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Using a microwave oven involves the following steps – plug the appliance in and choose the desired settings, place food in a microwave-safe container, place the container into the microwave, close the door, and press start.
Microwave ovens are one of the most common small appliances and can be found in over 85% of households in America. If you would like to learn more about how to work a microwave oven and microwave oven use, refer to our detailed guide below.
1. Make Sure The Microwave In Plugged In
The first step to using a microwave is to make sure the appliance is plugged into an appropriate outlet. When choosing which outlet to use, there are several factors to take into consideration.
First off, the average microwave oven has a circuit that’s rated at 120 volts and 20 amps, meaning it should get its dedicated outlet. It should not share an outlet with other high-energy appliances like a toaster or a blender.
Plugging a microwave oven into a 15 amp outlet can cause electrical wires to overheat and present a fire hazard. Moreover, it’s recommended that microwave ovens be used with outlets that are protected by a 15 – 20 amp circuit breaker.
2. Place Food In A Microwave Safe Container
Some types of containers and cookware are not microwave oven safe. For example, metal containers and aluminum foil should never be placed in the microwave. When they are, the electromagnetic waves produced by the microwave can cause the metal to spark, a process that can cause damage to the inside of your microwave.
Likewise, most plastic containers should also be avoided. When heated, many types of plastics release BPA and Phthalates into your food, both of which are known to cause cancer.
Most paper materials should also be avoided as they can release toxins and even produce high amounts of smoke when subjected to electromagnetic rays.
Of all available materials, glassware is the safest to use in a microwave oven. Not only is glass non-reactive with electromagnetic radiation, but the material doesn’t include any nasty chemicals that can leach into your food.
3. Choose The Appropriate Setting
Microwave ovens come with a host of pre-set functions that make the appliance easy to use. The most common pre-set function is auto-defrost, which when selected, will automatically defrost the frozen food based on how much it weighs.
Other popular pre-set functions include popcorn, pizza, leftovers, and more. Of course, microwave ovens can also be set to run for a specific amount of time. To do so, simply enter the desired duration using the number pad, select the intensity setting (low, medium, or high), and hit start.
4. Press Start
Now that you’ve selected the right setting, the only thing left to do is hit start and wait for the process to end. When heating food in a container, it’s a good idea to remove the lid or leave it slightly ajar to allow heat to escape.
It’s also recommended that you don’t stand directly in front of the microwave while it’s operating as there are some concerns regarding long-term exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
What Should You Know Before Using A Microwave Oven
What is a microwave over? A microwave oven is a small kitchen appliance used to quickly reheat leftovers and defrost frozen food. The appliance uses electromagnetic radiation to excite water molecules in organic matter, causing them to vibrate at a higher rate. This increased vibration results in a release of heat, which in turn, heats up the food.
In some ways, a microwave can be thought of as an electric oven. The average microwave oven comes with a total capacity of 1.2 Cu Feet, and measures 20” x 17” x 13”. Nearly all models feature a glass plate that rotates while the microwave is in use. This rotation helps provide an even reheat and aids in the circulation and removal of hot air.
The average rated voltage is 120V and 60HZ and the standard microwave oven comes with 1200 watts. That said, larger models do exist and wattage as high as 1500 is not uncommon.
What Are The Stages Of Using A Microwave Oven?
Using a microwave oven can be broken down into three main steps:
- Make sure the microwave is plugged in and all food you wish to reheat is stored in a microwave-safe container.
- Place food into the microwave and choose the appropriate setting.
- Press start and wait for the process to finish.
Does The Microwave Oven Types Affect The Usage Stages?
No, the type of microwave oven doesn’t affect the usage stages. No matter what make or model you have, all microwave ovens work the same.
However, some of the best microwave ovens come with over 15 different pre-set settings which may change how you use the appliance.
Is A Microwave Oven Better For Food Than A Convection Oven?
Yes, a microwave oven is better for food than a convection oven. The main reason for this is that convection ovens can’t be used to defrost frozen foods. Additionally, convection ovens take longer to heat up and you can’t place glass or plastic containers inside.
That said, convection ovens are better when it comes to cooking raw foods, and everything from steak to canalones can be cooked in a convection oven. By contrast, microwaves are only suitable for reheating food and are not used for cooking.
When it comes to the question of microwave oven vs convection oven for reheating cold or frozen foods, the microwave oven is the clear winner.
Is Using A Microwave Oven For Bread Better Than Using A Toaster?
No, using a microwave oven for bread is not better than using a toaster. Because of the way microwave ovens work, they can’t toast bread. If you put bread in a microwave oven for an extended period, the end result will be a soggy mess.
For toasting bread, a proper toaster or a convection oven is required. That said, bread can be reheated in a microwave so long as the amount of time is kept to a minimum.
Is A Commercial Microwave Oven Better Than A Combination Oven For French Fries?
No, a commercial microwave oven is not better than a combination oven for french fries. Combination ovens use a mix of convection heat and steam to cook food. By contrast, microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation.
Cooking french fries involves frying them in oil. In a microwave oven, the temperature is never hot enough to bring the oil to a boil. By contrast, combination microwaves are able to reach temperatures far above the boiling point of water, meaning they work well for frying french fries.
In some cases, a microwave often can be used to defrost frozen french fries before cooking them in a combination or standard convection oven. To do this, place the french fries on a microwave-safe plate, load the plate into the microwave, and hit the defrost function.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t matter what kind of microwave oven you’re using, all types of microwave ovens are unsuitable for frying french fries.
How To Use A Microwave Oven For Uses Besides Heating Leftovers
Microwave ovens have a variety of uses and are a very versatile small kitchen appliance. To learn more about the uses of microwave ovens, refer to the sections below.
How To Use A Microwave Oven As A Cookie Baker
To use a microwave oven as a cookie maker, start by buying pre-made cookie dough from the grocery store and making one or two cookie-shaped discs. Place the raw dough onto a microwave safe plate and load it into the microwave.
Most cookies will take 40 seconds to one minute to cook. The downside of using a microwave as a cookie baker is that only one or two cookies can be made at once.
How To Use A Microwave Oven As A Pizza Baker
To cook a pizza in a microwave oven, place it on a microwave safe plate and set the timer to 5 minutes. While you can make pizza in a microwave oven, it’s not recommended as the pizza won’t come out crisp and well cooked.
Moreover, a microwave oven won’t produce any of the browning that many pizza lovers enjoy. Still, if you’re in a jam, a microwave can be used to cook a pre-made or frozen pizza.
How To Use A Microwave Oven As A Dehydrator
To use a microwave as a dehydrator, cut fruits or vegetables into thin strips and place them in the microwave. Once cut, set the timer to 15 minutes a press start. Check up on the slices at the 5 minute mark and adjust the timer accordingly.