To prepare food quickly, many homeowners turn to the microwave. While the microwave certainly offers fast results, they aren't always the best tasting. Therefore, extending cooking time by using a convection oven may be worth the wait. Not as a fast as a microwave, but not as time-consuming as a conventional oven, convection ovens are worth a close look.
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How They Cook
Microwave ovens cook food from the inside out with the use of radio waves. The waves send heat directly to tiny particles inside the food. Convection ovens cook food with a fan that constantly circulates hot air. Hot air blows around the food rather than heat surrounding it, as with a conventional oven.
Convection ovens cook 25 per cent faster than conventional ovens. While cooking time is longer in a convection oven than in a microwave, foods are cooked more evenly, leaving less of a chance for hot or cold spots, which are commonplace when cooking or reheating foods in a microwave. Microwaves cook faster than convection ovens, and the cooking time will vary depending upon the wattage in a microwave, which start at 400 and go up to over 1,000. The more watts, the faster it cooks, but cooking time in a microwave will always be faster than that in a convection oven.
Cooking Selection and Results
Any food that can be cooked in a conventional oven is safe and good to cook in a convection oven. All types of cooking methods, including baking and roasting, produce consistent and edible results in a convection oven. Microwave oven cooking is limited to cooking and reheating. Oftentimes, cooking in a microwave results in burnt or shrunken food.
Some models of microwaves offer a convection feature. Consumers should note that true convection features are found in the built-in wall models, not countertop models. These ovens feature a third element for a proper convection heating. As of 2011, the cost for a built-in or slide in convection oven starts at £975. The average cost for a microwave with a convection feature built-in is £1,300.
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