proper way to boil water with a microwave

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Never having owned a microwave, what's the proper way to simply boil water?

    I had some oatmeal to make (instant, just add boiling water kind) and my bowl was aluminum. I know enough not to use metal in a microwave though so I took three plastic cups (my friend had oatmeal too) with water and simply put it on the microwave tray. After about 2 minutes it was only tepid so we gave up since we were in a rush. We were in a motel and using their microwave at 4am in the morning..

    Are we supposed to cover the cup with some kind of plastic wrap or what? I know the oatmeal instructions tell you to mix the water in the oatmeal and then microwave it but we couldn't do that.

    Jay
     
  2. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Water takes forever to boil in a microwave. It depends on the container, but paper is better than styrofoam. It also depends on the quality (wattage?) of the microwave and probably the motel one wasn't so great. The microwave where I work can take 7-10 min to boil one small cup of water. Also, putting only one up in there at a time will yield better results.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    A cup of water should boil in about 3 minutes in the average microwave. Larger amounts and multiple containers will take longer.
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Put a wooden chopstick in the container when you boil water in the microwave. The stick breaks the surface tension of the water and gives a place for vapor to collect. If you have ever added sugar or a teabag to microwave heated water and had the "whoosh" of steam shoot up, this trick with the chopstick will eliminate that, as weel as boiling faster.
     
  5. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    I will have to try the chopstick thing never heard that before. Do you think a toothpick would work?
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Please exert some caution while boiling water in the microwave.

    --
    Holadem
     
  7. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks folks, in hindsight, we probably could of put the oatmeal in the plastic cups we were using, just small amounts in each.. D'oh! At 4am, your mind isn't thinking straight anyway. [​IMG]

    Didn't know it could take up to 7 minutes and the microwave was a dinky looking Sanyo.. I thought 2 minutes was long and didn't want to wait to long so we had it warm. Oatmeal turned out OK though...

    Holadem: Interesting, I'll keep that in mind! I rarely use a microwave or a cell phone... Call me a technophobe!

    Jay
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I don't know about a toothpick, I think the chopstick was used because it extends from the bottom of the container to up and through the top, thus breaking the surface tension. BTW, I learned this trick from the Food Network show "Good Eats" with Alton Brown. Anything Alton says is good enough for me.

    Holadem, the link you posted is exactly the effect the chopstick is supposed to eliminate. The wooden chopstick gives an area of small imperfections (wood is coarse, not smooth like the surface of a cup or bowl) which allows bubbles to form. This, along with breaking the surface tension, allows normal boiling of the water and prevents superheating.
     
  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    You have to turn the microwave on its back, otherwise the water runs out the door. [​IMG]
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I use one of those glass measuring cups to boil water.
    [​IMG]

    One cup of water only takes like 3 minutes and when it's done boiling, it's easy to pour out (i.e. the handle doesn't get too hot), just be careful not to let your knuckles touch the part where the water is when you grab the handle.
     
  11. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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  12. Shawn McBride

    Shawn McBride Stunt Coordinator

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    It's called superheating.

    I had it happen to me once when I was heating water in a glass measuring cup. The microwave was eye level, right above the stove so the water was going and I was at the stove cooking something and then "WHOOSH!!" [​IMG] I jumped backwards and nearly landed in my sink. The inside of the microwave was totally wet and there was only ~1/4 cup of water left in the jar. I'm glad it went off before I opened the door!

    Shawn
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Yes Shawn, you should ALWAYS pay attention when heating water. Once it starts to boil, stop the microwave.

    Those movies (from the link you provided) are pretty wild. Although, I usually pour the water into whatever I need the water for and never do like they did (i.e. Pour coffee ground into the measuring cup with the hot water)

    I guess I've never experienced this "superheating" because all of my measuring cups are pretty beat up [​IMG]
     
  14. Shawn McBride

    Shawn McBride Stunt Coordinator

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