Microwave Cooking: How Safe Is It?

The Microwave is a standard kitchen fixture in any household. Microwaves are convenient. They cook food really quick. But is it safe to microwaves for cooking?

How microwaves cook food?

To find out if microwaves are safe, find out how it works. How do microwaves cook food? Microwaves use magnetrons. They are high-powered vacuum tubes that create coherent microwaves. These magnetrons convert electrical power into very short radio waves ( 4 inches crest to crest). The magnetrons transmit these short radio waves at a frequency of 2,450 megahertz. Water, fats and sugar all readily absorb power at a 2,450 megahertz frequency. Thus resulting in very fast vibrations and high temperatures which cook food.

Power Levels

High power – food is subjected to the highest amount of microwave energy. The magnetrons produce microwaves at full capacity. Foods best cooked in high power are tender foods and those with a high moisture content. Examples:

  • ground beef
  • poultry
  • vegetables
  • fruits

Medium to Low power – the magnetron cycles off and on. For instance, medium power (50%) means that the oven produces microwaves 50% of the time and is off 50% of the time. Foods best cooked in medium to low power are tender foods and those with a high moisture content. Examples:

  • large cuts of meat
  • eggs
  • cheese

Outside in

Microwaves cook food from the outside in penetrating to a depth of 1 to 1½ inches. In thicker foods, the center is cooked by conduction of heat from the outer areas into center.

Do microwaves cook food safely?

Bacteria is destroyed during microwave cooking, thus food is safely cooked inside. There re rumors saying that microwaves turn make food "radioactive". The truth is, no microwaves do not make food radioactive. The energy used by microwaves is similar in wavelength to television, radio waves and radar. Nuclear radiations and x-ray radiations are a million times more powerful.