Microwave ovens cook food by using microwaves which penetrate the food. This causes moisture molecules to vibrate and heat up. Microwaved food continues cooking for 2-4 minutes after the cooking period is finished so allow for this to avoid overcooking.
The more water in the food the more quickly it cooks and as most vegetables are more than 90% water they cook quickly.
Cook vegetables on high power (100%) or automatic function, if possible, to take out guesswork. The power supply to microwave ovens varies so consult the microwave's manual for specific cooking times.
To prepare vegetables for microwaving:
- Cut vegetables into uniformly sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
- Use only a small quantity of water. Usually the water left clinging to leaves after washing is sufficient.
- Pierce whole or unpeeled vegetables before cooking to prevent bursting.
- Cover the dish with a plate, lid or plastic film to speed cooking and to keep vegetables moist.
- Arrange vegetables with the thickest stalks or spears, which need the most cooking, towards the outside of the dish.
- Season vegetables after cooking. Salting may cause vegetables to lose moisture during cooking.
Cooking times also depend on:
- the size of vegetables
- the quantity being cooked
- the density and moisture content of the vegetable
- the characteristics of your oven
- any power fluctuations in your area