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What did we do before the microwave oven? Have you ever stopped to think just how much time you save each day by this one appliance alone? If you used to heat baby bottles or warm up pizza before the invention of microwaves, you know! Although microwaves are used primarily for heating and reheating, as well as thawing out foods, the microwaves on the market today are capable of so much more.

Another nice aspect of the microwave oven, especially during the summertime is that they produce no heat. That means you can cook a meal for your family and not sweat in the kitchen as you cook. Microwaves are convenient, affordable, and designed with multiple features to enjoy.

Have you ever wondered how a microwave works? Well, the answer is that inside the oven is a magnetron tube. This tube produces microwaves that enter the oven through an opening within the cavity. Since these microwaves move in a straight line, they do not cook evenly. For this reason, you want a microwave oven with a turntable so microwaves are more evenly distributed. Another interesting fact about the microwave oven is that food is cooked from the inside out.

If you are in the market for a new microwave oven, there are some things to consider:
  • Choose the size of the microwave based on the size of your family. If you want to be able to cook full meals, you want to choose a microwave oven that is large and offers high power.

  • Another consideration is the type of cookware you use. Make sure that you have dishes that will fit. Otherwise, you will need to purchase new cookware.

  • Features such as defrost, warmer, and delayed cooking are huge benefits

  • Consider the countertop space or other space where the microwave will be placed
Another thing you will see when shopping around for a microwave is different capacities and power levels. How do you know which option is right for you? The following will help with that:
  • Compact Microwave Oven (0.8 cubic feet or less) � 600 to 800 watts

  • Midsize Microwave Oven (0.9 cubic feet to 1.2 cubic feet) � 800 to 1,000 watts

  • Full Size Microwave Oven (1.3 cubic feet and up) � More than 1,000 watts
Additional features that will make microwave cooking easier include a turntable, convection combination, probes, browning option, and timer. Again, the turntable helps cook the food more evenly. The convection combination is a popular choice in that it combines radiant heat, as you would get with a normal convection oven with the microwaves. Not only will the cooking process be sped up but also the inside of meat will be juicy while the outside is cooked and browned.

The browning option is a real benefit in that if you use your microwave oven for meat the surface will be broiled, creating a nice, golden brown. Many microwaves today come with some type of probe or sensor but if not, you can often purchase them separately. These tools are helpful in that you can determine if food is cooked on the inside by checking the temperature. Finally, most microwaves have timers. Some timers are just for keeping track of the amount of time the food is cooking while others are designed as a delayed timing option.
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