As the microwave oven approaches half a century of common domestic use, an American food website has published a list of foods which shouldn't be cooked in one, and the reasons why.
TheDailyMeal.com notes that many foods which are high in fat and water will heat quickly and evenly in a microwave, because the microwave radiation produced inside the oven causes these to start moving rapidly. The friction created as these molecules crash into each other is what then causes heat to be generated, and the product concerned to become cooked.
But others either provide nowhere for this energy to escape to, or will disperse it all over the inside of your oven.
And the article lists the following examples:
- Dried hot peppers. Heating these leads to capsaicin, the substance which gives them their pungency, being emitted, which will leave an unpleasant smell in your kitchen
- Eggs. The steam created inside the shell when it is rapidly heated in a microwave will have nowhere to escape, and eventually the force it creates will burst the shell and leave an almighty mess all over the inside of your oven
- Water. The liquid will heat very quickly from the middle, but the container will stay cool. If it is heated for too long, this could lead to it exploding upwards when you remove it from the oven, leading to nasty scalding
- Bread. Stale bread can be softened by placing in a conventional oven for a few minutes. But after more than 10 seconds in a microwave it simply becomes hard due to any moisture it contains being sucked out. A conventional oven can soften bread if placed on a high temperature for a few minutes, the article points out.