Induction cooking is the process of cooking using a cooking surface that heats up by transferring heat currents from an electromagnetic field found below the glass cooktop directly to the magnetic induction cookware placed above it.
It heats the cookware directly without the need for a flame or burner.
In simple terms, induction cooking heats the cooking vessel through electrical induction unlike the gas and electric cooktops that use thermal induction.
Why Use Induction Cooking?
The world is becoming more conscious of conserving energy in every way. Induction cooking is the modern way to prepare meals as you do your due diligence for the environment.
As we have seen above, this kind of cooking seeks to heat the bottom of the pan with no need for a burner.
This saves a lot of energy that would have been lost if a gas or electric cooktop was being used.
Here are some reasons you should consider switching to induction cooking:
- This type of cooking is more than 70% energy efficient compared to gas where a lot of the flame heats around the pan and gets lost in the surroundings. In induction cooking, the heat is concentrated into the pan itself. Compared to the electric cookers, they are still 40% efficient too due to the directing of heat to the pan only.
- With induction cooking, temperature control is easier and precise compared to gas and electric. This ensures consistent results and reduces the chance of burning or under-cooking. You won’t have to worry if you just want your sauce to slow cook or just keep food warm.
- Since no heat is escaping to the surrounding with induction cooking, there is better ventilation providing a cooler kitchen which. This helps with creating a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the process of cooking.
- Induction cooking is also a lot safer than the other two. There are no naked flames like the gas cooktop to ignite fires or cause any burns. You will not have to worry about the cooking surface still being hot after you are done cooking. This is because as long as you remove the pan on the induction hob, the cooling process starts. As first as it heated up, it takes the same time to cool too.
- Another reason to switch is that it is faster since it takes less time for the pan to get hotter, like 2 min faster than the other cooktops.
If these reasons don’t win you over, then nothing else will.
How Much Energy Does Induction Cooking Use?
For any appliance used, the power consumption depends on its rated power and operational hours.
Averagely, the rated power of the induction cooktop is between 1500 watts to 3000 watts.
This is quite higher than that of electric cooktops because the higher the wattage the faster the heating hence less operational/ cooking time.
When purchasing the induction cooktop, make sure to check the exact wattage in the description.
Simply put, a watt is a unit of power and measures the rate at which electricity is consumed by a device.
A kilowatt is also a unit of power but larger devices consume more power.
It is good to understand such terminology to help you choose a suitable cooktop or even when purchasing other appliances.
Induction Cooking Dangers
While purchasing an induction cooktop, it is advised to get as much information as possible so that you know any cons that you may encounter.
As much as heat is not being wasted on the environment, there is radiation due to the induction stove and continuous exposure to radiation increases one’s risk for negative health effects.
The good news though is that there are ways to use the cooktops more safely.
- Consider purchasing an insulating handle for your cookware handle if it is a conductive metal, such as a silicone handle cover. Or always use a cooking towel when touching the handle.
- Always use a pot or pan that completely covers the cooking area to avoid creating any stray EMF fields being exposed to the surroundings.
- Avoid using metal utensils when cooking.
- Avoid using damaged cookware with warped bases. The goal is to make sure no EMF gets a chance to escape. While at it use cookware that the manufacturer has labeled as induction cooking worthy.
- While cooking, make sure to stand as far away from the cooking surface as much as possible when in use.
Induction Cooking Ideas
Since induction cooktops are still quite new in terms of regular use, many may fear to make their usual recipes.
However, once you know how to modify the recipes to suit your new appliance, you won’t want to go back.
Induction is not as difficult compared to gas or electric cooking. It is like acquainting yourself to a new car and may take some getting used to.
Take time to acquaint yourself with new dials and cooking timings since, with an induction cooktop, you may take lesser time than before.
To make all this easier:
- Prepare all your ingredients at the start rather than cooking on the fly. This is because you most probably won’t have enough time to prep. If you can, you will need to adjust for induction cooking. Let’s just say that preparing before is safer. The cookware you place on the cooktop heats almost instantly and evenly. Hence you have little to no downtime to run around chopping and looking into shelves for spices. E.g. your recipe requires you to heat the oil first. With an induction cooktop, you may risk burning the oil while chopping your things.
- Understand the heat controls because cooktops are not the same. If your temperature settings range from 1to 12 then you learn quickly that 8 is medium-high heat and 1 will just keep your food warm, so on and so forth. With a new recipe, walk over it as you jot down the numbers. You will want to set your burners at for every step of the recipe.
- Last but not least, do not be afraid to experiment because like any new thing. It will take some time to get a hang of it but after the initial stage, it gets easier. If you are worried about burning a dish or you just want to see how scorched it can get, “play” with the heat controls turning the heat way up or down to reduce the risk of error. Embrace the freedom to mess around to see what works for you.
Which Cookware Can You Use With Induction Cooking?
The cookware used in this type of cooking is made of or contains some ferromagnetic material e.g. steel or cast iron.
Copper and Aluminum will not work with induction cooking unless they are made with a layer of ferromagnetic material on the bottom.
To know if your cooking vessels are magnetic, use a magnet, and try to stick it at the bottom of the pan.
If it sticks then it is suitable for use. The induction hob is made of a coil of copper wire under the ceramic plate which alternates the electric current which passes through it.
The resulting oscillating magnetic field induces a magnetic flux. This produces an eddy current in the pot acting like the secondary winding of a transformer.