Talking with a complete stranger in a shop today, I thought to post this about microwaves to shed some light on the stigma of the “micro” and its “waves”. I wanted to explain that the microwave oven is not a real oven. Also contrary to popular belief, a microwave oven’s radiation does not cause cancer. The reason being is that it is not ionizing radiation such as x-rays and various types of cosmic radiation like ultraviolet light.
The idea of these macro waves is they operate on short distances so as long as you are not putting your head into the microwave you’ll be fine. If you compare the waves with those cosmic background radiation which are 50 times greater. The waves do not heat the air, the dish, the saran wrap or the walls of the oven. But metal objects should be avoided as they reflect and can cause damage to the magnetron.
Basically the microwave only heats up water and oil. The wave itself corresponds to the 2.4 GHz, the same GHz as a Bluetooth device. In fact it is safe to put a screen on your microwave because the waves are so long that they and reflect back into the oven.
In a micro wave small things take longer to heat than larger objects and heat conducts penetrate and only a few centimeters on solids. A microwave oven can be used to fry, defrost, melt, cook and dehydrate. The main problem with microwave ovens is they do not cook evenly as they heat from the outside in.
The best way to use a microwave is to sous vides the food, add the required liquid to cook the food in a water bath. Such tough vegetables as artichokes or fennel can be easily cooked in the microwave in several minutes.
When using a micro wave try to use 500+ watts and don’t dismiss it as every kitchen tool has its own and unique purpose.