Microwave Cooking: The Green Option

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As you may have noticed, the headline does not have a question mark as it is not – intended to be – a question. It is a statement of fact.

I know that there are many who fall prey to scaremongering from diverse quarters as to the supposed risks to health from the microwave radiation in the food cooked and as to microwave in general. Those who do the scaremongering make mention very often of “nuclear” in the link to “radiation” but microwaves and microwave ovens are no more nuclear than your cell phone or PMR radio (walkie talkie), and no, I kid you not.

From an environmental standpoint the microwave oven is extremely energy efficient. Steaming vegetables can be achieved, in the correct kind of steamer, in a microwave in about 10 minutes, give or take a minute or so. Compare this to 60 minutes in an electric steamer of 1,000 watts. So, there is just simply no contest and the vegetables are as good and tasty (if not more so0 from the microwave steamer as from the other kind of steamer (if you don't overcook them as I did the other day).

However, finding steaming dishes and other special and good ones for the microwave is not always that simple and easy. In most cases – and in the mind of most people – the microwave oven is still only seen as a device in which to heat/reheat food, such as ready meals.

Lild (in the UK), on occasions, seem to have special microwave dishes and bowls, etc., for a variety of uses, including steamers, but it is a case of “on occasions”.

Lakeland, in the Spring 2012 catalog, does have a good selection of them, on the other hand. I had hoped to be able to review a couple of them but have found that they are too big for the small little microwave oven that I have. Guess I need to get a new one. My current one, though, does still work fine even though rather old by now.

I have had great results, as far as steaming of vegetables goes, with a small steamer for microwave ovens from Lidl, made by some German/Swiss plastic engineering company whose name I have forgotten. However, despite the fact that the company is on the European mainland, it is, like the great majority of things today, “Made in China”. And because of those good results I am, nowadays, always on the lookout for good quality microwave cooking “tools”.

When it comes to steaming food – for it is not just vegetables that you can steam in there – the fact that the oven super-heats, for lack of a better term, the water into extremely hot steam, it locks flavors and nutrients even more so than does using other kinds of steamers.

Cooking in the microwave, however, does not only mean steaming food or reheating. There are many other ways one can use a microwave oven for cooking though, personally, I use it mostly for steaming vegetables, etc., and for cooking jacket potatoes.

In just about 10 minutes I have perfect jacket potatoes (no chainsaw or chisel required to get into the thing) compared to around 45 minutes or more in the oven and then needing tools to get through the potato's armor plate.

I came across a great little device for the cooking of jacket potatoes in the microwave some while back in a Charity Shop. It was brand-new in the packet and obviously an unwanted gift. It can cook up to four potatoes at one time and the taters are spiked onto it – thus needing no pricking with knife or fork – and get cooked well through.


This is one of the best microwave cooking “gadgets” in my collection, together with the steamer I got from Lild. However, there are also dishes with lids with vents, egg poachers, and a device for cooking omelets, and that is just in my little personal collection. You can get a great deal more on dishes, etc., to cook properly in the microwave.

And let me say it once again, despite what some people – with an agenda – may wish to tell you... microwave ovens do not use nuclear radiation.

Microwaves are nothing but very high frequency radio waves, that is to say electromagnetic waves, and are on a similar frequency as are microwave communication systems. And no, you cannot pop corn with your cell phone either.

From an energy efficient standpoint and thus a green one a good microwave oven is the cheapest way and form of cooking, also with the slow cooker, the latter, the crock pot, is also coming back in fashion, even with chefs.

© 2011