Advantages of Microwave Sterilization on Condiments

Using microwave as method of sterilization provides several advantages:

Steam sterilization method needs very long time and has bad effects on flavor. A succession of rapid heating and rapid cooling prevents significant flavor changes. Microwave energy provides the rapid heat.

Irradiation destroys the molecular structure and generates harmful irradiation residue. Why use a dangerous method if a safer alternative is available. The microwave energy itself is dangerous as it boils water molecules on path. This danger is easily prevented by a suitable enclosure. More important thing, microwave never leaves residues.

Microwave is very convenient to use. Imagine it as a small piece of gadget house in a box.

Reduced cost. Far more lower cost than steam and irradiation methods. The thing it refers to is the time. More jobs could be done with microwave as compared with two other methods.

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Jackfruit Seeds in Microwave Oven

Jackfruit seed is edible but often discarded after the removal of sweet succulent flesh, the lamukot in Tagalog term.

jackfruit seedsIf someone in the group loves cooking, he is going to collect the seeds, boil it and serve for merienda. It taste good. However, the hard to removed slippery covering is a major limiting factor. Anyone should experience the trouble of removing the peels.

To add more value, I experimented making a fried jackfruit seeds. I removed the peels manually. Cut to reasonable sizes then fried in hot oil. The resulting product was an excellent snack with a combined characteristics of potato and cassava.

I tried another, the microwave oven cooked jackfruit seeds. Removed the seed coverings. Placed it in microwave oven for three minutes at highest setting. Then another two minutes at the same wave.

peeled jackfruit seedThe seeds I got were stored for several nights. Most of the seeds have dry testa as a result. It made the removal easier. A machine specifically design for peeling jackfruit seed would make my work easier. It might revolutionize jackfruit seed processing.

The surface became tough, the inner was dry but softer. After second heating, it became tougher and less enjoyable to eat. This was nothing as compared to boiled and fried seeds.

microwaved jackfruit seeds

Cooking Saba Banana in Microwave Oven

One of the simplest way to cook saba banana is by boiling. Ripe saba bananas are place in pot with water. Then boil for 15 to 30 minutes depending on fruit sizes – larger requires longer cooking times.  During boiling, the banana absorbs water, gelatinization of starch occurs and shows color changes. Bananas of optimum ripeness get bigger, heavier and tougher. Overripes on the other hand get softer and lighter. Both exhibits change in peel and pulp color and taste – brownish peel and pulp color and less sweet taste.

I tried another simple method, cooking bananas in microwave oven. I think it is more simple than boiling. It requires no water and needs lesser cooking time.

Sides of bananas were pierced with a fork. This prevented bursting during very fast heating. Placed directly on rotating plate. Then cooked for two minutes at high setting.

ripe saba banana and fork

The single whole banana was steaming hot from the inside and out. Minimal changes on peel and pulp colors were observed. Overripe bananas exhibited shrinkage while the rest were able to maintain their shapes and sizes. It tasted better than plain ripe and boiled bananas and seemed more attractive.

microwave cooked saba bananamicrowave cooked saba banana peeled

The Pan Roasted Peanuts

A vendor went up the bus shouting, “Mani mani mani, sinangag, walang mantika, hindi pinirito!” (Please buy shelled peanuts, it was roasted, not deep-fried, no extra oil! I was too afraid to buy though. It was the time my friend got hepatitis. His doctor assumed it was due to eating street foods.

Sinangag or sangag – a Tagalog word which means roasted on pan or in rotating drum. No oil is used. Cacao beans and coffee beans are cooked by this process.

The term roasted peanuts means four different things according to various recipes around world wide web, cooking by a) oven heating b) microwave method c) drum roasting – like coffee and cacao and d) frying in little or generous amount of oil. Item “a” and “b “can be done with pods intact.

The last mentioned processing method doesn’t seem right. It does not fit the description of the word “sangag“.The right term for it is fried peanuts. Here is the modified version of item “d”, without cooking oil.

raw shelled peanuts with intact testa

a) Put a frying pan on lpg stove. Set the flame to lowest setting to facilitate slow heat transfer and to prevent scorching. We are aiming for a light roast, not a dark coffee-like roast.

b) Place 250 grams shelled peanuts and one clove crushed garlic. Stir continuously for about 35 minutes or until the testa are brown. Take note that adding more peanuts than indicate will increase roasting time significantly.

pan roasted peanuts

I prefer smaller peanuts with intact testa. Bigger variety without skins, hubad, has inferior taste.

Enjoy crunchy peanuts without oil and salt!

Never Heat Styrofoam Packed Meals in Microwave Oven

I never want a Styrofoam as a food container, but avoiding it is hard. Seminar managements usually serve coffee in Styrofoam cups. Packed meals in canteens, karenderya, fast foods and workshops usually come in Styrofoam packaging. As of date Styrofoam is the most affordable and convenient way to pack ready to eat meals.

I had a bad experience with this Styrofoam thing. A friend of mine bought two pack lunches, one for her and one for me. She reheated the food in microwave oven before serving. To my surprised, the food tasted so bad. I did not tell her and munched all the bad tasting food. She will surely get embarrassed.

I lifted the fried chicken and noticed the curved underneath. The heat produced by the microwave melted it. Some melted substances migrated to food. Some Styrofoam products are safe for microwave heating at certain limits, some are not. They release plasticizers that could cause body harm.

Update as of May 22, 2012, The oil in fried chicken also played a significant role in melting lunchbox. See more explanations on, “Bad Encounters With Oil Plus Polystyrene / Styrofoam”

Microwaves act by exciting water molecules thus producing heat. A piece of microwavable polymer will not produce heat inside microwave oven. However, a plastic or a Styrofoam will still produce heat and melt if filled with moisture rich food before the microwave operation. So a microwave safe Styrofoam might not do the trick.

Packed meals in 7-Eleven 24 Hour Convenient Stores are wrapped with paper cartons. Customers may get them from cold storage and reheat in microwave oven. I guessed the store management is well aware about the bad effects of Styrofoam on human health and environment.