What Is Induction Cooking?

In recent years, an increasing number of people have started turning to magnetic induction cooking instead of more traditional gas and electric types of cooking. As international concern deepens over the environment and the cleanliness of fuels such as natural gas and propane, induction cooking is starting to make sense. But what is induction cooking? Most people ask this question when they are first thinking about switching cooktops. Before you make the decision to switch, it is important to know what induction is and how it works.

What Is Induction Cooking?

You have probably seen induction cooktops before. Their sleek design is unmistakable. Most induction cooktops are made of black glass-ceramic set into the countertop, with circles drawn on where regular burners would be. Induction cooking is done in both restaurant and home kitchens by amateur and professional chefs alike. An induction stove has the power and adjustability of a gas one, but without the dangerous fumes, fire risk and environmental hazards. While induction stoves have been around for a while, recent years have seen the technology behind them improve in leaps and bounds. Today, induction stoves are better and more affordable than ever before.

How Does Induction Cooking Work?

Unlike most stoves, which generate heat below a cooking vessel, an magnetic induction cooktop generates heat through the cooking vessel itself. Each induction element is made of a ceramic top set over an electronic device that generates electromagnetic energy. When a magnetic cooking vessel, such as one made of cast iron or stainless steel, is placed inside the electromagnetic field, it absorbs the magnetic energy and converts it into heat. When the burner heats up on a standard gas or electric stove, a lot of energy is lost around the edges of the cooking vessel. With induction cooking, the heat energy is confined to the cooking vessel and its contents. As soon as the vessel is removed, no more heat is generated.

What Is An Induction Cooktop?

A magnetic induction cooktop consists of a glass-ceramic top, usually black, with electromagnetic elements placed similarly to the elements on other ranges. Each element is made of coiled wire placed directly under the element area. The elements are generally marked by circles on top of the stove. Induction cooktops do not generally come with an oven, but many people choose to install their ovens immediately below to the counter cooktop. This actually gives you more control over your oven set-up, as you are not limited by the type that comes with your stove. Convection ovens are often installed with induction cooktops and an induction oven has also recently been released.

What Are the Benefits of Induction Cooking?

When you cook on an induction stove, you use only as much energy as you need. The heat is confined to the cooking vessel and no energy escapes around the sides. Induction elements are powered by clean electricity, but are more powerful than standard electrical burners. While gas can be difficult to install and can release dangerous fumes into the air, induction produces heat completely free from fumes and vapors. Installation is as easy as plugging in the cooktop.

Induction Cookware

Cookware is a sticking point for many people considering switching to induction. All cookware must be magnetic in order to properly absorb energy from the electromagnetic element. Any cookware made from a ferrous metal such as iron or steel can be used on an induction cooktop. If a magnet will stick to the bottom of the pan, it is suitable for induction. While vessels made from copper, aluminum or pyrex will not react with the electromagnetic energy on their own, it is possible to buy an iron overlay that can be put under these pans for cooking. So what is induction cooking? It may be the best form of cooking there is.

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