The Mystery of the Microwave

March 22, 2013
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The microwave oven is one of the most widely used items in all kitchens, both commercial and residential, yet interestingly, its’ performance is one of the most misunderstood. So how does it actually work?

In a nutshell, a microwave oven takes electricity and converts it into invisible electromagnetic waves which move at the speed of light. These energetic microwaves then penetrate food (from 0.5 to 0.75 inches deep) and are absorbed by the fat and water molecules in your food. This causes the molecules to vibrate rapidly which in turn creates friction and heat. This heat is what warms or cooks your food.

Pretty cool, right? 

Here are some interesting facts and interesting microwave mythbusters:

  • Electricity is converted into microwaves by magnetron tubes, which were designed specifically for this purpose.
  • Metal reflects energy which is why the interior sides of a microwave oven cavity are made of metal
  • Contrary to popular belief, microwave ovens cook from the outside in- NOT the inside out.
  • So why do they cook so much faster than a conventional oven? Microwave ovens cook faster than conventional ovens because  when the microwaves penetrate food (0.5”-0.75” deep), there is more heat created in the outside portion of the food which then moves more quickly to warm/cook the inside.
  • Metal plates and aluminum foil should never be used with food in a microwave because the waves will deflect off preventing cooking. This could also result in potential overheating of the magnetron.
  • Standard microwave ovens don’t have the ability to brown food. To solve this issue, manufacturers have introduced combination convection/microwave ovens which utilize dry heat and air plus speed to produce cook times up to 80% faster than a traditional convection oven.

 

Mission Restaurant Supply has a quality assortment of both standard and combination Microwave Ovens by manufacturers like Amana and Panasonic. Have questions on which oven is the right investment for your business or home? Call us at 800-319-0690 and let our sales team help you make the right choice!

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