What is induction cooking?
Depending on who you talk to, this futuristic way of cooking can be very complicated or explained very simply… let’s try to make this easy! In order to cook food, a heat source is required such as an oven, cooktop or when camping, a barbecue or even a wood fire! Cooktops have evolved over the years and the newer ones now offer “induction” cooktops. Induction cooktops use an electromagnetic field to heat up a pan or saucepan; heat is transferred through metal properties of booth the cooktop and the cooking vessel while leaving the cooking surface cool to the touch. And contrary to an oven or traditional element, they do not heat the air around the cooktop…great news during those hot summer days. Induction ranges are also much safer and more energy efficient than either gas or electric ranges….great news for your budget! Although it seems complicated, here are the basic facts on induction cooking:
- An induction cooktop always stays cool to the hand, thus being the safest cooktop to have in the kitchen, especially with small children.
- For the induction cooktop to work, you need cooking vessels that are “induction ready”. Cookware pieces typically have a special steel disk that reacts with the induction cooktop and when in contact, generates heat to the cooking vessel itself.
- More and more companies offer cooking vessels that are induction ready.
- It’s much more energy efficient because less energy is wasted by heating up the air around the pot. As an example, when using a gas stove, only 40% of the heat is transferred to the cookware, the other 60% being wasted into the air.
- Because the surface does not heat up unless a cookware vessel touches it, when your sauces spill, they don’t cook on the cooktop, making it much easier to clean.
- Food heats up much quicker as no heat is wasted; boiling water takes half the time. You can test this by putting ice in a saucepan…it will boil in less than two minutes!
- One downfall of induction cooking: people with pacemakers should not use them because of the electromagnetic fields created.
How do I know if my cookware is induction ready? As a general rule, aluminum, glass or ceramic won’t work an induction cooktop. Cookware that is made of ferrous metals like stainless steel or cast iron , whether it has an enamel exterior or not, and is perfectly adapted to work on induction plates. To test your cookware, use a magnet; if it sticks to your pots and pans, they are induction ready! No need to be a physics specialist or scientist to cook with induction, it’s accessible to all, ready to try?