Parts of every microwave oven are recyclable such as the metal and glass. When you get rid of your old microwave for a newer model, be sure to contact your town’s solid waste disposal bureau so that it is properly recycled (unless of course you are passing it on to a friend or family member in your own way of recycling).
Microwave ovens heat food by electromagnetic radiation. This process causes polarized molecules in the food to rotate and creates thermal energy which is called dielectric heating. This process makes food heat up fast and usually allows for food to be heated throughout (unless it is a very dense food).
The first microwave oven came after the second world war, invented by Perry Spencer using radar technology that had been developed during the war. It was called “radarange” and was not something small or affordable enough for home kitchens. Twenty years later, in 1967, countertop microwaves began being sold for households. They were still very expensive and only wealthy people had them at first, until the 70s when the price on production came down, making microwaves more affordable for average families.
Many modern microwaves are now built in over the cooktop range and have extractor hoods. Another common feature with newer microwaves is the convection microwave where a convection oven and a microwave oven are combined, allowing food to be quickly cooked but still come out browned and crispy. If you have ever tried to microwave pizza in a standard microwave, you’ll know why this is a helpful feature!
A microwave is obviously advantageous in the summertime if you don’t want to heat your home up with a hot oven to cook food. If you’re able to use the microwave, you can save on cooling costs, and quickly and efficiently cook your food.
Some people have been afraid to use microwaves, with the idea that microwave cooking reduces the nutrients in foods, because of a difference in the way the food is cooked and heated. This has been studied and found that if properly used, the microwave does not affect the nutrient content of foods, anymore than a stovetop or other cooking method. Obviously, any type of cooking done will reduce the food nutrients but a usual way to lose nutrients is into cooking water, such as boiling vegetables. You can avoid this by steaming your vegetables whether you do so in a microwave or on a cooktop. Different vegetables have been tested with varying results and findings.
We have all heard never to put metal objects into a microwave oven. This is because the metal itself acts as an antenna and creates an electric current. This is very dangerous, not just because of a potential fire, but from the resultant burned off chemicals. In general, children should not operate microwaves, as with any other type of cooktop unit, without adult supervision.
There are three main types of microwaves. We have gone over the countertop microwave which was the first residentially marketed product almost fifty years ago. The newer ones include the convection microwave oven typically over the range and the other type is a built in microwave which is essentially similar to the countertop except it is a built in cabinet appearance and gives the kitchen a more seamless look.
Obvious benefits to over the range units are the increased countertop space for cooking prep. This is important in smaller kitchens and can be a nice benefit.
Energy star rated products can be found in all models, and as with anything else the price can range greatly. The countertop models are cheapest, and can be found for as low as $100 or so and the combination microwave and convection ovens are more costly, going up to several hundred or a thousand dollars or more. They are available in different colors and finishes such as stainless steel, black, or white and more colors to match the motif of your kitchen and are also available in various sizes depending on your needs and the space you have.
Do your homework and get a nice microwave that is environmentally friendly, energy efficient and is the style you want for your budget.
Written By: Bob Jenkins
Budget My Build
P.O. Box 72987
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Office: (602) 579-9660
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