When choosing a new cooking appliance for the kitchen, you may get confused between a microwave vs stove. Both cooking appliances have become common in modern kitchens nowadays. However, each of them actually possesses distinctive advantages and disadvantages. Which one does give healthier and tastier foods? Which one is more efficient and environment-friendly?
In this article, you can find out more about
– How microwaves and stoves work,
– The pros and cons of a microwave vs stove, and
– Which one that is generally more recommended.
How a Microwave Works
Conventional cooking methods typically transfer heat from the outside of the food to the inside. This process may take a while. You know how long it can be if you have ever tried frantically to roast a frozen turkey. See also: Convection Oven vs Regular Oven.
A microwave is very different from other cooking methods because it cooks from the inside of the food. A microwave cooking appliance is designed to form electromagnetic radiation inside the container. When absorbed, the radiation interacts with the food’s molecules and generates heat. Hence, the food is cooked from the inside first.
A microwave uses a magnetron tube to convert electricity into electromagnetic radiation. The microwave radiation is able to travel through glass, but reflected by metals. This is why microwaves have metal cases and screens.
Pros of a Microwave
The very first advantage of a microwave is that it can cook much more quickly than other cooking methods. The microwave radiation does not need to heat up the surrounding air. The heating is entirely concentrated on the food. This is very convenient when you are very busy or in a hurry.
The second advantage of a microwave is that it can preserve some nutrients. According to Wikipedia, spinach can retain almost all folate when cooked in a microwave. Other cooking methods which use liquids, such as water or cooking oil, can wash away some nutrients from the food. A microwave can keep the nutrients inside the food. However, keep in mind that excessive heat can break proteins, important acids, and vitamins regardless of the cooking method.
Cons of a Microwave
A microwave is actually more efficient than most ovens, but it is still less efficient than stoves. Some studies have shown that microwaves consume slightly more energy than comparable stoves. However, the difference is not very dramatic, so you don’t need to worry very much.
Some people say that foods cooked by microwaves don’t look or taste nice. Since the heating is from the inside, the surface does not experience a browning process. Hence, the color may remain unattractive. Also, without the browning process, the taste of the food may remain bland. One potential workaround is by wrapping the food in a piece of aluminum foil which will absorb the heat and simulate the browning process.
You should not heat plastics and dyes in microwaves, as they may release carcinogenic chemicals. Microwaving a food with uneven water content may result in uneven heating, which may allow dangerous microorganisms like Salmonella and Clostridia to survive. To avoid this problem, turn or stir the food occasionally if possible and make sure the food is thoroughly heated before eating.
How a Stove Works
There are now many stove models. The traditional ones are typically fueled by gas, these models usually work with gas tanks or gas lines. A gas stove works by burning the fuel through the top.
Nowadays, electric models are also very popular. An electric stove works by converting electricity into heat, which is then conducted through the top.
Pros of a Stove
The first advantage of a stove is that it generally gives better cooking results. Cooking with a stove allows the browning process which will make the look more attractive and the taste richer. Also, the heat distribution is generally more even, so you can cook the food evenly more easily.
The second advantage of a stove is that it is generally more energy-efficient than microwaves. It consumes lower energy than microwaves for cooking similar foods. However, the difference is not very significant.
Cons of a Stove
The disadvantage of conventional cooking with a stove is that it takes much longer. Some foods take really long to cook, such as thick meats. This is especially true when you need to cook a frozen food. You need to give some time for the frozen food to thaw before cooking, otherwise the cooking won’t be even.
Microwave vs Stove
|- Cooks from the inside of the food||- Cooks from the outside to the inside|
|- Significantly faster cooking||- Much slower cooking|
|- Consumes slightly more energy||- Consumes slightly less energy|
|- Does not cause a browning process||- Browning makes more attractive look and flavor|
|- May cause uneven cooking||- Less risk of uneven cooking|
Although a microwave is very convenient with the quick cooking process, a stove is generally better. It has better energy efficiency and overall cooking performance. With a stove, you can make the food look more attractive and taste more flavorful. It also allows more even and thorough cooking.