MLA Citation: Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 1148"
How Everything Works 19 Jan 2018. 19 Jan 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=1148>.
1148. I recently place a green tomato in the microwave oven. I forgot to turn on the microwave and in the morning the tomato was ripe. Can you explain this? — KH
No. When a microwave oven is off, the cooking chamber contains nothing special at all—just some trapped air and perhaps a little light that enters through the window. Even when it is operating, a microwave oven never produces any ionizing (high energy) radiation so there are no long-term effects such as radioactivity present in the cooking chamber when the oven is off. The tomato was simply sitting in a sealed metal box overnight. Since some fruits ripen faster in sealed environments, perhaps that accounts for your observation.

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