Thursday, August 12, 2010


Microwave oven has become a common fixture in many house holds in India and it is mostly used to heat up food materials before eating. How ever cooking of food is not attempted by many house holds because of the time it takes as well as the perceived quality of the food cooked for an ordinary consumer. Indian situation is further complicated because of non-availability of microwave oven safe containers readily with assured safety. Advent of ready to eat foods by several manufacturers, packed in foil laminates, poses some logistical problem in using the microwave oven as it calls for opening the pack and transferring the content into a compatible container before shoving it into the oven. With metal free packs now available to the processors, microwave heating is an option but it can still pose the problem of bursting if used unopened. This is where caution is called for and use of water for immersing the pack before heating in the oven is recommended. Defrosting is another function microwave oven is capable of doing and here also, utmost caution is called for.

"Put the food that is to be defrosted in one of the sealable plastic bags. If you do have a food vacuum, feel free to use it at this point to remove all air from the bag--however, this can also be done with relative success by removing the air manually. Removing all excessive air from the bag is very important in that it ensures the food is cooked evenly, and some areas aren't more well done than others. Next, fill the microwave safe bowl approximately halfway full with water, and place the bag that is holding the food item into the water bath. Examine the bowl; the water should cover the food item completely at this point. If there is not enough water in the bowl to do this, pour more water into the bowl until the food has been completely submerged".

Defrosting of frozen foods in microwave oven is a tedious process and many products like cooked vegetables, rice preparations, semisolid consistency items tend to get thawed non-uniformly with one portion getting over heated while rest remains frozen. The water immersion of frozen products before heating in the oven probably may give a more uniformly thawed preparation. Presently frozen food products do not form a major portfolio as far as Indian food industry is concerned and there fore only a small segment of the consumers has the need to use the microwave oven for defrosting.

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