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69

It's caused by the high amount of potassium in the banana. Microwaves react with metals, bouncing off and cause arcing. You can even create a cool light show by putting a raw peeled banana in the microwave. Don't worry, it won't explode, but it will make a mess, it's also harmless. This can also happen in some frozen vegetables depending on the soil ...


27

Metal on its own doesn't necessarily cause electric discharge in a microwave. What causes the sparking that you see when you put a fork in a microwave is due to the "sharp" edges of the fork. These edges concentrate the voltage at their tips which will cause a spark when it exceeds the dielectric breakdown of air. Things like sheet pans (with rounded ...


26

Microwave ovens have a turntable because the microwaves themselves form what are known as 'standing waves'. This means there are essentially static columns of microwave energy inside the cabinet itself. You can see this for yourself - spread a tray or plate with grated cheese, take the turntable out (or press that button), and zap it for a couple of ...


21

It has nothing to do with the microwave and everything to do with the volatility of aromas and flavors in coffee. Even coffee kept warm for 4 hours won't taste very good. In my experience, stale brewed coffee results in a more pronounced acidity, if left out to cool, or a woody, muddy, bitter kind of flavor, sometimes with more pronounced acidity, if held ...


21

Well, I can tell you with absolute authority that polystyrene melts in the microwave. Here's a chunk of polystyrene cut from a foam shipping container. I double checked with the website (Propak), and the stuff is polystyrene. I placed a random chunk of chicken on the cube, and microwaved on high for 1 minute. So yeah, it melts. Is it toxic if it ...


19

The majority of microwaves cannot modulate their power output. The power setting in most microwaves simply turns the magnetron (microwave generator) off and in in cycles. So a power setting of .5 for 10 minutes would simply cycle the magnetron on and off every few seconds, with a total on time of 5 minutes. You can actually hear this occurring. According to ...


17

Yes it is completely safe. Microwaves do not linger in food. The microwaves stop as soon as your microwave stops. A microwave is just an electromagnetic wave similar to a radio wave, but at a higher frequency. It works by exciting molecules, particularly water, in the food and giving those molecules some of its energy as heat. Microwaves do not alter the ...


16

I'll go ahead and take a stab at answering this, even though the question is a bit vague. I assume by "cook" you mean "cook with a non-microwave method", like boiling, steaming, baking, frying, sauteeing, or anything else. First of all, no, I can't think of any reason why microwaves would be worse than any other cooking method. If you fully cook something ...


15

Anything that breaks down due to heat is going to break down no matter HOW you cook it. Boiling only "destroys" nutrients by leaching them away into the water, which is the same reason that other people say that steaming/microwaving is better. Thiamine, for example, is highly water soluble, so boiling is out. But it also breaks down at 100C, so you can't ...


14

This may also be related to the dielectric antenna effects that cause grapes to spark in a microwave : I found that single grapes would eject steam out of the stem hole forming little rocket engines which often propelled the grapes about the oven. If the stem was left in the grape, so that the steam could not escape, the grape skin would quickly rupture ...


14

You stop the turntable when there's not room for your dishes to rotate - think large rectangular dish, or two plates fitting into the corners. At best, the turntable will strain and do nothing, and at worst, it'll make a mess. Otherwise, it does help to get your food heated evenly. It can't fix everything, of course; the center point is always in the ...


14

Marshmallows expand so much because the water in them becomes steam, and gas takes up a LOT more volume than liquid. Specifically, 1 mL of water becomes ~1.36 LITERS of vapor, before it gets heated further. That's 1000-fold expansion, before you add additional expansion as the gas is heated. Marshmallows don't have all that much water content, but when ...


14

A better instruction would be "do not rely entirely on the functionality of the popcorn button on your microwave, since microwaves vary widely as do bags of popcorn." But that's longer, and kind of complicated, so they abbreviate it "do not use popcorn button". There's no problem with the power setting of the popcorn button, only with the timing. You should ...


13

Most likely the flatbread is not very pliable when cold. I believe that Subway forces the heating of the flatbread to keep it from splitting when they fold it.


11

Grilling / broiling the potato after it comes out of the microwave is quicker than baking it and achieves the same crispy outside. If you really prefer them baked though, you can speed this up by inserting a large metal skewer into the potato while it's in the oven


11

Toasting bread involves the Maillard Reaction and requires a dry heat. Toasters and toaster ovens (and conventional ovens) use radiant heat. Convection ovens use convection, as the name implies, and this is most certainly a dry and very even heat; the question is whether or not a convection microwave actually provides a true convective environment, like a ...


11

When you boil water in a cup in a microwave, it will often boil without forming bubbles, because unlike a kettle with a rough heating element or inner surface, a clean ceramic cup has few nucleation points. Nucleation points allow pockets of gas to form, which become bubbles as the water boils. When you add the teabag to the hot water, you are essentially ...


10

Before microwaving (or baking, for that matter) a potato, I always poke it deeply with a fork several times to let steam escape. I prefer the taste of a baked potato to a microwave potato, but will often speed up baking a potato by microwaving it for a few minutes first. You can definitely microwave until done. After it is done, butter and salt and ...


10

You can simulate steaming in a microwave. First defrost the salmon. Put it in a glass dish. Put some soy sauce on the bottom of the dish, say half a cm deep. Add some chopped ginger. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes or so. Tastes great and healthly too.


10

Sunflower lecithin (sorry, best link I could find) is gaining in popularity as an alternative to soy lecithin because it is widely perceived to have a neutral taste and actually has superior emulsifying properties. It's a little on the expensive side, though. Soy lecithin by itself doesn't taste horrible if you buy it as a food additive (as opposed to a ...


10

It is simply that the microwave heats primarily the water molecules, causing the bread to steam. A normal oven heats all of the molecules of the bread, and by the time the water is heavily steaming you will have pulled it out of the oven.


10

When metal is exposed to microwave radiation, an electric potential difference can develop as the microwaves generate electric charge in parts of the metal. Flowing electricity can cause sparks as electrons migrate to places of lower potential. Solid metal is susceptible to this because its electrons are relatively loose, making it a good conductor of ...


10

Microwave scrambled eggs will never be like real scrambled eggs. That said, I've obtained decent results when only a microwave is available by beating the eggs first, microwaving for 30 seconds, stirring, and then microwaving in 10 second bursts, stirring after each one until desired doneness is achieved. If you are just looking for ways to cook eggs in ...


10

Microwaves do not kill bacteria, heat kills bacteria. The higher the temperature, the faster those bacteria will die off. "Instant death" for most bacteria (including salmonella) is about 160° F (71° C). You only need a few seconds at this temperature. The notoriously strict USDA recommends 160° F for egg dishes but is considerably more lax about whole eggs ...


10

Microwaves specifically heat water molecules in the food. This turns them to steam, and because the air in the microwave is actually cool, the steam then condenses. There is often not proper air circulation to move the steam away from the food. Often times the outside edges of the food will not be soggy, but rather burnt, because they receive more energy and ...


9

A few principles for re-heatable food that I've found over the years: Things with or in sauces heat nicely Dry things don't heat as well (plain rice, for example) Liquid distribution in the dish is important for even heating Dryer things like meats heat better when they have glazes or toppings (keep steam in) Things you can stir up mid-heat are nice for ...


9

Yes, there is a difference. You shouldn't be baking a cake (or anything else) in a microwave oven. A microwave oven excites the water within your food. When you put in dough or batter, the excited water doesn't bind with the starch the way it does under normal heat, it escapes the starch, leaving you with a stone-hard piece of dough or batter. There is ...


9

Poke them with a fork in a few places. This will let the steam out in a controlled manner and prevent bursting. or, even better, skip the microwave and boil them in a pan over the stove.


9

Because it is made from pastry dough. Pastry dough (and any other kind of dough) gets ruined by a microwave. See this question for details of what will probably happen. The only exceptions for dough in the microwave is pasta (which is supposed to be boiled in water anyway) and some kinds of very soft batter, which can be eaten immediately as a "microwave ...


9

I believe the unspecified context of this question is cooking in an oven or microwave. No matter what your cooking method, the heat is introduced at the outside of the food: Microwaves only penetrate a short distance; the rest of the cooking through to the center is by conduction (or convection, if the food is liquid) Conduction/convection in an oven only ...



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