re reheating lasagne or brownies to stop it burning. And thats the main reason you can’t heat food in a metal container in a microwave oven. Not that it will blow up the oven, you’ll just be left with cold leftovers as the heat can't penetrate the metal.

Heat up your food the old fashioned way.

cooking a lasagne in the oven in a stainless steel lunchbox

Oven: Our Elephant Box containers are ideal for reheating food in a regular or convection oven.

Stovetop: you can put your steel container directly on the hob but it may discolour - Its best is to decant it into a pan first. Add a splash of water to the pan for moisture, cover with a lid to add some steam, and your food will be hot in about 5 minutes.

What about using an old plastic tub for transporting and reheating your lunch?

You may want to consider what heated plastic does to your food. And, more importantly, what that food is doing to your body.

Is it safe to microwave plastic?

Put simply, it’s a bad idea to heat food in plastic.  Even if a plastic container is labelled “microwave safe,” all that means is it won’t melt. Although some plastic materials are safer than others you’ll want to avoid BPA entirely, and some BPA-free plastics are risky from a health perspective since BPA is substituted for BPS (bisphenol substitute) a similar but more toxic hormonal chemical. When heated in a microwave, plastics react to the radiation waves by releasing these toxins, among others, into the food.

If you’ve been storing and heating food in plastic for years, don’t panic. The truth is these chemicals are around us all the time. We’ll never truly escape them, but its not too late to make healthy changes and gradually replace your plastic tupperware with steel and glass

When it comes to heating food follow these simple rules:

a) In a microwave - if you need to use a microwave, use glass or decant from your metal or plastic container onto a microwave safe plate or container .

b) Stovetop - decant your lunch into a pan and heat gently.

c) Oven - put your stainless steel food container safely in the oven.

(Meal prep tip: Prep meals in advance like lasagne or a cottage pie, store it in the fridge or freezer and cook it when you're ready). 

d) If you’re nowhere near an oven or microwave when you’re eating your lunch you can avoid having to reheat food altogether and use an insulated food or drinks flask!  Check out our range of sturdy reliable food flasks and bottles that will keep your food piping hot 6 hours and drinks hot for up to 16 hours. Perfect for this wintery weather! 

putting hot tomato soup into an elephant box 350ml insulated flask

I hope that helps clear up some common myths, and as always, do get in touch using the contact form if you have any other questions. 

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