Microwave sterilization?

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Microwave Tek 5

Tupperware, Ziplock Containers  -    
What about NUKING the substrate?  3   Aseem

By Delekhan J. Delekhan (Delekhan) on Sunday, January 06, 2002 - 09:55 pm: The Nook

Ok guys, I know this isn't the most efficient method, but it would be quite convenient for me if I could figure out a way to sterilize half pint jars in a microwave (I just got a 800watt one for xmas). Anyway, I also have a little pot called a microwave cooker. Basically it's just a plastic version of a stove pot, but it has a cover that slides over the top. The cover has little holes drilled all in it for venting. I was thinking I could put some water it in, and put a jar in that. Then nuke for awhile. Does that sound like it would work? The only thing I can think of that would be a problem is the metal lids, and not getting enough pressure to fully sterilize. My reason for all this is that I'm in a dorm, and cooking vermiculite in the dorm kitchen might be a little suspicious. I could do it at a friend's house, but that requires moving everything around. Anyway, any microwave help is appreciated. Would make things a lot easier and stealthier if I could figure out a way.

Also, for anyone still interested (remembering my concerns about temperature in my dorm room)... I got back to school yesterday, and my room had to be at least 85 degrees. I don't think I'll have any heat problems until they start turning the heaters off again. Right now they're running 24/7.

Take care


By Snoopy (Snoopy) on Sunday, January 06, 2002 - 10:08 pm: The Nook

Remember if you go to the supermarket you can sometimes find plastic lids for the halfpint jars. They call them the reusable lids. These I suspect would work fine in a microwave with a jar.
Also awhile back I couldn't find any jars so I picked up a bunch of small tupperware containers and cut slits in the top with a knife enuff so I could slip a needle in there. Ended up working fine in the microwave. Just make sure you don't get to big of a container, because the center won't colonize and it'll end up rotting on you.

By Delekhan J. Delekhan (Delekhan) on Sunday, January 06, 2002 - 10:22 pm: The Nook

What process did you go through to microwave them? Just make up the jars, put them in and nuke? What about trying to steam them in the microwave with something, like the little microwave cooker I mentioned above?


By Delekhan J. Delekhan (Delekhan) on Sunday, January 06, 2002 - 11:54 pm: The Nook

Ok, I just did an experiment to see if/how long it would take water to boil in my microwave, and tested out my little cooker. 5 mins exactly, steam was coming out the little holes in the top. After getting it out, there was still quite a bit of steam in the cooker. I know it's not any major pressure but it really seems no different than if I used a pot and boiling water on the stove. If I can find those plastic lids (Any help here?), this really might work. Granted, I'll be doing a jar at a time, taking about 10-15 mins per jar, but I'm not trying to do any bulk. I don't mind spending a few hours getting my jars sterile, not to mention microwaves are pretty much, set it, and forget it. What do you guys think??


By An guy (Boomer) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 12:10 am: The Nook

Don't know about the mic, but the plastic lids-

Mine are called Ball Wide Mouth Plastic Storage Caps, come in a box of 8 reusable caps, labeled as not for processing, but they steam and mic ok. Got them at a large city walmart, the local one didn't have them.

A local grocery store does though- it's not a big chain, just a little local store. Unlike the bigger ones that keep their seasonal stuff seasonal, this place keeps it out, it isn't as streamlined as a larger chain store. A good thing, in my opinion.

By Imok Urok2 (Imok) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 01:35 am: The Nook

Hey Delekhan, if I remember right...
When you are using the microwave, the waves and heat it creates in what is being waved is sterilizing the jars. Not just the steam created on the outside.
The only reason you look for steam in a pc/steamer is for the heat that is created.
The moisture should already be in the jar.
As an idea...
A while back there was a discussion on electric PC's to be used in dorm rooms.
An alternative solution to finding one was to use an electric hot plate/burner and a regular PC.
When I was young my aunt used to make all sorts of good tasting foods, stews, stuffed cabbage, pot roast, in a PC.
I bet you could find a chef who would be glad to help disguise your use of it.
It would be a nice change from a sandwich warmed in the microwave non?
Sometime I will have to give you my recipe for microwave BBQ chicken :)

By quote: (Quote) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 01:58 am: The Nook

fungiperfecti sells those plastic lids.

By Delekhan J. Delekhan (Delekhan) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 02:54 am: The Nook

I didn't think a hot plate could get hot enough to boil water... can they really? Yea, I got the info on electric PC's, but I think I'd have to order one which would be close to $200 (not really in my budget). If a hot plate and regular PC would work, that would be cool. I guess a lot of experimenting hasn't been done with microwaves. At least, I haven't read much on here about them. Anyway, I really don't know if steaming with the microwave cooker would be any better than just microwaving the jars alone, but I guess when I get all my supplies together I can try a few things and see how it goes. I have heard of people having some success with microwaves, so it seems worth a try to me. Any suggestions or experiences would surely help though.


By Delekhan J. Delekhan (Delekhan) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 07:19 am: The Nook

Ok, I've done some searches and have dug up a little more info on sterilizing with a microwave. It seems most people's problems have not been with contamination but with over-drying their substrate. New question being, how can one tell if they've overcooked their substrate, besides having no growth after they innoculate? If I had a digi scale that might help (weigh a jar before and after nuking), but I don't have a digi scale, and don't know if I really have the money to get one, and I don't know if that will really tell me accurately. It seems ideal to nuke them as long as possible without drying them out (btw, I think I'll punch 4 holes in my plastic lids and cover with breathable tape, that may help keep the lids from popping off at least.). Anyway, am I going totally off the wall trying this, just wasting my time? I know most experienced growers swear by PCs, but that's hard to do in my situation really (dorm, not too many college students do much canning or anything, and I don't want to have to carry all my shit over to a friend's house to PC... not to mention I don't have a PC, and I do have a microwave that's in my room). I know I might have some failure, that won't upset me too much, but I also might have some success and if I could refine the procedure, maybe I could come up with a microwave tek or something (I plan on being pretty methodical with my procedure/record keeping). Maybe one of you more experienced growers will embrace this idea and help me out (unless it's totally outlandish to you, and I'll admit I don't have any idea what I'm doing).

Thanks guys.


By quote: (Quote) on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 03:27 pm: The Nook

placing a jar/pan of water in the 'wave with your substrate will help minimize drying.