One of the most useful appliances for day-to-day life with our busy schedule is the microwave: it can also heat water for an infusion, milk in the morning, that tupperware (made of a suitable material, of course) for dinner when you arrive. home without much desire to cook or quickly defrost a piece of bread. The microwave supports many preparations, but with the above alone we get enough use out of it. However, it is highly likely that you are cooking food incorrectly in the microwave. Or rather, that you can cook them sooner and better. One of the The key is where on the microwave turntable you place the food.
Beyond exceptions where we introduce a plate or a large tray that occupies practically the entire available area, in which the margin of difference will be insignificant, The usual tendency when we put something in the microwave is to place the food right in the center of the turntable. It is not the best idea if we are looking for faster and better cooking.
Brief notes on the operation of the microwave
Microwaves heat food thanks to high-frequency electromagnetic radiation (microwaves), which causes the vibration of molecules that make up food such as water, sugar or fat. The more vibration, the more friction, which produces the heat that cooks them.. Bridging distances, something like when we rub our hands to warm ourselves. If reading about radiation has generated some fear in you, the most important thing in a microwave that works well is that it is correctly insulated (otherwise, in addition to affecting our health, it would also affect other waves such as Wi-Fi). .
These waves bounce around inside the container, generating peaks and valleys effects, so that when two peaks collide, they generate heat. But if a peak and valley intersect, they neutralize each other. That’s why Most microwaves have a rotating plate that promotes movement, which helps to achieve more uniform bounces and thus have more options to be at the right time and place.
Given this problem of inhomogeneous heating, the sector is evolving towards microwaves without a rotating plate, which solve it with a ceramic base so as not to leave areas free of waves, but they are more expensive.
Another important point of the operation of microwave waves are so short that barely reach a couple of centimeters inside the food. In a simplified way, it is as if the heating power of microwaves decreases as we move deeper into the medium that absorbs them. Thus, it is the edges of the food that are heated and the middle and inner part is heated by proximity to the ends, hence it costs more (and you improve its effect by stirring the soup you are heating from time to time).
Both from the effectiveness of this shock of waves and from its length, it can be deduced that we are dealing with somewhat uncontrolled heating that generates uneven cooking, so that from time to time we find that at take food out of the microwave, there are parts that are burning and others that are cold.
Where is the best place to place food in the microwave and other tricks to optimize cooking
Although it is usual to place the container right in the center of the turntable, It is more convenient to place it right on the outer edge of this. This way the container will move more, allowing the microwaves to reach further.
If what you are going to heat is a plate with food, it would also be advisable to distribute them close to the outer edge of the plate forming a circle (think for example of a plate with meatballs). The more spread, the better, so that more microwaves reach and generate more friction to cause faster and more uniform heating.
Placing a lid (with a hole for steam to escape) over the food is not only to prevent food debris from flying around and dirtying the inside of the microwave (which also happens), but it also will help by minimizing water evaporation while cooking. As a result, the preparation will be less dry.
Although it is more convenient to set the microwave for several minutes at a time to heat the food, It is advisable to schedule it in small time intervals (for example, one minute) and after each interval, stir the kitchen to promote heat distribution.
When the final beep sounds, do not open the microwave immediately: It is better to wait a couple of minutes so that the heat continues to expand and cook the food.
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