It peels vegetables:
Rich winter stews call for peeled tomatoes but meticulous peeling is a drag. After washing and cutting tomatoes in half, place them cut-side down in the microwave and heat for five minutes until the skin has shriveled around the edges. Then, gently slide them off with a fork or even your fingernails.
It warms bath towels:
Baby, it's cold outside! Post-shower, warm up quicker by placing slightly damp towels in a large ziplock bag, then pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. "Not all plastic bags are microwave-safe so check the box first," says Snyder.
It gets gum off your clothes:
Parents will love this—if your kid got chewing gum stuck on their clothes (or, ahem, yours), warm one cup of vinegar in the microwave for a minute or so, then dab it on the gum with a clean cloth until it's gone. Presto!
Transform faded T-shirts with this speedy trick. Prepare the fabric by scrunching, knotting, twisting or folding - tie all fabrics tightly.
Wearing rubber gloves, empty a pack of Dylon natural fabric dye carefully into a bowl and gradually add 250 ml of warm water. Stir thoroughly to ensure dye is dissolved.
Add further 250 ml. Put the bowl into a plastic freezer bag and microwave on high for four minutes.
Remove, tip away the dye and rinse the fabric in cold water, leaving the knots in place until the water runs clear. Dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
It soothes menstrual cramps:
You can always use a heating pad if you have killer period cramps but if you don't own one, fill a large cotton sock with a mix of grains or lentils and sew the open end closed. Pop it in the microwave for two minutes, then place on your abdomen. Sweet relief! "Since beans have a low water content, place a glass of water in the microwave so the water will produce friction, absorbing the radiation and helping to warm the towel," says Sue Snyder, Ph.D., Professor of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware.
It sterilizes soil:
Got a green thumb? Head to the kitchen before the garden. Before planting seedlings, sterilize your soil to remove bacteria so your seeds thrive. Spread about 400g of soil on a flat, non-metal dish, then heat on high until the soil starts steaming. "Make sure the soil is thoroughly stirred so the heat dissipates throughout. You'll have to experiment with how long you cook it but heating for 90 seconds will at least reduce the amount of bacteria," says Snyder.
It dries herbs:
Keep thyme and oregano fresh by drying them out in the microwave. Just wash, then lie them out on a paper towel, heating in 30 seconds blasts until they're dry.
It freshens up packaged food:
Don't toss stale crackers and cereal. Pour on a plate and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Whip up scrambled eggs and bacon:
Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White says microwaved bacon tastes better than grilled (and it saves on the washing up, too).
For easy bacon and eggs, crack the eggs into a buttered, microwavable bowl, add a tablespoon of milk and whisk.
Cook on full power for a minute, remove and stir, then microwave at 30-second bursts (stirring at the end of each) until solid. For the bacon, put four rashers on a plate and microwave for 2½ minutes.
Make a giant marshmallow:
If your children complain of being bored, make their eyes pop with this little trick.
Put a marshmallow in the microwave and heat for no more than a minute. Stand back and watch as the marshmallow slowly expands to five, ten, 20, 30 times its normal size.
Wash socks simply:
Washing machine broken? Not enough clothes for a full load? Not to worry. Wash your socks by putting them in a large bowl of soapy water for ten minutes on a high power setting.