Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sparking Carrots??!!

Over the weekend I made Millie some diced carrots by cutting them into small cubes and simmering them in chicken stock until they were soft enough for her to mash with her little tooth-less gums (she is 8 1/2mos and still no teeth!). Today I wanted to warm them a little before giving them to her so I put them in the microwave for 11 seconds. Three seconds...yes, THREE seconds later it looked like the Fourth of July. Sparks were FLYING! Are you kidding me? I took them out quickly to see if in my usual mindless lunchtime haste I had put something metallic into the bowl, but there was nothing in there but tiny little charred pieces of carrot.

I had to bring Jon in to take a look. I just couldn't believe this. The whole purpose of me making the carrots myself was to know exactly what was in the food I would be giving my little Mills. Anyway, he couldn't believe it either.
So of course I had to get online and find out if this was 'normal' or if I had just witnessed a fluke occurence? What was going on?
Unfortunately, I was dissapointed to find no concrete answers. Everywhere I looked seemed to have a different assumption than the next, but these are the reasons I found:

From the USDA website:
"Some foods such as raw carrots and hot dogs can cause arcing while being microwaved. In hot dogs, this can be due to the uneven mixing of salts and additives. In carrots, it can be due to the minerals in the soil in which they were grown. Whatever the cause, turn off the oven immediately to end the sparks"

Some sites mention that it has to do with the higher amount of minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium) in carrots -and a few other veggies.

Others say if the carrots are cut with metal knives and have sharp edges/corners that the electrons congretate at the ends and jump from one piece to the other??
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that a cut edge of the fruit or vegetable must be present, touching that of another cut edge, for the phenomenon to occur. This phenomenon seems similar to that of the 'edge effect' where electrons congregate at the sharp edges and point of a metal in an electric field and can discharge via a spark to another edge or point nearby."

Doe anyone else think it is crazy?
Whatever the reason, it is still unnerving to me. Am I the only one who has witnessed this?

If you don't believe me, and don't have the time to experiment on your own, I found this clip on YouTube that looked EXACTLY like what happened in my kitchen today...right down the to bowl they used. Now you can experience flaming carrots without the fire hazard!


The Blissfully Happy Housewife said...

That is CRAZY!!! I actually had something similiar happen to me with BUTTER!!! I don't microwave things that often but I had to soften butter and that seemed to be the quickest route...stuck the butter in and sparks!! It does kind of make you wonder what is IN the food that can cause that?!!!

Thanks again for the hearing from you!!


Bobbie said...

Crazy!!! I've never heard of carrots 'sparking'. I certainly understand your concern... you've
'sparked' my interest.