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Understanding Benefits Of Microwave Cooking

Updated on April 17, 2013

Microwave Cooking

Understanding Benefits Of Microwave Cooking

Today almost every home has a microwave oven that is used frequently to thaw, reheat, and cook food. It is efficient, cost effective, and convenient. However, some people are still cautious using this appliance as they do not understand the principles and advantages of microwave cooking.


History

The principle behind the microwave oven was discovered by accident in 1945 by scientists working to improve radar transmitters developed during World War II. A pocket messed up with a melting chocolate bar alerted a scientist to the unintended consequences of his work on an active radar set. Inquisitiveness led to further experimentation with popcorn being the first food to be deliberately microwaved.

A microwave oven was soon placed in a Boston restaurant for testing. This first unit was almost six feet tall, and weighed around 750 pounds. More efficient, low cost units appeared in the late 1960s, and their popularity has grown since then.


How Microwave Ovens Work

Even today, many people using a microwave refer to "nuking" their food. This is not correct because there is no nuclear energy involved. Microwaves are electronically generated, and are a form of electromagnetic radio frequency energy. No radioactive sources are involved, and food does not become radioactive. The microwaves used are referred to as non-ionizing, meaning that there is no associated cancer risk.

It is the actual microwaves that do the work. When they are directed into food, they make the food molecules rotate quickly. It is the friction among rotating molecules that causes the temperature of the food to rise quickly. This heat cooks, thaws or reheats the food.


Benefits of Microwave Cooking

Everybody is aware of the speed and convenience of using a microwave. But there are many other benefits of this technology:

• the microwave oven has an electrical efficiency of 65%, making it the most environmentally friendly method of cooking smaller meals

• the microwave oven heats foods but does not get hot itself, so the risk of burns is greatly reduced

• the chemical components of the foods are not changed to form new compounds

• the lower temperature of cooking in the microwave means there is less formation of carcinogenic tars

• microwave cooking does not change the nutritional content of foods any more than conventional cooking

• a shorter preparation time in the microwave usually means a better retention of nutrients

• cooking water is not needed, preventing nutrients from leaching into the water

• a rotating turntable helps prevent hotspots, cooking the food evenly

When used properly, microwave cooking does provide nutritional benefits as well as convenience and speed.


Cautions

As with any kitchen appliance, there are cautions and approaches for the best use of microwave cooking:

• microwave safe food wraps and containers must be used

• manufacturer's instructions will list power levels to be used for different kinds of food and methods of cooking, so that cooking occurs evenly

• encased foods such as eggs and sausages can explode

• as with any heating source, products that are heated for too long can catch fire

• heating liquids without stirring can result in explosive boiling

• metals including foil will create an electric arc or sparking when heated, so cannot be placed in the microwave

Remembering safety tips will quickly become second nature, and microwave cooking will easily become a routine approach to food preparation.

Microwave Information

Great Resource for information on microwaves at microwaveinformation.com!!!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Trapti Jain 

      3 years ago

      nice info...till now i have heard only disadvantages of microwave so i was scared to use the oven.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      5 years ago from Philippine

      surely it helps a lot.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      chessnewbie01 

      5 years ago

      Thanks PaoloJpm!!! I try to put out useful information to people about microwaves and help them realize the different benefits of them.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 

      5 years ago from Philippine

      Useful! never knew some of its benefits before.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      chessnewbie01 

      5 years ago

      Thanks Kasman!!! Glad I helped give you some information.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 

      5 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Very good information. I didn't know a few things about the microwave such as the radiation info. I actually learned something from this, voting up and sharing.

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