Ok - here's a strange one. My wife diced up about a quarter of a green
peper this morning and put it in our 10-year-old Hotpoint vented
counter-saver microwave (Model RVM125K003) to soften them before adding them
to an omlette. I heard her scream from the kitchen and ran in to see the
green peppers jumping and sparking, with flames shooting out of the dices.
There were no sparks in the microwave itself - they were only coming from
At first I thought there must be some metal in the bowl. I took the bowl
out, diced up another green pepper, put it in a different bowl, popped it
back in - same thing. So I started doing a serious of experiments. I diced
up a carrot, put it in a different bowl again - and the same thing happened.
Flames and sparks shooting from the carrots, but nowhere else in the
microwave. After letting it go only 4 or 5 seconds, when I took it out, the
carrots were singed black in spots. On to another vegetable - this time a
diced stalk of celery. Same result. Sparks and flames from the vegetable.
I moved on to a slice of bread - this time no sparks or flames, but within
seconds steam started coming from the bread. At first I thought it was
smoke, but it didn't smell like smoke, so I think it was steam. Then I put
in just a plain bowl of water and it started steaming pretty fast too. Some
leftover soup from the fridge didn't do anything.
A quick search on the internet revealed that some vegetables can contain
trace amounts of minerals which can cause sparks and flames, and they finger
carrots and green peppers (see
http://website.lineone.net/~stolarczyk/trivia2.html and page down to the ICY
SPARKS FROM YOUR CARROTS section and also see
http://www.public.coe.edu/departments/Chemistry/research.html and page down
to the FOOD CHEMISTRY section).
Anyways, in 10 years of cooking in this microwave, it has never happened
before. I'm wondering if this is a sign my microwave is about to die. So
my questions to the group are :
1) Anyone else experience this ? What was your determination/solution ?
2) Is my microwave about to die ?
3) Should I keep using it, or is my microwave maybe focusing it's waves to a
Thanks to all for reading this.