Microwave oven – Introduction
There was a time when refrigerators (or fridge) and a mixer were the only appliances present in one’s kitchen. This is slowly changing and the latest buzz word in Indian homes is “Microwave Oven”.
It has been there in our market for over a decade now. But with the prices coming down and the buying power of middle class families increasing, everyone wants to own one.
This article is just an introduction to this gadget. We will cover more on the brands, usage guides in the coming days.
To start with, a microwave oven is nothing but a heater which works on the principle of radiation. Inside the device is a small Magnetron which is the source of the microwave radiation. This wave is capable of penetrating solids and cause a heating action which results in food being cooked or heated.
Image Courtesy : www.panasonic.co.uk
What does the Microwave do to your food?
When one wants to (re)heat food or cook it, they simply open the door of the microwave and keep in the food inside. Then after closing the door, the select the setting from the available controls which includes time and heat levels.
Soon the microwave buzzes to life and as seen in most microwaves, the turntable inside starts to rotate. Your food is on top of this turning glass plate and it causes an even heating effect.
At the end of the preset time, the microwave stops and usually emits an audible sound for you to know that the cycle is over. That is it. Your food is ready (either heated up or cooked).
You may wonder – is it that simple? Yes it is. But as with lots of devices a microwave has its own share of pros and cons.
Understanding a Microwave
There could be two or more types of microwave ovens in the market. This classification would be based on the operating logic. There are
a) Mechanical switch based Microwave ovens &
b) Digital logic based Microwave ovens.
The former has usually 2 knobs. The timer knob is spring loaded and upon turning to a specific time value (e.g. 1 minute), it slowly starts to unwind to the “0” position mark. The knob is calibrated in such a manner that the time to unwind the spring matches the time marked on the dial.
Similarly we have the temperature setting knob, which is pretty much similar to the load selection knobs on old washing machines. The heat levels of microwave ovens are usually selectable in “watts”.
A more advanced version is the digital microwave where all operations are controlled by touch switches and all the settings are reflected by digital displays.
Based on the build of the microwave there are again two types:
a) Plastic body microwave and
b) Metal body microwave
What not to do in a Microwave oven
> Never keep anything metallic in nature inside the microwave. You would end up spoiling your microwave as metallic objects cause sparking effect within a microwave oven.
> Do not cook eggs as they can explode within the microwave.
> Do not fill containers to the brim and try to heat or cook them. They will boil over and stain your microwave’s interiors and it would be tough to clean them.
> Do not use too high or too low settings.
> Do not clean your microwave with solvents or acids.
> Do not try to repair it yourself. Always seek a professional help. Microwave is dangerous to humans if exposed for a prolonged period of time.
> Never ever try to put electronic items such as mobile phones inside a microwave to remove moisture. Microwave can cause irreversible damage to silicon chips.
How you can use your device effectively
> Read the manual prior to usage. Unlike other devices, the microwave manual can teach you lot of important details.
> Try reading some microwave cookbooks for new recipes.
> Clean with a soft cloth and mild soap water and keep it aerated to remove food odor.
Quick facts about Microwave
– Commonly used for reheating food and beverages
– Capacity is measured in litres (like refrigerators)
– Heating units are measures in Watts
– Can be used to cook food – but may require a different approach to cooking
– Consumes less oil than traditional cooking
– Nutrients are preserved in microwave cooking
– Not all types of food can be made in microwave. Examples include but are not limited to:
> Items which require deep frying like pappads – exception is Lijjat pappad
> Pizza – which would require a conventional oven
> Cake and other such items
Hope you found this introductory article useful. More on microwaves can be found here from wikipedia.
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