Why Don’t Microwaves Use Infrared Instead to Heat Up Food? (Oh, So That’s Why!)
Have you ever heard of those brand new infrared cooking appliances that everyone’s talking about?
The NuWave Oven was one of those, and they mentioned that this is something that can replace your microwave.
You’re right to be a little skeptical, but have you ever wondered how microwaves cook and what makes them different from infrared?
If you’ve ever wondered why microwaves don’t use infrared, then I’ve got the answer for you.
Why don’t microwaves use infrared instead to heat up food?
Microwaves have been a popular way to heat up food for many years. But you might be wondering why they don’t use infrared radiation instead. After all, infrared is better at heating things up evenly.
The reason microwaves don’t use infrared radiation has to do with the amount of energy that each type of heater uses. Microwave heaters deposit more energy into the food than infrared heaters do, but require less power and time to do so. The advantages of speed, efficiency, and convenience gave the process of microwaving a clear win.
Microwaving food efficiently excites the water molecules inside that food and almost instantaneously brings it to a boil, which means that your food will be cooked quicker with microwaves.
Think of infrared cooking as a slow burner. It takes a lot more time and a lot more power to get your meal cooked. Fortunately, food that you cook with infrared processes is oftentimes tastier than microwaved food. Infrared radiation is good for toasting and broiling items, but it’s not as practical for heating up an entire meal.
However, for the last decade or so, there have been many breakthroughs regarding infrared technology for cooking. Take the NuWave oven, for example. It uses infrared technology to cook, but at the same time, it runs everything through a fan, sort of like an air fryer.
What’s the difference between infrared and microwave cooking?
There are some differences in infrared and microwave cooking. Infrared cooking uses infrared heat to heat food. Infrared radiation is not affected by the wind or by any other outside factors and only stops once it reaches a solid object, this means, your food. This also means that the food is heated more evenly and quicker. With microwave cooking, the microwaves bounce around and go into and through the food to heat up the water molecules in the food and force them to move quickly and generate heat.
Infrared cooking is effective, but it is not as effective as microwave heating, and it might not cook your food as quickly as microwave cooking will. It is also harder to direct and might not be something that is readily available to everyone as a means of cooking.
The heat source
Infrared cooking uses a glass tube that contains specific ceramic, metal, and glass components that are used to help direct the heat and minimize the output. These quartz tubes help to direct the heat only on the food and help to reduce the convection heat that is going on in the infrared grill.
With a microwave, an electron tube called a magnetron creates the microwaves that are then reflected around the cavity of the microwave oven to go through the food and create the movement in the water molecules that create the heat.
The time it takes to cook
Microwaves are perhaps the fastest means of cooking food that is currently on the market. While something like an air fryer is also fast, between infrared heating and microwave heating, microwaves are going to be faster.
The main time issue with infrared heat is that you are going to need to dedicate some time to preheating to ensure that your infrared grill is ready to work and ready to heat properly.
The power efficiency
Microwaves are designed these days to be very energy efficient. Most newer microwaves are designed specifically with energy savings in mind. With infrared cookers, you do have a bit more heat loss, and it does use a bit more energy than a microwave.
That being said, infrared cookers are still much more efficient than induction cooktops and also more efficient than convection ovens. If you have the choice between the two and are concerned about energy savings, a microwave is going to be more efficient and use less energy overall than an infrared cooker is going to use overall.
What is the difference in power consumption between infrared and microwave?
When it comes to energy consumption, an infrared grill uses about 1750 watts per hour when it is in use. Microwaves generally use between 800 and 1800 watts per hour for a standard-sized model. The main difference is the amount of time that the machine is in use.
Even if your microwave uses more than 1800 watts, it is only going to be in use for a few minutes at a time. With infrared grills, they need both time to heat up and time to cook, which means that you are going to leave them on for longer than you would a microwave.
So, even if the energy savings are a little more than a microwave, you are not going to be running your microwave for an hour.
Are there any microwaves that use infrared?
There are some models of microwave that use infrared heat to cook instead of traditional microwave heating. These machines are referred to as “radiant heat cooking devices” rather than microwaves.
Is cooking with infrared safe?
When it comes to cooking, there are a variety of ways to do so. You can use an oven, a stovetop, a microwave, or even an infrared grill. But what is infrared cooking? Infrared radiation is electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength just a little longer than that of visible light and produces heat when it strikes something. This type of radiation is often used in industrial settings and in medical treatments.
But can you safely cook with infrared at home? The answer is yes, but you should take some precautions. Because this type of radiation produces such high heat, it’s important to be careful not to burn yourself or others while cooking.
That said, there is no scientific evidence that suggests using infrared for cooking is unsafe in any way. In fact, many people enjoy the taste and texture that food cooked with infrared provides. Just be sure to follow some basic safety guidelines and enjoy your meal!
Is infrared food carcinogenic?
There is some concern that infrared cooking may be linked to cancer, but there is no evidence that this type of cooking actually causes the disease.
While it’s true that high-heat cooking can create carcinogens in food, there is no evidence that these compounds cause cancer.
In fact, the National Cancer Institute says that meat cooked at high temperatures produces HCAs, while smoking creates PAHs, both of which are known carcinogens.
However, the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research doesn’t have guidelines on how much HCA and PAH should be avoided to prevent cancer.
So, while it’s important to be aware of these potential dangers, moderation is key, so try cooking with infrared equipment that best suits your lifestyle!
Does infrared destroy nutrients?
The main issue with infrared heating is that it does destroy B12 in foods. If you are not concerned about B12 in your food, you do not have to worry about infrared heating destroying other nutrients in the food that you are heating.
Which method gets hotter: infrared or microwaving?
Microwaves can only reach about 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius, as this is the temperature at which water boils. There is not really any way to measure this for every microwave, since microwaves use the forced motion of water molecules to create heat.
Infrared grills can get much hotter. They can reach up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that they are also a bit more dangerous to operate than microwaves.
With microwaves, they are confined, and the food is the only thing that is going to heat up.
With an infrared grill, the grill itself gets very hot. This means you do need to take a bit more care and be a bit more cautious with an infrared grill.
What kitchen appliances use infrared to cook food?
There are a few different kitchen appliances that use infrared heat to cook. Toasters, some infrared cooktop stoves, and even some grill pans that are plugged in use infrared heat to heat up. Many glass-top stoves use infrared heat to heat up the burner and then heat the food. Some countertop ovens and heaters also use infrared heat to produce heat.
Other interesting articles: