Microwave Buyer’s Guide
Microwaves are a time saver and a very popular appliance the world over. Quick meals can be prepared, and food can be defrosted and heated very quickly. A microwave is an ideal appliance used by singles, families large and small and even utilised in offices and factories. Microwaves have come a long way, and these days, they appear in different sizes and have options for grilling and baking to save space in small kitchens.
How Do Microwave Ovens Work?
Micro waves are generated, these are high-frequency radio waves. These waves are absorbed by fats, sugars, and carbohydrates and transformed into heat. Metal should never be placed in a microwave oven as it reflects the waves. The waves do not absorb plastic so you can use plastic to reheat food, but it is best to check the labels. Instead, many people prefer to use glass bowls and plates to reheat and cook their food.
The micro waves only heat the food, and as such, if you require a crackling or a grilled sandwich, you will need to place the item in the grill or purchase newer models of microwave ovens with in-built grills.
Types of Microwave Ovens Available
There are three main types, and they are discussed below to help you decide which is appropriate for your kitchen needs.
This is a basic model microwave oven which is perfect for defrosting or reheating food and hot drinks.
Microwave and grill
This combination allows for the grill function to be activated either on its own or with the microwave. The advantage of a microwave with a grill feature is that it reheats faster than a traditional oven and is ideal for toasting and browning food. Chips and fries will remain crunchy when grilled in the microwave.
Combi Microwave or Convention Microwave Ovens
Combined microwaves are a favourite amongst large families and people who cook quite a bit but are time poor or have less kitchen space. The oven is slightly larger but is fan-assisted. Casseroles, roasts, cakes, cookies can all be made this. Combined, the cooking is faster and much easier to clean than a conventional oven! Many cooking options are available in this type of microwave including defrosting meat and fish and steaming of vegetables.
Size and Power
Microwaves range in power of 400w to 1200w in the top end range. Microwaves also have a heat category rating which ranges from A to E. This shows how slowly or quickly the food is heated. It is a common misconception that a larger microwave with a higher wattage will heat up food quickly. Ensure the heat category is checked before purchase.
The size of microwaves varies from 15L to over 30L. It is recommended that you at least choose a size where a standard dinner plate can be placed comfortably for everyday use. If cooking for a large family, a larger capacity microwave can cook bigger meals and more than one dish at a time.
Features To Look Out For
You may have something specific in mind as to what you want your microwave to be able to do. Most microwaves these days have programmes or functionality which is useful to you. Below are some of the most common features.
Based on the moisture levels, the power levels are adjusted for even cooking.
There are at least four to ten different power settings to adjust based on the different size of the meals.
Quick – Cook/Defrost
A quick setting sets the temperature on a quick high temperature to cook the food. Likewise, the quick defrost allows for food to be defrosted based on the weight of the food.
Some microwaves have pre-set settings for everyday items such as fish, milk, baked potatoes, hot dogs, etc.
This disengages the microwave, and it will not start which is a fantastic feature to avoid accidents.
There are many accessories available from steam trays, dish covers, to poaching egg trays to microwave-safe cling wraps and much more.
The most important thing to remember is what is the microwave going to be utilised for which will then lead you to make the right choice and getting maximum benefit out of your purchase.
To find out more about microwaves and how they can fit into your kitchen design, talk to one of our experts today.