NEW YORK — All microwave ovens are not created equal. Just as microwave ovens vary in size, shape and color, their cooking power--or wattage--varies from oven to oven.
Wattage affects cooking times, so it helps to know your microwave oven's wattage. However, according to the Campbell Microwave Institute, 88% of microwave oven owners don't know their oven's wattage, or they guess incorrectly.
What's your watt? Here's a simple water test from the institute to help you determine your oven's wattage in minutes:
--Fill a glass measuring cup with exactly one cup of tap water.
--Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH (100% power) until water begins to boil. Start by setting the timer at three minutes.
--If the water boils in less than three minutes, the oven's wattage is 600 to 700 watts. If the water boils in three to four minutes, the oven's wattage is 500 to 600 watts. If the water boils in more than four minutes, the oven's wattage is less than 500 watts.
Once you have determined the oven's wattage, you can adjust cooking times to achieve more precise results. Many microwave recipes and package directions are developed for 600- to 700-watt ovens. If your oven is less than 600 watts, you'll need to add extra time to each step of the cooking directions.