I love to cook with my microwave. Sure, it’s possible to manage without it, and there are better ways to defrost food.
However, there are environmentally sound reasons for preferring it to conventional cooking: It only heats the moisture in food, so more energy is retained. Microwave cooking preserves nutrients in vegetables. And since many microwave utensils can go straight to the table and they scorch less, less water and detergent are needed for washing up.
Because microwaves cook food using electromagnetic radiation, many people are afraid to use them. The FDA discusses the issue here. I’m not here to convince anyone to buy an electrical appliance they don’t feel comfortable with.
But when a post on Green Prophet made questionable claims about microwaved foods, I spoke up in the comments and offered to debunk the claim that seeds watered with microwave-boiled water won’t sprout.
Since I only set out to prove that seeds would sprout in microwave-boiled water, a control was unnecessary. In other words, if those seeds didn’t sprout, nothing would be proven–there are many reasons for seeds not to sprout. Still, I put a few lettuce seeds and two black-eyed peas into each of two cups.
I used a bed of dryer lint, having no cotton balls in the house. I admit there is little environmental justification for a dryer, (though the lint can be used for compost), but I have six kids and it had been a rainy week.
I boiled water in a glass container, let it cool, and poured it on the seeds. For the control I used water boiled in a kettle on top of the stove.
The lettuce seeds sprouted after only two or three days, and the peas are starting to sprout too. It’s true that more seeds sprouted from the water boiled conventionally, but seeds are unpredictable. At any rate the microwave did not alter the water enough to prevent sprouting.
My son decided to do a further experiment. A Hebrew book for children, Mahapach, collects scientific experiments intended to “prove” the truth of Judaism.
According to the book, experiments have shown that plants that have been verbally cursed grow more slowly than others. Without asking me, my son shouted into the cup with the microwaved water. (The seeds had sprouted so it didn’t affect our experiment.) I’m afraid that the other sprouts were close enough to hear, so I’m not sure of the validity of this part of the experiment. I wonder, though, whether plants understand Hebrew. What if a Hebrew curse is a blessing in another language?
This post originally appeared on Green Prophet and is reprinted with permission.