The secret of induction has actually been around in scientific laboratories for some time but has been applied for other uses besides cooking. Excite a magnetic material with a magnetic field and you get heat. As long as you use cookware with a magnetic property, such as steel, iron or other magnetic material, the induction cooktop will transfer energy directly into the material and not into space or the surrounding cooktop.
How it works
Cooking by induction is a technology whereby cookware is heated using magnetic energy. When an induction cooktop unit is turned on, the induction energy coils produce a high frequency, alternating magnetic field, which flows through the cookware quickly and evenly, stimulating the molecules in the cookware to move back and forth rapidly, thus creating friction, which creates heat to cook. Heat is generated directly to the cookware not to the cooking surface which is usually a smooth ceramic cooktop. Removing the pan from the cooking surface produces an immediate slowdown of the gyrating molecules, which means the pan begins to cool. This gives a cook immense control over what’s being heated. Although most steel and cast-iron-based vessels work well, those made of aluminum, copper and some stainless steel can’t be used on an induction cooktop because they aren’t magnetic. Special pans designed for induction cooking are available but, before making a purchase, first try a simple test on your cookware: if a magnet sticks to its surface, the pan is suitable.
Some of the key advantages of induction cooking are:
- Faster – because energy is directly transferred within the pan metal, induction heating is extremely fast – even faster than gas!
- Safer – because there is no open flame, red-hot coil or other radiant heat source to ignite fumes or flammable materials. This also helps prevent burns in the kitchen.
- Cleaner – because with no grates or carbon build-up to worry about, clean up is a breeze. Just use a damp cloth and wipe over the smooth, easy-to-clean ceramic glass surface.
- Cooler – because gas ranges produce unused heat that goes into your kitchen, increasing your cooling costs. With induction, almost no wasted heat is produced since all the heat is being generated within the pan itself.
- Cheaper – because 90% of every dollar you spend on energy goes right into the pan! Gas delivers 55% of the energy you pay for to the pan and traditional electric about 65%. Plus, when you remove the pan from the induction surface, the unit immediately goes into standby mode, using virtually no energy whatsoever.
- Even Heating – because the magnetic material within the cookware heats at the same level uniformly, there can be no hot spots. The electronic monitoring of the pan allows maximum heating of any induction compatible pan.
Today’s generation of high-tech induction cooktops also offer features such as sensor touch controls, child-safety locks, and pan detection.