Cooking over a flame is one of the oldest human traditions, but just as we progressed away from open fires in the mouths of caves, we are progressing away from the need for an open flame altogether. The world of induction cooking may seem like a huge jump from a traditional gas or even electric stove, but the future of efficient, safe, and enjoyable cooking is something all chefs should welcome with open arms.
If you haven’t made the transition to induction style cooking yet, or you’re debating whether you should at all, we’ve broken down what you need to know about the advantages of induction cooking in a clear-cut way to help you make the switch.
First, A Quick Warm Up
Induction stovetops are functioning on the principles of electromagnetism. While the word sounds complex, it’s actually quite simple. They work through magnetic fields produced by coils beneath the flat cook surface. When used with a suitable pot or pan, the coils produce a magnetic field that heats the metal of the pan to the desired temperature for cooking. The method is pretty straightforward. Now let’s talk about the advantages and why you should be using induction cooking in your kitchen.
One fear that many cooks share is the fear that switching to induction cooking will mean buying an entirely new set of pots and pans. No one wants to break the bank at the kitchen supply store when you’ve already invested in pans you love! It’s true that for induction cooktops, the pot or pan being used must at least contain a ferromagnetic metal. This means a metal such as the traditional cast iron or in some cases even stainless steel. But what do you do if your pans are made of non-magnetic stainless steel? Or what about aluminum, copper, or glass? We’ve got the answer for you there as well. All these types of pots and pans can be used on induction stovetops. They simply require a minor adapter in the form of a ferromagnetic disk. The disk sits on top of the induction surface and under your chosen cooking vessel. This will let the metal be heated by the induction process and save you from having to register at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for a whole new kitchen.
For many dishes, the amount and degree of heat is crucial to the success of the recipe. With gas, cooks applaud the speed to precise changes in temperature. Electric units take time to heat up and cool down, making it harder to make such adjustments. So where does induction stand? If you’re someone who is all about the details, you will be happy to know induction is made for precision. The adjustments in heat can be made instantaneously and to the degree. Because the magnetic fields of induction are acting directly on the cooking vessel, there is no need to wait for a coil to heat up or cool down.
Choosing an energy efficient model of induction stovetop is important. While you won’t be using a gas line or waiting for an electric coil to heat up, you are still plugging into the energy grid and should consider the efficiency of the model before purchase. One way induction cooking is proven to be more efficient than traditional models is that it takes much less time for your induction stovetop to reach high temperatures. The old saying about waiting for water to boil loses its spice with this method. This quick heating feature is thanks to the magnetic fields at work on the pot you are using, which mean less heat is wasted on warming up a coil or burning a flame. This also means less heat filling your kitchen so you can feel free to “fire up” the stove even in the middle of a summer day.
We already mentioned the quick-cooling surfaces of induction stoves as an advantage, but have you thought about what this means for your clean up? Instead of facing the dreaded baked-on, stubborn messes of the past, you can go directly from cooking to wiping the surface with a cloth with no trouble. Since the surface of induction stoves is flat, there are no pans to clean out and no coils for messes to hide behind. The surface can be wiped instantly and continues looking like new for years. Never having to change out a dirty stovetop pan again is reason enough to rejoice.
Of course, kitchen safety is important whether you’re a 5-star restaurant or simply teaching the grandkids the art of chocolate chip cookies. With induction ovens, you cut the risk of kitchen accidents down considerably. Without an open flame or source of toxic gases in the room, risk of fire and poisoning is diminished. Likewise, because of the way the induction method works by heating the cooking container instead of the surface, you can be safe from burns unlike normal stovetops. The quick cooling surface allows you to use the stovetop as extra counter space without fear of melting that stick of butter or singing your favorite potholder.
We hope this helps you in your decision to switch to induction style cooking. If you’re still not convinced, we suggest giving it a trial run for yourself. Ask a friend who is already a fan of induction stovetops if you can cook a meal using theirs and discover for yourself the advantages to this technologically advanced, precise, and safe method of cooking.