Unsure about buying or using a microwave? Let our microwaving Q&As put your fears to rest and clarify some basic points so that you can take full advantage of this very useful small appliance.
Sure, a microwave is handy to quickly reheat a cup of coffee or a bowl of soup, but did you know that you can also cook in a microwave? Hard boil an egg or cook an omelette for a quick breakfast, a bowl of noodles for lunch, or pop some popcorn kernels for a healthy snack…
1.What Does Microwave Mean?
In order to use the microwave responsibly, it is important to first understand how it operates. Electromagnetic waves of extremely high frequency (shorter than radio waves but longer than infrared) are passed on the food until the water molecules inside absorb the heat. Note that Panasonic’s patented new Inverter cooking technology helps the process by providing a constant seamless stream of heat, contrary to the on-and-off energy supply of traditional microwaves.
Smart features also help avoid overcooking food by allowing you to set the appropriate temperature and time needed to cook different types of food to perfection.
2.How Does a Microwave Cook Food?
Cook a meal on your stove or in the oven, and chances are you will have to turn the food over a few times, since heat is transferred from the bottom. Reheating a meal also requires you to spend time waiting for the appliance to get hot enough.
On the other hand, no time has to be wasted waiting for the appliance to catch up with you when reheating leftovers or cooking TV dinners in a microwave: simply press a button, and let those electromagnetic waves go to work. Heat gets transferred more evenly and efficiently as water molecules warm up.
3.Is Microwave Cooking Safe?
Your microwave User Guide is the starting point to ensure you are perfectly clear regarding its safe operation. Based on the Genius Sensor Panasonic 1250w microwave User Guide for example, paper bag popcorn is safe as long as it includes no metal parts: microwaving metal may cause arcing and damage your oven.
And though glass jars are generally not heat resistant, some microwavable glassware and ceramics are, making them ideal for this type of cooking and browning. But is styrofoam microwavable, you ask? Panasonic advises us that plastic foam will actually melt if foods reach a high temperature, though they can be used to reheat foods to a low serving temperature only.
Disposable polyester paperboard dishes are safe, but not frozen dinner trays or fast food cartons with metal – but did you know that brown paper bags may cause a fire in the oven? Again, guidelines vary with each make and model, which is why it is important to consult your User Guide for safety in order to avoid unwittingly compromising the use of your microwave.
And by the way, you cannot ‘nuke’ your food in a microwave, as you would need radiation a million times more powerful than the heat energy used in a microwave oven which is actually similar to that of a traditional oven, but at a slightly different frequency.
Microwave cooking is definitely easier and faster, which is why most people have become really dependent on their microwave ovens.
4.Buying a Microwave Oven
While price is a consideration, you also need to assess the value you will be getting for years to come. And with electricity prices constantly going up, an energy efficient microwave will pay for itself in no time. Size will vary based on how many people you cook for and like to entertain.
Microwave ovens have evolved rapidly and now offer a variety of cooking methods, each with its own temperature and time settings, and even a handy Quick Defrost button. Find out about the best microwave ovens and what customers have to say, and don’t forget to check the warranty!
5.Cleaning Your Microwave
Keeping your oven clean and dry is crucial, as rusting or arcing may result from food residue and condensation and risk damaging your oven.
Using a mild detergent, wipe the interior of the oven with a damp cloth after every use; that will prevent stains from drying out and becoming hard to remove. Both glass tray and roller ring can be washed in warm soapy water or the dishwasher.
Also make sure to follow manufacturer’s directions regarding the various protective films both inside and outside your small oven.
Using dedicated microwave cookware and dishes is the safest way to make use of your microwave. Words to the wise: a microwave food cover is guaranteed to save you a lot of cleaning as microwaved food tends to splatter.Share This!