Have you ever found yourself hesitating to put a plastic Tupperware container in your microwave?. To address this dilemma once and for all, it’s time to answer this question- can you put Tupperware in the microwave?
We know how plastic Tupperware is an essential part of your life- it may even be the most frequently used item in your kitchen. From preserving batch prepped food or freezer meals to packing lunch or snacks, plastic Tupperware is a lifesaver for preserving cooked food. But when you know plastics are hazardous for health, isn’t it risky to use Tupperware? After all, Tupperware is made of plastic too – to be more precise, oil and petroleum.
And is it wise to combine it with a microwave? When you are shoving Tupperware in the microwave because you don’t have the time to get the food on a plate, are you putting your health at risk? Read on to find the answers.
What Is Tupperware Made Of?
Sometimes people use the word “tupperware” to reference any kind of reusable plastic food container in the kitchen. But “Tupperware” (capital T) is actually the brand name for a very specific line of plastic kitchen items. This post specifically discusses Tupperware products, but the basic principles generally apply to all plastic food containers.
Most Tupperware is made from low-density polyethylene and polypropylene. Polyethylene is known for its use in bottles, plastic wrap, and grocery bags. Polypropylene is used in different containers to pack and carry foods and plastic drinking straws. These two elements are considered the safest plastic for reuse.
There is a third element that Tupperware uses for some products, and that is polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used in bottles, sippy cups, and plastic cutlery. However, this element is responsible for leaching BPA or Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, into foods. And if the name BPA is ringing a warning bell in your mind, read on to the next section.
Tupperware and BPA Safety
Most of the dilemma with plastic Tupperware or the confusion about putting Tupperware in the microwave revolves around the compound BPA. You might have already heard the name with all the ruckus about the use of plastic and food safety.
When certain plastic products are heated, they produce Bisphenol A, which can cause hormone irregularity, obesity, diabetes, and affect the reproductive system. Apart from being heated, BPA can also be released from plastic slowly over time. The food and drug administration (FDA) has some restrictions on using products that release BPA. However, they don’t cover the extensive use of BPA-based plastics.
While previous Tupperware products contained BPA, as of 2010 Tupperware products have been completely BPA-free. So it is safe to assume that as long as you are not using older Tupperware products, your Tupperware is BPA free.
So, Can You Put Tupperware In The Microwave?
Now that you know Tupperware products made after 2010 are BPA-free, you might still wonder; whether you can put Tupperware in the microwave or not. For one, you might still be worried if the plastic can leach into your food and whether the plastic would melt in the microwave. The answer to these questions depends on what type of Tupperware product you are using. There are different Tupperware products in the market, and despite the common notion, not all of them are microwave safe.
The brand has tested with a different product to determine which can be treated as microwave safe and used for cooking. You can ONLY put Tupperware products in the microwave that are marked as microwave safe.
The 5 Things You Need To Know To Do It Safely
1. The Symbols
Before you put Tupperware in the microwave. you have to determine whether your Tupperware is microwave safe. To make it easy to decipher their use, Tupperware products (and similar containers) have safety symbols at the bottom of the container to indicate whether the container is microwave safe. If you have three wavy lined microwave symbols at the bottom of your Tupperware container, it is safe to put them in the microwave.
If the waves are crossed off, it means you cannot put that Tupperware container in the microwave. And if your Tupperware container doesn’t have any of these symbols, you are better off not using that. Buy a certified product that comes with all the safety instructions and symbols.
2. Lids & Venting
You might be wondering- whether you should keep the lid on while you are microwaving a Tupperware. Keeping the lid on while cooking or reheating ensures faster and even heating. (If your microwave spins, that also helps even out the cooking temperatures.) As all the steam gets trapped inside the covered container, your foods get properly heated. However, microwaving in an air-sealed container can be dangerous. The pressure under the lead from the steam can get high and cause some explosion.
So what should you do? One way to avoid any microwave accident risk is to keep the lid on the container but leave some gaps to let the steam out. When you put Tupperware in the microwave, cover it lightly; leave a crack of space so the steam can come out of the food. Besides, most Tupperware containers have a vent system on the lid; keep the vent open while you are microwaving.
3. Some foods raise more concerns than others
Avoid heating fatty or sugary foods in Tupperware. The fats and sugars can reach a high temperature fast, and that might be excessive heat for the container material. And extreme heat and plastic are never a good combination.
4. Watch The Time
Keep the timer less than 3 minutes in the microwave while you are using Tupperware – even if the container is microwave-safe.
If you need more time to reheat the food, after 3 minutes of heating. stir the food well and put it back in the oven. Continue the process till your foods get heated evenly.
5. Watch The Temperature
Reheat your food on medium heat in a Tupperware container.
The Bottom Line
This whole discussion boils down to this: you can put Tupperware in the microwave if it is marked with a microwave safe symbol. And as long as you are using newer Tupperware products, you can rest assured you are safe from BPA exposure.