Microwave ovens have been called the greatest invention of the 20thcentury. Millions of homes have them now, alongside refrigerators and stoves - they’ve been in kitchen since the 1970’s.
Microwave ovens are quick, convenient and economical. Because they only heat up the food, cooking time is faster but dishes still stay relatively cool.
Microwaves are radio waves that have a frequency of roughly 2500 megahertz (2.5 gigahertz). These waves are absorbed by water, sugar and animal fat, and are converted into atomic motion, or in other words, heat.
Although they are commonly absorbed by some substances, microwaves are not absorbed by glass or ceramic. That is why you can boil water in your cup without it becoming hot or cook a meal on the same plate you will eat off of. Metal, including tin foil, is one substance that should not be put in the microwave, as it reflects the waves and can damage the machine. There is currently some debate about how safe it is to use plastic containers in the microwave.
Conventional ovens cook food from the outside in. Heat is formed around the food and the warm air must penetrate the food in order to cook it all the way through. The air surrounding the food is warm and dry, which gives food a crispy outer layer (think of baking bread). Bread machines are a great option if you want to make bread and don't have an oven.
Microwaves cook food in a different way than conventional ovens, in that they cook food from the inside out - or rather, because the molecules in water, fat and sugar are all excited simultaneously (both on the inside and the outside of the food) the food cooks on all layers at the same time. The air surrounding the food remains the same temperature as the room, which means that bread cooked in a microwave would not form a crust.
Microwaves sit on top of most kitchen countertops or they can be mounted inside your kitchen cabinets. This second option keeps your countertop tidy and leaves you with more workspace.
Because of this, microwaves have yet completely replace conventional ovens. After all, people love crusty bread that is moist on the inside - no one wants to eat soggy food, no matter how little time it takes to cook it!
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