A microwave is a kitchen staple in South African households – but most people aren’t using this handy kitchen aid to its best advantage by simply using it to reheat food and cook a few basic items. But in order to get the most out of your microwave, it is important to understand its key features and capabilities. This will also give you a good point of departure when comparing microwave models when it is time to buy a new one. Seartec, proud distributor of Sharp, provides some insight into what makes the microwave such a convenient and powerful must-have appliance.
Convection versus grill microwaves
If the thought of baking a cake or roasting a chicken in the microwave with the touch of a few buttons seems strange or too good to be true, think again. Certain microwaves, known as combination microwaves not only have the ability to heat food via conventional convection (the movement of hot air), but also have a heating element which can grill, brown and crisp food. Home cooked meals will be just as appetizing as if they had come straight from a regular oven, but the cooking time is greatly reduced in a microwave.
What’s the wattage?
The higher the wattage, the more powerful the microwave, taking less time to heat or cook food. Microwave wattages range from 300 upwards, but for speed and efficiency, 700 watts or more is ideal. It is important to note that recipes need to be adjusted to match the wattage of the microwave, in order to prevent food from being over- or undercooked. A conversion chart can be found here: https://www.microwavecookingforone.com/Charts/
Quick menus and smart sensors
Pre-programmed menu functions, auto-defrost options and auto-reheat buttons take the guesswork out of preparing food. Some microwaves give you the option to cook popular menus from frozen or chilled, as well as allowing you to enter the weight or quantity of food in order for the microwave to calculate the correct cooking time. There are also microwaves with sensors that detect the level of moisture in the food, in order to adjust the time and power level accordingly for food that is perfectly prepared and piping hot.
If you are cooking for a large family, the capacity of the microwave needs to be considered. Smaller microwaves have a capacity of around 20 – 25 litres, but if this is increased, it gives you greater flexibility in terms of the number and size of the dishes that can be prepared in the microwave.
Microwaves with a power saving mode are both kinder to the environment and lighter on the pocket, and thus this is a feature well worth considering.
So how does the Sharp R-990N microwave measure up?
Sharp’s R-990N microwave is an 850 watt combination convection and grill microwave with a roomy 40 litre capacity and two shelves for double-layer cooking. It has auto roast, auto grill, auto bake and easy defrost keys, auto-cook menus and an absolute humidity sensor that adjusts cooking time. Plus, it is set up with an energy-saving mode which switches the power off automatically if the microwave is not in use. This powerful appliance comes in a sleek and elegant design, and was voted Fair Lady magazine’s “Consumer Best Buy” for 2014.