whether you really need one and even given you advice on how to phase them out. However, if you already have one, you might as well put it to better use. Here are some ideas on how to do just that. 1. Sanitizing Sponges and Cutting Boards: We've written about this before, but instead of throwing out a soiled sponge, sanitize it in your microwave (or dishwasher!). As it turns out, this is more effective than soaking a sponge in a bleach/lemon juice/water mixture. You can also disinfect plastic cutting boards.
2. Storage or a Bread Box: Think about it: the microwave is fairly airtight, so baked goods and other things that need to stay fresh but not cold will be protected from the elements. Not only that, but it's pretty sterile. So if you're short on counter-space, you might consider using it as a breadbox or temporary food storage. 3. Cooking Short Cuts: A microwave is great for getting more juice out of lemons and limes, drying herbs, poaching an Egg, and a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/kitchen-shortcut-how-to-toast-nuts-in-the-microwave-099158">toasing nuts. While it might not be the traditional or slow-food way, it might save you time, allowing you to do other things a bit more sustainably. 4. Make Real Food: Instead of being relegated to heating up leftovers, there are a myriad of ways to create delicious, healthy, and fresh meals in no time at all. Here are a few ideas from The Kitchn on how to use the microwave as a shortcut: (Images by Trent Johnson)