Microwave Ovens

I use a microwave oven rather than a conventional oven or a toaster oven because it heats fast and is easy to clean. You can also buy them cheaply, sometimes even getting a used one for free from someone moving away.

How they work: A microwave oven produces very small radio waves, so small that they cause water molecules to vibrate. When they vibrate they cause heat. What this means is that if your food has water in it, it will heat. For instance, in my section on Popcorn I mention about putting uncooked popcorn kernels into a paper bag. The bag doesn’t burn or even get hot because there’s no water in it. The popcorn pops because the kernel contains a small amount of water, which expands quickly and causes the kernel to explode. Though people may talk about “nuking” food, there is nothing nuclear about a microwave oven. It’s simply high intensity radio waves. Microwave cooking was discovered when an engineer working around a radio transmitter discovered that the candy bar in his pocket was beginning to get soft.

900 watt microwave oven

Cooking can be uneven. For example, if you have one of those Hungry Man dinners you can heat it for 7 or 8 minutes and it still may not be entirely heated! Because the microwave radiating part is to the side of the inside of the unit, this means that the waves might not reach very deeply into the food. When in doubt, over-cook.

Always be sure to close the door thoroughly, and replace your microwave oven if the door gets loose or doesn’t close properly. You don’t want to cook anything but what’s in the oven!

Remember, to be sure your food is safe to eat, the internal temperature of all parts of you meal must reach at least 165 degrees for at least two minutes. If you can smell the food and you see steam coming from the food, it’s likely hot enough.

How much power? I’d go for a 1,000 watt microwave oven because the oven is roomier and most recipes and the containers of most foods.

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