Microwave Oven Techniques
Since microwaves penetrate the surfaces of food, the outside areas absorb more energy than the center. In many microwave ovens, some parts of the cavity receive more energy than others. By using techniques that equalize heat, you
can make sure that all parts of the food are done at the same time. If you have a carousel microwave oven, some of the techniques mentioned you don't need to worry about.
- Covering: Microwaving is a moist cooking method. Although most foods will not dry out, using a cover holds in steam that helps food cook faster. Covering gives you the full benefit of microwave speed. I use plastic wrap or a papertowel
depending on what I am cooking in the microwave oven. Keep in mind that most plastic dishes and covers will fail in the microwave at high temperatures.
- Stirring:One of the most useful and benefitial microwave cooking techniques. Stirring food from the outside to the center of the dish redistributes heat. You don't need to stir as often as you would conventionally; several times during cooking
is usually sufficient unless your oven has a very uneven heating pattern.
- Turning Over or Rearranging:Since parts of the oven cavity receive less energy than others, turning over or rearranging large items, such as vegetables and pieces of meat, moves them into a new energy pattern and helps all parts cook evenly.
- Arranging in the Oven:It's natural to place a single item in the center of an oven, but when you are cooking several pieces at the same time, arrange them in a ring. Keep space between them, and leave the center open so energy
can penetrate from all sides.
- Arranging in the Dish:Take advantage of the fact that the center of a dish receives less energy than the outside. Arrange the food so that thin or delicate parts, such as the tails of fish fillets or the tips of asparagus spears, are in the center,
with thick or tough parts near the outside.
- Shielding:This technique protects areas that absorb the most energy so the rest of the food can catch up. The most common method is to use strips of foil (or a wet dish towel) to shield the top of a large roast, the wing tips of poultry, or the ends of a loaf dish. Another
form of shielding is to cover meat with a sauce or vegetable. Make sure you understand your microwave oven, they all vary, check to make sure your microwave oven allows aluminum foil to be used. If your not sure contact your manufacturer or do research either online or
at your local library.
- Rotating:Some foods, such as cake or lasagna, cannot be stirred during cooking. Giving the dish a quarter or half turn will bring food into a new energy pattern, and help it heat evenly.