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  • Microwaving Tips

  • Microwave ovens are a fixture in millions of kitchens. The first commercial versions, enormous and costing thousands of dollars, hit the market in 1947. Today, many people can't imagine living without the convenience of microwave ovens because they work so quickly and efficiently, heating only the food or drink without heating the containers.

    How do they work? Microwaves are radio waves. Contrary to some reports, microwaves don't cook foods from the inside out. Microwaved foods typically retain more vitamins and minerals than cooking by other methods because cooking time is less, and little or no additional water is required.

    Microwave Precautions

    Like so many appliances, microwave ovens are safe when used properly, but when misused they present dangers: fire, radiation or bacterial infection due to uneven temperature control.

    Don't use a microwave oven:

    • To heat baby bottles. It doesn't allow for adequate temperature control.
    • To dry clothing. It can lead to fire.
    • With some plastics, such as margarine tubs. The plastic material can melt into and contaminate food.
    • If the door is damaged or doesn't close completely. An oven that doesn't close properly poses a radiation risk.
    • If there is rusting inside. Rust can be an indication of radiation leakage.

    Here are some tips to promote microwave safety

    • Stir liquids before heating and stir food midway through cooking.
    • Don't let plastic wrap touch food during heating.
    • Check food temperature before feeding it to a child.
    • A turntable promotes even heating.
    • Due to fire risk, don't leave a microwave oven unattended when it's making popcorn.
    • A microwave oven can be damaged if it's turned on while empty, because of the effects of unabsorbed energy.
    • Generally, don't use aluminum foil or metal pans made for conventional ovens. These reflect the mirowaves, which can cause uneven cooking or damage the oven.
    • Clean a microwave oven with water and mild detergent, not with abrasives such as scouring pads.
    • If you have a pacemaker, stay away from the oven while it's in use. Older models may be affected by proximity to a microwave oven.