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BY GEORGE: Myths of Microwaving
Submitted by George Elliott on Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:18am.
There sure is a lot of misinformation about what microwaves can and can’t do, as well as some myths that seem so well grounded over the years, that it’s hard to convince people of the shear untruth to some of these.
Let’s start with the unfortunate label microwaving earned in back-office chat: “nuking.” This one is so bizarre that it’s laughable. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy that causes water molecules in food to vibrate and rapidly produce heat. That’s it folks: vibrations causing heat. No nuclear reactions here. No mini power plant in your kitchen, nor is it a mini version our sun.
And contrary to a rather popular inaccurate belief, food DOES NOT cook from the inside out. The surface of the food (closest to theMicrowaves also are not leaking from the microwave unless you have a damage seal or a very, very old machine, which increases the possibility you have a compromised seal and latch. O.K., even if a little gets out, the allowable amount is way, way below allowable amounts that could cause harm.
Microwaves also are not leaking from the microwave unless you have a damage seal or a very, very old machine, which increases the possibility you have a compromised seal and latch. O.K., even if a little gets out, the allowable amount is way, way below allowable amounts that could cause harm.
All foods loose some nutrients in cooking, but they lose by far the least in a microwave. Cooking time is very short, plus, if you’re comparing to boiling food, many vitamin and nutrients are lost into the hot water. As a matter of fact, some nutrients are made “more available” to your body if heated.
It’s best to use microwave safe dishes and containers to cook in. A regular plate can heat up very quickly, and become hot enough to burn you. Parchment paper, wax paper, paper plate, white paper towels and oven cooking bags are safe, but do not use newspaper, brown bags or recycled paper. And remember to always avoid plastic containers food comes in, like yogurt and margarine, as well as plastic grocery and storage bags. And by the way, the microwave frozen dinners…containers are meant to be used only once. And never use any type of plastic or foam to cover food unless it is stated as microwave safe. Chemical leaching can occur.
Microwaves bounce off metal objects and could damage the microwave. The microwave won’t blow up, but sparks can damage the interior and the seals. Small fires can ignite as well. The worst type of metal to put in a microwave are the thin metals that line some regular dishes and glasses.
Microwaves cook unevenly, so make sure you rotate and/or mix food. But, be careful, temperature ranges can be significant, from warm to very hot. Also, let food stand after removing. The heat being conducted through the food actually continues to warm the food upon removal from the microwave. This can continue for a few minutes.
Believe it or not, some foods with a high concentration of minerals could also cause arcing and sparks. Food can also explode if it has a tight skin. Think potatoes, whole squash, sausage, hot dogs, etc. Puncture or cut these foods before placing in the microwave.
And lastly, microwaves are very energy efficient and convey absolutely no dangerous compounds to food.
By: George Elliott