Everyone wonders if it is safe: let’s see how this appliance works and how it influences food properties.
The microwave is one of the most common kitchen appliances, but it has a bad reputation. There are thousands of pieces of information about the related health risks both on newspapers and on the internet.
You can also find a lot of lists of food which would lose their properties if cooked in the microwave. But are we sure that heating up or cooking foods in this appliance alters their nutritional properties? Let’s find out more!
Nutritional properties and microwave cooking
Dont’ worry, experts say that even if you cook your food in the microwave, they still keep their properties. In fact, people say that some water-soluble vitamins (for example the B group ones) get lost when food is cooked in the water. This does not happen in the microwave, which looks like the best way to keep the nutritional properties of food.
The waves of this appliance make vibrate the water molecules food contains. This kind of movement generates energy which turns into heat: it will warm the rest of the product and its container. Therefore, the best food you can cook in this appliance are those which contain high quantities of water, such as fruit, vegetables and liquids in general.
To grill, to bake or to steam: differences with cooking in the microwave
The cooking method which more closely resembles the microwave is steaming, because it well keeps the nutritional properties. Instead, when baking, the oven can reach temperatures which can spoil them.
When you grill, you heat up first the outer parts of the food, while the microwave this happens from the inside out and it is more homogenous. Moreover, cooking in this appliance is healthier than frying, which make foods absorb fats, thus becoming more difficult to digest.
The best containers to use in the microwave
Which is the best container to heat your food in the microwave? Definitely glass and ceramic ones. Instead, you should avoid paper, cardboard and metal containers.
Plastic boxes might disperse some toxic chemicals which can contaminate your food. There are still no clear negative effects on our health, and they are not directly related with diseases yet.
In any case, it is better to put your meals in ceramic or glass plates. In this way, your food will also have more room and will heat up sooner and better.
How to thaw food in the microwave
Another open debate is about how to better thaw food in the microwave. Dietitians agree on the fact that the best way to defrost your meals is by leaving them on the counter for a while.
However, using this appliance is a quick and safe method to do it, even because the food is less likely to be contaminated with microorganisms. The only downside is that the food texture will change a little. Instead, when you put frozen meals into the fridge, the slow thaw process allows to better keep their culinary properties.
In short, we can say that if you use your microwave properly, it is safe both for heating up and cooking food. There are no health risks, just be careful not to burn yourself with hot meals!
Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/114756388@N08/11996130775/, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericdeberranger/3341160697/