I remember the days when we prepared foods without microwaves, we used firewood, the stove and those who were privileged to have gas they were found to be rich. Today, the evolution has gone to instant cooking and warming of food without having to wait for hours before it is ready. Microwaves have become the norm in many kitchens in Kenya, at home, restaurants and even in offices. But just how safe is the food you heat in the microwave? What are the dangers you expose yourself to when using it? How best to use the microwave? These are the many questions Kenyans and people using the microwave keep asking.
one potential danger of microwave ovens is getting scalded by over heated water. What can happen is that when plain water is heated in a microwave in a clean ceramic or glass container for too long, it can prevent bubbles from forming, which normally cools it down. The water can become superheated, past its boiling point. So when it is disturbed, say by moving it or dropping something in it, the heat releases violently, erupting boiling water out of the cup.
Metals reflect microwaves, whereas plastic, glass and ceramics allow them to pass through. That means metals don’t appreciably heat up in a microwave oven. However, thin pieces of metal, such as foils or the tines of a fork, can act as antenna, and the waves can arc off them, forming dramatic sparks.
Although many people believe this to be the case, microwaves actually work on the outer layers of food, heating it by exciting the water molecules there. The inner parts of food are warmed as heat transfers from the outer layers inward. This is why a microwave can only cook a big chunk of meat to a depth of about one inch inward.
Micro-waves leak through the glass door?
If you use a microwave:
- Don’t heat food in plastic.
- Make sure food reaches 160 degrees F in all areas (you have a food thermometer, don’t you?).
- Cover food to help ensure uniform cooking.
- Allow the food to sit a few minutes after microwaving.
- Microwave food only as long as necessary, with little to no cooking water.
Continue to heat food over gas, stove, jiko or any other means since you exempt yourself from the risk of losing food nutrients, causing some illnesses especially IF your model leaks radiation when heating or cooking food.
- Find a fluorescent tube or bulb
- Darken the room where the microwave sits
- Hold the bulb against the edges of the microwave ovens door when the oven is in use. While normally it is not recommended to use the microwave with nothing inside it, in this short experiment, it is best not to add anything to the oven.
- Check for a reaction. If there is microwave leakage occurring, the bulb will glow.