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Convection Microwave Ovens - The Benefits of Convection Microwave Ovens

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One of the most misunderstood and, thus, least popular of kitchen appliances are convection microwave ovens. These ovens have received a bad rap because they are confused with standard microwave ovens that are notorious for producing odd-tasting and badly cooked foods, especially when it comes to meat products. Convection microwave ovens, however, are not just a microwave oven and technology over the past decade has progressed as to where this combination unit has revolutionized cooking.

Convection microwave ovens combine the features of both a standard oven and a microwave oven. They can be used in three different ways: as a microwave oven, as a regular oven, or using both features in conjunction as a rapid-bake oven. The best convection microwave ovens have full-featured control sets that allow for fine-tuning exactly how your food is to be cooked.

The makers of these types of ovens understand the disadvantages of microwave cooking, but they also understand that controlled microwaves can be an overall benefit to cooking without destroying the flavor or the texture of the food. Many people use a combination of the two ovens anyway, just in their separate appliances. It has become common to defrost frozen foods first in a microwave before cooking it in a regular radiant or convection oven.

Since microwave convection ovens have a standard radiant heat source they can cook foods to crispy goodness like a regular oven. A benefit is that instead of simply radiant heat like in the ovens most of us use, microwave convection ovens use a fan so the heat is circulated evenly throughout the oven. This makes for more even cooking and faster cook times.

At their best, microwave convection ovens can cook a meal from frozen to fully-done in one appliance at half the time of using only a regular oven. The cycles work automatically so microwaves are used more for the initial defrosting than for doing any actual cooking. This type of cooking is also known as stage cooking. Using stage cooking, a whole chicken can be roasted in as little as 14 minutes and still be cooked more thoroughly and evenly than in a standard oven.

One of the reasons why convection microwave ovens are not more popular in U.S. homes is that people think the fast cooking times are too good to be true. Many people are surprised to learn that some of their favorite foods at their favorite restaurants are cooked in staged cooking units. These appliances have also already caught on in Europe and are used in many homes there.

Microwave convection ovens are made in two different styles: full-size commercial models and countertop models. Full-size models are usually prohibitively expensive for most homes, and so they are used mostly in restaurants. Prices can run anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. Countertop models are just now catching on in the United States. They are priced from $140 to $999. Some of them are quite large for countertop units and can accommodate full meals and whole turkeys. The lower-priced models are usually basic models with low feature-sets and not a lot of interior space. Some of the top brands to produce highly-rated microwave convection ovens include GE, Whirlpool, and Bosch.

Here is a recap of the benefits of microwave convection ovens:

  • Fast cooking and roasting with browning and crispiness options and temperatures ranging from 225F to 450F.
  • Food can be heated or cooled with convection fans.
  • Less oil is required than for regular oven and stovetop cooking.
  • Operates at cooler temperatures than regular ovens.

Even though modern technology has eliminated most of the disadvantages of microwave convection ovens, a few still exist:

  • Certain metals can cause microwave electricity arcs.
  • Foods must be watched more carefully because fast cooking times can also mean fast burning times.
  • Countertop microwave convection ovens can be difficult to clean.
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