Did you know that over 90% of kitchens in the United Kingdom contain a microwave cooker?
Not only are they compact, energy-saving, simple to use and quick, they are also a gateway to healthy cooking. The sorts of foods that are not suitable for microwave cooking are those that tend to bad for us such as fried foods and high-fat pastries.
You may also think that it’s a drawback in that protein foods don’t brown in a microwave. That’s because there’s reduced oxidation. And that means that vitamins A and E are far less likely to be destroyed during the cooking process. And when it comes to micro-organisms that can lead to upset stomachs or worse, you should be aware that they thrive when left alone for a period of time in temperatures between 5 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees. Because a Panasonic microwave oven thaws and cooks so quickly, food spends a lot less time in this potentially dangerous temperature zone as compared to conventional cooking.
You still find the odd web-site that warns of the dangers of microwave cooking. Umpteen tests have proved that microwave cooking is perfectly safe. It does not change the chemical composition of your food. Nor is there any evidence of poisonous or dangerous compounds created by microwave energy. The microwaves that cause the water molecules in the food to agitate and heat cease the moment the oven door is opened or the power switched off. There is no lingering microwaves or radiation. Just delicious cooked food. Cooking in a microwave is more penetrating than heat that comes from an oven or hob, be it gas or electric powered. The heat has to penetrate down to the middle and bottom layers of the food, and there is a risk of undercooking some parts. Microwave cooking instantly reaches and agitates the water molecules about an inch or so below the surface of the food and thereafter penetrates more deeply.
Like any oven, a microwave in heating foods, will destroy some nutrients such as Vitamin C. But because the food spends less time being heated in a microwave, cooking with a microwave probably does a better job of preserving the nutrient content of foods because of those shorter cooking times.
You may also want to use a microwave cooking cover. These are made of microwave-proof plastic and sit on top of a plate with the top about two inches free from the food on the plate. Not only does this avoid spattering the inside of your microwave, it also allows the flavour to circulate around the food as it heats keeping more of the taste.
Here’s a quick and easy microwave recipe for you to try:
- 350g risotto rice
- 175ml white wine
- 850ml vegetable stock
- 500g frozen peas and sweetcorn (or any combination of peas and beans)
- 100g asparagus tips
- 100g soft cheese
- Half a dozen Mint leaves
What you do:
Measure the risotto rice into a large microwaveable bowl, then pour in the white wine and 300ml of the hot stock. Cover with cling film, or a microwave-proof plate cover. Microwave on High for 10 mins. Stir the rice, then add another 300ml of the stock, re-cover and microwave for a further 3 mins.
Stir the rice again, then add the frozen veg, asparagus tips and the last of the stock. Re-cover and microwave for 7 mins. Stir in the cheese, grated, rated and then some mint leaves torn into small pieces. Then simply leave the risotto to stand for 2 mins before serving with a whole mint leaf as garnish. Enjoy!