why does butter explode in the microwave

OIL HONEY EDITIONP Did you ever have a bowl of melting butter explode in your microwave? PI hope you didn t, but if you have you can relate to the mess it makes and how difficult it is to remove the grease from the inside of the microwave! I have the answer and the product needed to remove the grease quickly and easily, with no harsh chemicals or nasty smells. This weekend I was on a mission to bake a double batch of brownies for our neighborhood Halloween get together. PI needed to melt two sticks of butter to make a double batch of these rich, chocolate treats. PI placed the two sticks of butter into a microwave safe pyrex bowl and hit the melt button. PAfter 30 seconds the butter wasn t fully melted so I added 15 seconds more
BIG mistake! PI heard a loud POP and felt that sinking feeling you know the one where you know something went awry! Oh yeah. when I pulled open the microwave door, melted yeah, now it was melted, and grease was splattered all inside the microwave, the top, bottom, sides, the door and puddled on the glass tray. PI might ve uttered an expletive or two, maybe ten! I can verify with uncertainty that wiping up the grease, even with a hot cloth, will not remove the grease effectively! PHere is the answer ~ Lemon Essential Oil. P Not only does it smell fresh and clean and yummy but just a few drops on a paper towel wiped my entire microwave spotlessly clean. PNo harsh chemicals, no overpowering smells up my nose, and no more grease!


PBoom yes Lemon Essential Oil was and is the answer! I did wipe out as much mess as possible with a hot cloth first but was left with a residue of grease on all the surfaces. PThis is where the lemon oil kicked butt and finished the job! PAs always if you d like to learn more about EO s please don t hesitate to contact me at my email, via my FB page or leave a comment on this post! Be sure you don t miss any Sunday Stinger posts subscribe to The Orange Bee above! So to preface this, I'm going to be very clear that what I'm writing is not based on any real knowledge I have about how microwaves and chemistry works, and it is 99% based on information I read on the internet from sometimes sketchy websites (the 1% was based on conversations I had with Jeff while he was playing Halo). When we were in Michigan we were sitting down enjoying dinner when my sister and brother-in-law told us about a butter sparking problem they were having with their microwave. About a year ago (I think) they were trying to soften some butter in the microwave in a Denby (microwave safe) dish. After about 2 seconds there was a spark that shot across the microwave. They took it out and it didn't happen again until several weeks ago when it started happening regularly, that is, every time they tried to microwave butter. - it happens well well before the butter melts, generally after 2 seconds or so We sat at the dinner table and peppered them with questions for the rest of the evening, not able to find anything obvious (we had 4 young well educated people: chemistry, engineering and biology majors sitting at the table, so hopefully our minds were at least asking the right questions).


No physics majors though. So we left without any answers, but I promised to blog about it if my sister showed me. So we went back to their house and stuck a piece of butter in. After about 1 second there was a PPPSSSHHHT! noise but no spark, but sister immediately stopped the microwave, although she was sure it would have sparked if she would have left it going. So, after a bit of research on the web, here's my own personal crazy theory. Two things are fairly well documented on the web (life lessons according to the interweb are often dangerous, but keeps things exciting, right? ): 1. Microwaves spark on a more regular basis than you might imagine. Usually when this happens it is because it is dirty. It sounds like there is some side panel which is what gets dirty and the oil/food on there burns and sparks. I think that can be cleaned or replaced to solve the general sparking problem. But their problem only happened with butter. 2. Others have reported a butter sparking problem or other one-food related sparking problem. To explain this issue, a little background.


Microwaves work by heating up the water in food (more specifically, it's a factor of the polarity of the water - at least according to some website). Microwaves are well absorbed by water, but not well absorbed by ice. So here's my theory, assuming they don't have a dirty panel (which could cause sparking generally), I think when they start the microwave one bit of the cold butter starts to melt, and the liquid absorbs way way way more microwaves than the rest of the "pat" of butter (this was documented, that it can happen within a second). This large absorption of microwaves in relation to the rest of the butter causes the spark or at least the PPPPPPSSSSHHHHT! noise we heard. In addition, butter itself is a dipole and can get very very very hot in the microwave, so it seems reasonable to assume that in one or two seconds one little bit could melt and start absorbing more waves than the surrounding butter. How's that for an uneducated guess at butter sparking? There is also the well-documented experiment of grapes sparking in the microwave (actually, flaming), which is due to some very long complicated explanation which I didn't have the patience to read. So it is also possible that whatever causes grapes to flame might also cause their butter to spark. I'm not sure though. I think the mystery still continues. But if anyone knows why this might be happening, let me know!

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