Caring for your Microwave
Microwave ovens cook food by emitting microwaves, which are high-frequency electromagnetic waves. Directed into the oven cavity, microwaves cause the molecules in food to vibrate, which in turn creates friction resulting in heat. The heat produced by the molecular friction cooks the food from the inside out. Since microwaves are absorbed only by molecules inside the food, whose vibrations produce heat, and not by the surrounding air, the cooking and baking time is greatly reduced compared to other types of ovens.
Microwave ovens are easier to use than the conventional kitchen range for simple cooking tasks, such as heating leftovers, making popcorn, defrosting frozen foods and cooking pre-packaged meals. They also perform more quickly than the conventional kitchen range. However, foods are steamed, resulting in surfaces that are smooth, moist, and not crisp unless special accessories or packaging is used. Uneven heating is also common unless the food is stirred or rearranged occasionally, even if the microwave oven is equipped with a turntable.
Microwave ovens cook different types of foods at different rates. Moist foods cook faster than less moist ones. Microwaves cannot crisp foods on the outside and they cannot be used to cook foods in metal containers because metal blocks them out.
There are three basic types of microwave oven available on the market:
These heat only with microwaves and can be used for all sorts of everyday tasks such as defrosting, reheating and general cooking.
Microwave with a Grill
This is a microwave with a grilling option which allows you to brown and crisp food after you've cooked it.
This is a normal oven, which heats with microwaves and also by convection. (Convection - heat is supplied by an electric element and a fan that circulates heated air around the food, just as in an ordinary convection oven) This is a microwave, grill and convection oven rolled into one. In the convection mode, hot air is circulated through the oven cavity with the help of a fan, which bakes, browns and delivers crispy food.
Commercial and Domestic Models
A commercial model is used for fast food service, for dealing with large numbers of people and supporting business practices. It is often a higher wattage than domestic models and is built with the appropriate components to meet these requirements.
A domestic model will not endure such repetitive and demanding use and may not provide adequate heating performance as the components heat up. In addition, if a domestic model is used in a commercial environment the guarantee may not be valid.
Power output is the amount of microwave energy available to heat and cook food. It is usually described in Watts e.g. 700 Watt power output. The input is the total amount of watts used by the appliance to generate the microwave energy. The input is always more than the output.