Yes. You can boil water in a microwave. Since its invention in the 1940s, the microwave has become a very important appliance in many households.
It is famous for the versatility and convenience it offers in the kitchen. While there have been controversies regarding the safety of a microwave, especially in boiling water, the answers to these questions have remained undefined.
In this article, we will look at whether it is safe to boil water in a microwave, how to boil it, and the necessary safety precautions to take.
How a Microwave Boils Water
Microwaves heat water using electromagnetic waves. These waves quickly cause friction amongst water molecules to produce heat.
The heat generated can go up to 100 degrees Celsius, which is the boiling point of water. Electromagnetic waves in a microwave heat water molecules at random spots. If the water is not heated long enough, it will not be heated uniformly.
Pockets of hot boiling water may be lying over a layer of cold water. Therefore, ensure that you stir the water with a spoon before using it.
Some people continue to argue about the effects of using microwaves. However, there is no conclusive evidence that microwaves cause any threat to well being. This indicates that microwaves are safe in preparing water and other meals.
How to Boil Water in Microwave
Before you start boiling water using a microwave, make sure you have the right container. Some materials like glass, ceramic, and paper plates can be used while materials like aluminum; parchment paper, and sealed airtight containers should be avoided. After choosing the right boiling container, follow the following steps to boil water safely in a microwave:
- Pour water into a microwave-safe container that you have selected. Make sure the container is not sealed or covered to avoid harmful explosions.
- Insert a microwave object into the water. This object prevents superheating. When water is superheated, it means that water goes beyond its boiling point and cannot form nucleation sites for bubbles. Superheated water is the reason why there is a small explosion whenever a nucleation point is created. The object that you place in the water acts as a nucleation point for the production of bubbles.
- Put water in the microwave and heat it in short regular intervals of about one and a half minute until it starts steaming.
- Use a thermometer to know if your water has boiled. You will know water has boiled if its temperature is 100°C. You can use a potholder to avoid burns while holding the thermometer.
- If you are boiling water to sterilize it, boil it long enough kill germs and other microorganisms. The recommended boiling duration is one to three minutes.
Precautions to follow when boiling Water in a Microwave
As mentioned above, superheating can cause small water explosions in the microwave. Follow the following tips to go around the problem of superheating;
Heat Water for Short Stretches
Water cannot be superheated if the boiling point is not exceeded. The heating duration per stretch can vary based on the amount of water you are heating, and the type of microwave you are using. But to be on the safe side, you can use a heating stretch of one minute and then vary it depending on how the water is heated.
Avoid Using Very Smooth Heating Containers
In addition to placing a non-metallic object in the water, use a rough or older container. Older containers have stretches and cracks at the bottom. These marks, stretches, and cracks act as nucleation sites to aid the formation of bubbles to avoid superheating.
Confirm If the Water Has Finished Boiling
Use a long tool or cooking stick to gently tap the side of the container after it has finished boiling. If there is any superheated water, there will be a burst in the boiling pot. If water spills, it will spill in the microwave and thus you will avoid burns.
Stir the Water While it’s Still in the Microwave
With a long microwave object, stir the hot water while it is still in the microwave to check if there is any superheated water. Introducing this object will act as a nucleation site.
If there is superheated water, it will burst and spill. If it doesn’t, then your water is safe.
Watch Your Face Until you are sure that the water is safe
keep your face away from the container having the hot water. If by any chance superheated water bursts while your face is over it, it may cause serious burns.
Conclusion on Boiling water in a Microwave
Boiling water using a microwave is convenient and safe, especially when the amount of water is small. Currently, there are no proven effects associated with water boiled in a microwave. Therefore, you should feel free to boil your water anytime using a microwave as long as you adhere to the things explained above.