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{"activity_order":null,"activity_type":["Recipe","Technique","Science"],"assignment_recipes":null,"author_notes":null,"cooked_this":0,"created_at":"2014-04-23T17:51:14Z","creator":null,"currently_editing_user":null,"description":"That bag of popcorn is just the beginning. First sold in 1947, the microwave oven wasn\u2019t a common household item until the late 1960's. Along with the fridge, conventional oven, blender, and coffeemaker, it is now considered an essential appliance in the American kitchen. But while we all use it to warm up coffee and pop our corn, this countertop contraption remains poorly understood and often underestimated. Microwaves don\u2019t cook food from the inside out\u2014a common myth\u2014and despite the term \u201cnuke,\u201d it\u2019s not nuclear radiation that\u2019s reheating last night\u2019s burrito. What\u2019s more, microwaves can outperform conventional techniques when it comes to vegetables, quick soups, and fried snacks. Put aside the Pop Secret\u2014it\u2019s time to take a deeper look at the humble microwave.","difficulty":"easy","featured_image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/GkCrc34lSQyGKvNWdKnv\",\"filename\":\"Microwave-Techniques-Activity-thumbnail-v3.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":616335,\"key\":\"EAZxsftlRTeZ4Riiw7ac_Microwave-Techniques-Activity-thumbnail-v3.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","forks":[],"id":3489,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ujQM9ehS6OPZgNIGLkld\",\"filename\":\"Microwave-Techniques-Activity-Title-Image.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":659534,\"key\":\"DPzT7IewQ1CtQ1Ox8VVb_Microwave-Techniques-Activity-Title-Image.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","include_in_gallery":true,"last_edited_by_id":31760,"likes_count":56,"published":true,"published_at":"2014-04-29T23:03:16Z","show_only_in_course":false,"slug":"microwave-techniques","source_activity_id":null,"source_type":0,"summary_tweet":null,"timing":"","title":"Microwave Techniques","transcript":"","updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","upload_count":0,"used_in":[],"yield":"","youtube_id":"","tags":[{"id":163,"name":"how to"},{"id":1200,"name":"microwaving"},{"id":1201,"name":"microwaves"}],"equipment":[],"ingredients":[],"steps":[{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"Essentially, microwaves cook food by producing electromagnetic waves that force polarized water molecules within it to oscillate. We experience this atomic-scale movement as increasing temperature. Imagine water molecules as antennae, interacting with the waves in the oven much like a radio antenna does with radio waves. The more water in the food, the more effective it is as an antenna. Plant foods have a high water content relative to most foods\u2014making them very effective antennae indeed. \n\nBut it's important, too, to consider the size of your antennae. In conventional ovens, small foods cook faster than larger ones. It tends to be the opposite with microwaves. A microwave (that is, the wave itself, not the oven) is 12.8 centimeters long. To receive the waves properly, food should be at least a quarter of that length\u2014so about 3.2 centimeters (a little larger than one inch). Think about how an individual popcorn kernel can take minutes to pop. And yet, you can pop an entire bag of popcorn kernels in about 60 seconds. Grouped together, all the kernels form a target mass that can couple with the microwaves and absorb them, similar to how a radio antenna picks up radio waves. The lone kernels are so small (relative to the length of the microwaves) that they can't easily absorb the waves' energy, and thus take longer to cook.\n\nFrom an engineering perspective, the microwave oven is a fairly simple machine, but for one complex and fascinating piece: the magnetron. ([link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp33ZprO0Ck&app=desktop Watch this awesome video for more on how magnetrons work.]) \n\nSee the diagram below to better understand how energy flows from the socket in your kitchen into the food itself.","hide_number":true,"id":97186,"image_description":null,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/SZGnDHW7RZiuBxX1KVsi\",\"filename\":\"microwave-diagram.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":199597,\"key\":\"Kz8vw0aR6ODNzoprjX0Q_microwave-diagram.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":0,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"#WHY IT WORKS","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"<div class=\"pull-left\"> <img src=\"http://www.filepicker.io/api/file/G1dXcF8oTsmknoXnTVPD/convert?fit=max&w=180&h=355\" /> </div>For the microwave\u2019s invention, thank Percy Spencer\u2019s sweet tooth. The Raytheon engineer was lingering in front of an active microwave radar set when the Mr. Goodbar in his pocket began to melt. Ingredients used in Spencer\u2019s early food-heating experiments include popcorn kernels and an egg (which exploded in a colleague\u2019s face).\n\nThe first microwave oven weighed in at 750 pounds, and was five feet, six inches tall. At first, it was only used in restaurants and other places where large quantities of food had to be prepared at once.","hide_number":true,"id":97187,"image_description":null,"image_id":"","is_aside":true,"presentation_hints":{},"step_order":4194304,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Hot Pocket:<br> The Microwave's Humble Beginnings","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"Ever try to defrost food in your microwave on the \"cook\" setting? You've likely wound up with food that's partly cooked and partly frozen. \n\nHere's what happening: Because frozen water has a different atomic structure than liquid, ice is invisible to microwaves. Once part of the food melts, however, the liquid water will start to strongly absorb the waves, causing that portion to cook quickly while areas around it remain frozen. To even things out, the microwave's defrost function works by turning the magnetron on and off, allowing the frozen parts of the food to \"catch up\" to the already-cooked parts, thereby encouraging more-even heating.","hide_number":true,"id":97188,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":false,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":6291456,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"The All-Important Defrost Button","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"Yes, and yes. Contrary to popular myth, microwave radiation is not related to nuclear radiation whatsoever. As described above, microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation that occurs at frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz\u2014the same kind of electromagnetic radiation (except at a different wavelength) as visible light and radio waves. It doesn\u2019t make your food radioactive, not even a teensy little bit. And it doesn't have anything to do with radioactivity or nuclear reactors. \n\nAnother popular myth says that microwave ovens destroy all the nutrients in the food. In fact, it's the opposite\u2014microwaving often <i>preserves</i> more nutrients than other cooking methods. The longer and hotter you cook something, the more nutrients you lose, and with boiling and pressure-cooking, you can lose additional nutrients to surrounding water as well. Microwaves work by exciting the water molecules in your food, which then heat up and cook the surrounding material very quickly, protecting the food from the damage that can be done by time, heat, and cooking water.","hide_number":true,"id":97189,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":7340032,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Is it safe? Is it healthy?","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"When cooking vegetables, it's of paramount importance to preserve their fresh aromas and vivid colors. The best way to do that is to cook them rapidly. That's where the microwave comes in: You can cook vegetables perfectly in a microwave, in just a few minutes. How many minutes exactly? That depends on the wattage of your machine, along with the amount and size of the food you are cooking. Through trial and error, we found that in our 1,000-watt microwave, we got the best results by cooking one-inch pieces for 30\u201345 seconds. Experimenting with your microwave will help determine your own optimal cook times and settings. \n\nThis simple technique opens up myriad possibilities for delicious vegetable dishes with a much lower risk of failure. No more limp, weepy asparagus or soft, watery carrots. When you prepare vegetables in the microwave, you can focus on the rest of the dish, instead of just the vegetables themselves.","hide_number":true,"id":97190,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":7864320,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"#<br>MICROWAVING VEGETABLES","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-vegetables]","hide_number":true,"id":97191,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8126464,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-bagna-cauda]","hide_number":true,"id":97192,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8257536,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-radicchio-salad]","hide_number":true,"id":97193,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8323072,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-asparagus-dish]","hide_number":true,"id":97194,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8355840,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"From elegant <i>amuses bouches</i> to quintessential comfort dishes, pur\u00e9ed soups are an important component of every cook's repertoire. What with all the simmering and stirring, however, they can be pretty time-consuming. Because microwaves cook vegetables so quickly\u2014preserving flavor and aroma so well\u2014you can use them to whip up excellent soups far faster than traditional cooking methods allow. Here are two recipes to get you going.","hide_number":true,"id":97195,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8372224,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"#<br>MICROWAVED SOUPS","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-chilled-pea-soup]","hide_number":true,"id":97196,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8380416,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity microwaved-tomato-soup]","hide_number":true,"id":97197,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8384512,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"Looking for more cool stuff to do with that countertop oven? Check out our method for microwaved vegetables confits. Super-simple and mess free, they'll enhance all sorts of preparations and, as in the case of our [link http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/confit-squash-salad Confit Squash Salad], can form the basis of a pretty killer dish as well. Ham fans, meanwhile, will love the way we harness the microwave's dehydrating abilities to transform silky prosciutto into a crunchy garnish.","hide_number":true,"id":97198,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8386560,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"#<br>OTHER IDEAS","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity how-to-confit-in-a-microwave]","hide_number":true,"id":97199,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8387584,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity confit-squash-salad]","hide_number":true,"id":97200,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8388096,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":"","audio_title":"","created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"[fetchActivity crispy-prosciutto]","hide_number":true,"id":97201,"image_description":"","image_id":"","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8388352,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":"","ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":3489,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","directions":"Click the image below to enlarge, download, and print our Microwave poster, chock-full of weird and wonderful information about your mysterious countertop contraption. \n\n<a href=\"https://s3.amazonaws.com/chefsteps/static/chefsteps-microwaves-explored.pdf\" target=\"new\" onclick=\"mixpanel.track('Download PDF', {'title' : 'microwaves-explored'});\"><img src=\"http://www.filepicker.io/api/file/EYs5N3EYReytPf2bgM20\"></a>","hide_number":true,"id":97202,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":8388480,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"#<br>LEARN MORE","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2014-05-27T23:21:17Z","youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]}]}