Microwave ovens heat by passing microwave radiation through food. Foods contain a given amount of water, fats, and sugars. Water, fats, and sugars absorb energy from the radiation and vibrate, creating heat. Water "works" better in a microwave oven than do fats, sugars, and ice. The interior of a microwave oven is built so that microwaves cannot escape out of the interior of the oven.
Microwave Ovens and Safety
When operating a microwave open, it is important to be aware of safe cooking practices. Because liquids reach temperatures that are a few degrees above their "normal" boiling point before they actually start to bubble, you may not realize how hot the liquids with which you are working actually are. Disturbing the food in your microwave can literally make liquids at this temperature explode. Therefore, handling or removing your food from your microwave oven can be hazardous. Never use aluminum foil in a microwave, as it can cause sparking. While this can look interesting, it is not a good thing. Microwave ovens can also heat unevenly. It is important to make sure that your food is evenly cooked or heated before serving.
Varieties of Microwave Ovens
There are a wide range of microwave ovens available today to suit many needs. Any microwave oven that you buy should have a turntable that is removable for safer cooking and easier cleaning, with a window large enough so that you can see inside your oven easily. Microwave ovens vary in power and size. The more watts that a microwave has, the more powerful it is. The more cubic feet your microwave oven has dedicated to cooking, the larger it will be.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Microwave Oven
When purchasing a microwave, you first have to decide exactly why you need one. Is this oven going to be used in a college dorm to cook small portions of food or pop popcorn? Then you should look for smaller microwave ovens which do not have a lot of power. If you plan on cooking "full meals" in your microwave oven, then you should not only look for a larger microwave oven that has more power, you might want to consider a combination of a microwave and convection oven.
Microwave Ovens: Space Factors and Other Options
Another consideration is the space that you have in your kitchen or room for your oven. Do you want a built-in microwave oven or a counter top oven? Finally, what kind of "extra" features would you like on your microwave oven? During the 1970s, when microwave ovens became popular, there were only a few temperature settings. Today, some ovens offer more than ten settings. Some microwave ovens offer sensor cooking controls which will automatically adjust the cooking times and power for the foods that you like the most. There are a lot of choices available when buying microwave ovens today.