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Over Range Microwaves - Choosing an Over-the-Range Microwave

cooking food oven heat

Choosing the right microwave oven is becoming more important to the modern kitchen. Some people only use microwaves for reheating dishes or popping popcorn. They will not care what sort or style of microwave they have. As long as they can push a button and pull out their warm food they will be happy.

Most home chefs have realized the microwave can be quite a useful tool and want a few more features. For kitchens with a lack of counter space, the best answer is an over-the-range microwave. They take up no surface area, they have no cords to tangle at the wall socket and they come in all sizes to suit any cooking need. 1.1 cubic foot microwaves can hold something the size of a dinner plate while 2.0 cubic foot over range microwaves can accommodate four full sized dishes.

Power makes a difference. Since over range microwaves are wired directly into the electrical circuits they seldom have power draw issues. However small capacity microwaves can provide as little as 800 watts of power. While strong enough for that bag of popcorn, it may take a long time to heat a chicken breast. Look for one with at least 1000 watts or even 1200. These higher powered microwaves can heat almost anything faster than a conventional oven.

Due to taking on more cooking than reheating duties, some over range microwaves come with large turntables. These rotate the food and allow for even cooking. Some also come with double racks, allowing the chef to heat two items at once. This can be beneficial when juggling all the dishes one needs for a Thanksgiving meal.

The best over range microwaves come with sensor technology. These sensors read the amount of steam food is giving off during cooking and adjusts the heat to be sure the item does not burn. Handy especially when dealing with items that have a high water capacity, sensor microwaves allow for food to be hot inside and out without over cooking. While most microwaves have auto-defrost features, over range microwaves with sensors more accurately determine the amount of time necessary for defrosting and protect the food from defrost damage.

Over range microwaves serve additional purposes. Replacing conventional hoods, they provide a vent to the range. They also light the cooking area making it easier to see as items simmer and boil. Since they also can take on the burden of heating food, they can speed up the cooking process and help get every dish on the table at the same time.

A true chef in training may wish to buy a convection oven. Over range microwaves can come with a convection feature. This allows the cook to place a roast in the microwave and keep their oven free for other baking. Alternatively, the microwave can take care of baking pies and cookies thoroughly in convection mode, leaving the roasting to the conventional oven. The choice really depends upon the height at which the microwave is placed. It may be difficult to hoist a large roast into the highest capacity microwave if that microwave is over one’s head. Instead, save the roast for the conventional oven and microwave the cookies instead.

Efficient cooks will want to look into over range microwaves. With their close proximity to the cooking area, ability to provide light and venting, and their freedom from clutter they help any chef save time and energy during the food preparation process.

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