Microwaves and Combination Ovens @ Comet
Microwaves - A Buyer's Guide
Microwaves, in the form of microwave and combination ovens, have revolutionised the way we cook food over the last 20 years. With today's busy lifestyles, they have enabled us to prepare food in much less time than using traditional cooking methods.
There are three different types of microwave oven, which are:
Not only can microwaves save you time, but they are environmentally friendly as they use up less energy than traditional cookers. It is also possible to cut down on washing up, as meals can be cooked or reheated on the plates from which they will be eaten.
What size of microwave should I buy?
A standardly sized microwave has a volume of about 20-22l, whereas a "family sized" microwave will have a volume or around 26l. Provided you can fit a standard sized plate into the microwave, it should be sufficient for the normal cooking and reheating on a single plate. However, if you are wanting to cook for the entire family, then you would be better off with one of the larger models.
How much power does it need to have?
The higher the power, the faster the food will cook. In addition, remember that if you are cooking larger quantities of food such as in a family sized oven, this will increase the power requirements further (cooking time is dependent on the amount of food being cooked, unlike a conventional oven.) You should in general buy an oven with the highest power you can afford, and not less than 800W for a compact size or 900W for a family size.
Should I get a microwave with a turntable?
Yes, this is a good idea as it will help to ensure that the food is cooked more evenly and you will be less likely to experience "hot spots".
What other features are available?
Some microwaves come equipped with features such as "multiple-sequence cooking". The computer within the microwave changes the power during the defrosting and subsequent cooking of your meal.
Take care when cooking and reheating meat and poultry - "cold spots" can allow bacteria such as Listeria to survive. Make sure food is cooked and / or heated thoroughly. It is easier to do this if the food is evenly distributed on a covered plate - add water if necessary - if covering with cling film, prick holes in the film to allow the water vapour to escape. Stir the food in the middle of the cooking period, even if you have a turntable, to eliminate cold spots.
Only use microwave safe cookware in the microwave.
Be very careful if you heat any liquids, such as milk or water, in a glass in the microwave. Drinks may not appear to have been overheated, but when the surface tension of the liquid is broken, as you lift it out of the microwave, the boiling contents can explode in your face. To prevent liquids from overheating and becoming "superheated", do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup. Let the cup stand for a further thirty seconds before moving or adding anything to it. (See this video of how injury can occur if this advice is not heeded).
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