COOKWARE FOR MICROWAVES
Having bought a microwave oven and having mastered at first only the mode of 100% heating of food in special dishes, the owner after some time enters into taste, begins to experiment and once heats porridge in a cardboard bag from under the milk.
Plastic utensils that can withstand a range of temperatures from.microwaveable from 40o to 140o C, so it’s good to put in the oven with the contents straight from the fridge. It is possible to heat and cook food in these containers only in microwave mode. Use the lid (
Refractory glassware. It is best suited for cooking in combination microwave ovens because it can be used in all modes.
Thin Styrofoam cups and containers are suitable for rapid microwave cooking.
The paper lid of a soup glass is recommended to be half-opened, filled with water, covered with the same lid and placed in the oven for 3 minutes at 100% power.
For microwave ovens sold transparent foil made of polypropylene, which can withstand temperatures up to 160oC. The special microspore structure ensures self-adjusting steam pressure and proper heating humidity to keep food from drying out, and
It is customary to begin mastering the microwave oven by boiling water in a standard cut glass glass like the carbonated water sold in the stagnant days. A modern variant of a cut crystal glass made of more clear glass will do as well. Or even the glass which used to be used for tea drinking in a silver cup holder or the one your grandma used for making tea cakes and carving mugs out of pastry. Even if you have no such antiques, you can buy such a glass in the crockery department of any store. This glass will serve as a reference for choosing the right glassware (any glassware that is as transparent as possible to the microwaves will do).
Fill a glass with water and place it inside or next to the item you want to test. Turn the oven on at 100% power for 1 minute.
The water in the glass should be warm during this time. If the cookware to be tested is barely warm, then it is suitable for microwave use. Very hot cookware is not usually suitable for microwaves. Because when it heats up, it absorbs some microwave energy and foods will take longer to cook in it. And heating plastic dishes. This is a signal that it will melt if used for a longer period of time.
It is very important that there are no gold or silver rims, piping, or monograms on dishes to be used in a microwave oven. Of course, this is neither gold nor silver, it’s paint, but it contains metal and therefore conducts electricity. And if you put such a dish in the oven by mistake you will be struck by the sight of electric discharge moving along the rim and accompanied by a loud alarming crackle. Most of the microwave energy is used for the spectacular electric glow and evaporation of metallic paint, and not for the cooking of the dish you want to cook. And it might damage the oven. After a few of these sessions (if you’re forgetful) your beautiful gold rimmed or silver monogrammed crockery will be shabby. But you’ll learn the first rule once and for all: You can’t use objects that conduct electricity in microwave mode.
And not only does gold and silver paint on glass and faora conduct current, but also any metal utensils, metal lids, staples in food packaging, foil, and so on. And it’s not just because of the unwanted electrical discharges, but primarily because of the shielding properties of metal. Microwaves simply can not penetrate the food placed in metal dishes, and the dish you want to cook will never happen.
METAL DISHES IN THE MICROWAVE
As already mentioned, metal cookware cannot be used in the microwave. But a rule wouldn’t be a real rule if it didn’t have exceptions.
For example, there are a wide range of ready-to-cook meals or ready-to-eat meals in single-use aluminum containers. It says it all in black and white that these dishes can be defrosted, heated, microwaved, and cooked right in the package. But note that the height of such aluminum packages does not exceed two or three centimeters. And if you remove the aluminum foil cover and place the package on the oven turntable, most of the microwaves filling the chamber will reach the food there and do their work. True, it takes longer to heat food in a single aluminum cookware because it doesn’t use all the energy. But sometimes it’s convenient and justified. Just make sure that the aluminum package does not touch the walls of the chamber anywhere when you rotate the tray, otherwise you will see fireworks of periodic electric discharges.
Cooking in disposable aluminum foil cookware can be greatly accelerated if you place it in a glass bowl, where you add a little water to cover the bottom of the aluminum container by about half a centimeter. This allows the bottom to heat evenly.
Now all that’s left to say is that you can also cook in a metal dish without a lid in the microwave oven ! There is no contradiction. We were told that metal can’t be used in the microwave oven. But in fact, in addition to it in modern microwave ovens there are modes of grilling, convection, as well as combinations of these modes. They are allowed to use shallow metal utensils, they are, of course, heated, experiencing the developing high temperatures. It makes no sense to turn on the microwave mode since it does not accelerate the cooking process in any appreciable way.
Completely unsuitable for microwave cookware made of melamine. A beautiful white dish, very similar to the faora dish, but you can immediately tell it apart by the way you hold it in your hands: it is very light. Not even worth testing.
Some kinds of ceramic cookware also fail the transparency test. The thing is that ceramics, as a rule, contain metals. For example, dark brown or black ceramic coffee cups, when microwaved, can get so hot that the cup is impossible to hold. Coffee is rare.
And do not even try to test in the oven crystal glasses and crystal salad bowls, vases. To the eye, crystal is perfectly transparent, but microwaves “consider” otherwise. In the composition of real crystal is sure to contain lead, and even silver. In addition, the wall thickness of cut crystal is not uniform. Because of its metal content, crystal heats up quickly by microwaves, and because of the cut, this heating is uneven. As a result, your favorite crystal placed in a working microwave oven, can suddenly shatter to pieces. Temptation to serve, for example, a tasty jam made of grated apple with honey and lemon in a crystal vase and cooked in the oven for 5-6 minutes is great, but it would be wiser to do it in a simple glass dish. And more practical.
How the microwave oven works
In order to understand what kind of dishes can and can not be sent to the microwave, it is important to understand how the microwave oven works. To begin with, it should be noted that all the work of this household appliance is based on the interaction with water molecules, a large number of which are present in the composition of any product.
The laws of physics play an important role in microwave cooking. As they move, water molecules collide with each other. Thanks to this chaotic motion, the heat is released.
However, despite such physical processes scientifically proven, the microwave oven is not able to spread the heat inside the food; it only heats the edges. After that another principle comes into work. the principle of heat conduction, thanks to which the heat that appeared on the edges of the product is distributed to the central part of its structure.
That is why you should microwave foods for a long time at medium power, but not for a short time at the highest setting.
What kind of plastic can be used in the microwave?
There is a wide range of containers made of different kinds of food-grade polymeric materials. Each has its own purpose and suitability. To make the right choice, you should be careful: examine the product carefully and find the necessary information from the manufacturer (letter code).
If you can read the PP code on the surface (usually on the bottom) of the container, it means it is made of polypropylene. It is very elastic and ensures safety when used in microwave ovens. Polyamide plastic is also available.
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IMPORTANT! If the label PS-polystyrene is indicated, then this utensil is not intended for microwave ovens. Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is also unsuitable, as is polyethylene, which emits an unpleasant odor when heated and can melt.
Keep in mind that PS containers are only safe for storing cold foods or water.
Movable removable tray design in the microwave oven
The microwave tray plays a very important role. When the device works, it independently rotates, respectively, you do not need to regularly change the location of dishes with food to thoroughly reheat. This design is very convenient, especially when you need to quickly reheat breakfast or snack. Glass trays have different diameters, so it is better to choose them, having a part. However, such trays can easily fail for various reasons. In such a case, only a suitable design, corresponding to a particular model of microwave oven, will be an alternative replacement.
No matter what happens to your microwave tray, you can always get a new one. To do this, you need to know a few parameters, this will help the consultant to show you an alternative.
- The first thing you should know, or better yet write down before going to the store, is the brand name and model of your microwave. With this data, the selection is made in a matter of minutes.
- If you can’t find the design you need, you can buy a universal glass version, but you need to know the diameter. Often the value is 245-360 mm. When you can not do this, use a normal ruler and measure the length from the mounting pad to the outside edge of the landing chamber, as shown in the photo. Be careful when measuring, even the slightest error will make the difference!
- The presence of additional holes or protrusions on the plate is no less important. And the larger the diameter of the dish, the wider the distance between the structural features of the pan.
- Pay attention to the torque device in the microwave. It can be traditional (cooler) or with the installation of a torsion cross. In that case you need to know the diameter of the seat and the diameter of the cross.
NOTE! There is always a risk of making the wrong choice. Therefore, to avoid mistakes, it is better to show the microwave oven to specialists, who will analyze the condition of your tray, which is out of order and will give accurate recommendations for its purchase.
What to replace the pan if you can’t find the right model
Defrosting meat, dough, vegetables in the microwave is better to perform in a container with an open lid. Often microwave owners are faced with a problem when they can not find a pan of the right model on sale.
In this case, you can make a detail yourself. For this accessory you will need an old glass dish of large diameter (corresponding to the landing place). Be sure to make a hole in the center and grind the bottom with emery paper. Insert a homemade sleeve of heat-resistant plastic into the hole and put the tray on top.
Earlier we looked at dishes that are suitable for use in a microwave oven. But it remains to find out what kind of container can not be used in the microwave. This is very important because the wrong cookware can damage the appliance and cause a fire and serious fire.
Certain cookware is strictly prohibited and must not be used in the microwave oven.
- Metal. Do not put any iron objects into the microwave, because metal reflects the microwaves. This can cause sparks and electrical discharge, which can cause open flames.
- Aluminum. Just like the iron objects, aluminum cookware is not safe because it, too, can cause a fire in a matter of minutes.
- Crystal. This material is very beautiful, but it is composed of lead, silver and other metals that can adversely affect the operation of the household appliance.
- With a pattern, pattern. In the past, it was popular to put different metallic patterns or coatings on the dishes. Probably, many still have at home such products, but put them in the microwave and exposed to high temperatures can not. The risk is certainly not forbidden, but the consequences can be disastrous. At best, you get a spoiled product or a cracked plate, at worst. just break the device.
Remember: it is not safe to use in the oven forms made of foil, foil itself, disposable utensils, for the manufacture of which the cheapest and low-quality plastic is used. Thin glass is also dangerous, as it is not likely to withstand the microwaves. Also you should not put in the oven untreated ceramics.
When buying cookware for future use in the microwave, do not try to save money, it is best to give preference to a quality and reliable manufacturer, even if its products will cost more.
What happens to dishes in the microwave
The main function of the oven is to heat food quickly. But in some cases the unexpected happens: the loaded containers become hot.
Let’s understand together why the microwave heats the dishes and not the food?
If you remember your high school physics lessons, we can easily explain everything.
This is a different process than reheating food over an open fire. Microwaves play a heating role here, affecting only the water molecules. They travel on a waveguide with metal walls that reflect magnetic radiation.
Moving inside the device, the waves chaotically accelerate the movement of the liquid. Temperature release process begins. This heat is transferred to the container. A bowl that is not suitable for microwave use becomes warm.
IMPORTANT. If you find a hot plate in the microwave instead of hot food, it is not suitable for the device.
Which ovenware is suitable for the microwave?
After selecting all of the available ones that are approved for microwave use and assessing your needs, especially if you are not only heating but also cooking in the oven, go shopping.
The badge on the crockery
How to choose which one you can use in the microwave? Pay attention to the one made of the right material, and then look at the marking. If there is a corresponding icon, take it. Or consult a retailer. If you’re not sure, don’t buy it.
And the shape does matter
It is better to use an oval or cylindrical shape. Although there are square and rectangular specially for microwave, but, as practice shows, cooking in such a fraught with drying (burning) in the corners, because there is a concentration of energy.
Cooking in the oven is always a small volume, so choose containers that are not deep but wide enough. It’s good for even cooking.
But for groats and pasta it is better to use a large, capacious with the expansion to the top.
For baking, it’s better to have portioned or tall ones, since baking in the microwave rises much higher than in the oven.
Microwave cookware: glass
Is it possible to put glass in the microwave? Certainly. This is not only the most popular, but also the best. This includes both vitreous ceramics and sitall. Glass transmits waves perfectly, so cooking is uniform and minimal in time. Also, you can see what happens to the food. So if you decide to get a new one, then opt for glass.
Advice: do not use thin glass and crystal products, pay attention to the presence of cracks, chips, bubbles to avoid them splitting.
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Clay pots are very good for cooking in the oven. It heats minimally if there are no specific additives, so it is good to use as a serving dish, in which both cook and serve.
Watch the condition of the glaze on the ceramics, it should not be in cracks. Washing them gets water in them, which, when heated in the oven, can cause splitting. And do not moisten the ceramic container with water, even if you cook without liquid.
Thin fahor without metallic decorations are mostly used for heating and serving. Only need to keep in mind that it gets hot from the heated product, so when taking out, use oven gloves.
Faorovaya is not suitable for “hot air” and “grill” modes, and their combinations.
Not all plastic dishes are suitable for microwave use. One that tolerates high temperatures (140-250 degrees) is allowed. Do not forget to look at the markings.
Please note that polyamide and polypropylene are legal, PVC and polystyrene are not, and be careful with polyethylene containers.
Plastic containers are not suitable for cooking dishes whose recipes contain fat and sugar, which heat up to temperatures that cause the plastic to melt.
Disposable and paper
Disposable utensils made of plastic are not suitable. Usually made with very thin sides and can become deformed when exposed to high temperatures. You can only use heat-resistant. Also not good with waxed cardboard.
Those who buy convenience foods are familiar with heat-resistant paper (and cardboard) molds for microwave cooking. Mostly in such a container sold ready-made products, which only need to defrost or reheat.
Tip: Check, especially solid packages, check for the aluminum layer, which when heated will cause combustion of paper and you are guaranteed a fire.
Silicone utensils, wooden utensils
The silicone form is suitable for the microwave, with its help you can make beautiful baked goods, easy and simple baking and stewing.
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No one is likely to cook in a wooden one, and reheating is not recommended by some manufacturers because of the danger of charring. If you can, it is short-term, for example for making a hot sandwich and not to deal with foods containing large amounts of sugar and fat. Exposure to high temperatures will lead to gradual drying of wooden products.
Separate mention should be made of bamboo. Manufacturers also do not recommend putting it in the microwave. To know for sure, look at the labeling. If you don’t have the proper labels, don’t take any chances.
Features of plastic cookware for microwave ovens
The first thing to remember is that plastic has many types. Including food-grade plastic. Some of these types of plastic can withstand heat up to 100°C or more. Some immediately begin to melt as soon as the temperature rises just a little.
Materials such as polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene are not meant to be heated in any way. This is why it is forbidden to put in the microwave oven:
Polyamides and polypropylene are suitable for microwave use. They are the ones used to make the food containers in which you take your food with you. When you buy such a specific product, then you should pay attention to the fact that there was a sign “suitable for microwaves. But not only.
IMPORTANT! The country of origin is also very important in this particular case. The lion’s share of plastic dishes come to Europe from the Celestial Empire. And we have to admit that its quality, as a rule, leaves much to be desired.
Even in the case where the sudo-check does not melt, it will be affected by heat and electromagnetic radiation in such a way that harmful substances will be released from it. For example, phthalates. As you know, if they get into the food, they make it dangerous to health.
The main rule of the user is this: choose plastic dishes from trusted brands.
A special talk about temperature. Plastic products always indicate how much heat they can withstand. In the case where the maximum possible values are exceeded by at least a few degrees, the material begins to melt. And after that you can’t use it for its intended purpose.
IMPORTANT! It’s very easy to ruin a container if you cook something sweet or greasy in it. Then the sugar crystals will turn into caramel. They can be heated up to 188°C. And the oil starts boiling at 160-270°C.
It is not only the quality of ovenware that matters, but also the shape and size. It’s best to cook in pots with round edges. Food is heated evenly in it.
Square and rectangular dishes can be used, but attention must be paid to the risk of overheating in the corners because of the high concentration of energy.
Cookware that is wide and shallow heats and cooks food faster and better.
In order to cook some dishes, such as soup, you need a deep and extended to the top utensil. This is necessary because when boiling, food can spill out and the widened edges will save you from this.
- Cylindrical dishes are great for making muffins and biscuits. But it must be higher than the oven lid.
- When heating and cooking in the microwave, it is recommended to use a special lid. This is to prevent the food from drying out. The lid also helps speed up the cooking process and will make the food much more tender.
- The lid should be labeled and transparent so that microwaves can pass through it better. It should have a hole so that the steam escapes. The lid protects against splashing and grease on the walls of the microwave. This keeps the microwave cleaner for much longer.
Now we know what type of cookware you can and cannot use in the microwave. If cookware is chosen correctly, it can last for many years. It’s good for both technology and food.
Therefore, you should, before using the cookware in an electric appliance, check the labeling and make sure that it is suitable for cooking.
Now you can start cooking different dishes and please your dear ones.