The microwave oven was invented in 1947 and is one of the most popular inventions of the 20th century; over 90 percent of homes in America have at least one. Microwaves are easy and convenient to use for cooking meals, preparing frozen foods, and reheating leftovers. However, it’s important to remember that microwaves differ greatly from conventional ovens. Here are some facts and tips from food scientists and IFT spokesperson, Kantha Shelke, PhD, that will help you make the most out of your microwaving experience.
WHAT TYPES OF COOKWARE ARE MICROWAVEABLE? WHAT TYPES ARE NOT?
Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics that are safe to use usually will be labeled for microwave oven use. Containers and dishes that display a microwave-safe icon or that read “microwave safe”, mean that they’ve been approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in microwave ovens. Other plastic containers may cause chemicals to leak out of the plastic into your food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) recommends the following when determining the type of container to use in your microwave:
Use with Caution
HOW DOES A MICROWAVE WORK?
Microwave ovens convert ordinary electric power into short waves that cause water, fat, and sugar molecules to vibrate approximately 2.5 million times per second, which result in high temperatures that cook food. Dr. Shelke recommends the following tips for making sure the food you cook in the microwave is heated evenly and safely.
HOW HOT IS HOT?
USDA FSIS recommends using a food thermometer when cooking certain foods. This also ensures the food is cooked safely, evenly, and thoroughly. Here are recommendations for heating the following:
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