Increasingly, microwaves are being used to cook fresh produce, too. Solo ones (those without grills or convection heating) can cook vegetables and meat, but it won’t get brown and crispy. Combination microwaves do enable you to crisp up food while cooking it in a microwave, though they tend to be a bit more expensive.
“They’re really useful bits of kit,” says Cobb. “They’re ideal for all vegetables. Once you’ve used one, dare I say you’ll be converted. You’ll think, ‘what’s the point in getting the saucepan out’.”
Are microwave ovens safe?
There have been fears about microwaves almost since they first came on the market. However, when used properly, there is no danger. According to the World Health Organisation, “When used according to manufacturers’ instructions, microwave ovens are safe.” There could be leakage, however, if your microwave is damaged.
“In actual fact, they have very good safety mechanisms,” says Cobb. For example, you can’t turn them on if the door’s open, so none of the heat can get out. Even if it does, it’s non-ionising radiation, so it’s relatively low-energy and won’t ionise atoms and molecules.
There’s also some scaremongering that it’ll spoil the nutrients in food (or that the food will become radioactive). This is unfounded, Cobb informs me. “All it’s doing is agitating the molecules in food or drink. It doesn’t damage them any more than it would if you boiled on the stove. If you boil something to death they break down, and that’s the same in a microwave.” Obviously, ensure any food is thoroughly cooked.