Ever since early humans discovered how to make fire, people have been eager to cook with it. Over time, cooking techniques have become ever more sophisticated and efficient, as well as more portable and compact. Today, one of the leading and most benefit-rich cooking methods is called "induction."
In this article, learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using an induction cooktop to do your cooking.
“Induction” Cooking Explained
Induction is a term that refers to a specific method for generating heat. A traditional electric stove uses radiant heat to cook your food. A microwave oven uses micro, or small energy waves, to do the same. An induction range uses electromagnetism to cook food inside the pot or pan.
With induction, there is an electromagnetic reaction between the burner and the pot or pan itself. If there is no pot or pan on the burner, just turning the burner on will not generate any heat. The key to making an induction cooktop or range work is to use a specific type of pot. You need to use a magnetic pot or pan in order to generate the electromagnetic reaction that will cook the food. Typically, this will mean using cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. An easy test is to take a refrigerator magnet and hold it up to your pots and pans. If it sticks, your pan should work on an induction cooking surface.
5 Pros of Using an Induction Cooktop
These pros are your payoff when you switch to induction-based cooking.
Pro #1: Induction cooking is fast.
Because of the rapid response of the electromagnetic cycle, you can shave up to 50 percent off your average cook times for many of your favorite meals.
Pro #2: Induction cooking is planet-friendly.
Since induction cooking is faster than traditional stovetop cooking, it also uses less energy. It generates almost less residual heat (any heat will be in the pot or pan and not coming from the stovetop itself). This makes for less energy usage and lower energy bills.
Pro #3: Induction cooking is safer - especially with kids and pets nearby.
Induction uses the electromagnetic reaction to heat the contents in the pan or pot. The burner will remain less hot than regular electric burners throughout the process. Within a few minutes of turning off the burner, both the pan and burner become much cooler, making burns much less likely.
Pro #4: Induction cooktops almost never make a mess.
Unless there is an outright spill, cleaning up after a session of induction cooking is a breeze. The glass cooktop requires only a wipedown and since the stove stays relatively cool throughout, food seldom sticks to it
Pro #5: Induction cooktops are attractive.
There is no doubt that the flat glass-based induction cooktop is an attractive addition to any kitchen. They also make for great conversation starters at parties!
5 Cons of Using an Induction Cooktop
Here are five "cons" that can arise from switching to induction cooking. Overall, I'm a huge fan of induction, but like with everything else you buy, it's good to be prepared!
Con 1: Buying an induction cooktop isn't cheap.
Since induction is still a relatively new technology, an induction cooktop is going to cost more than the same-sized traditional cooktop.
Con 2: Special cookware is required.
You must use magnetic cookware or the induction process won't work correctly and your food won't cook. For some, this may require investing in cookware as well as the induction cooktop.
Con 3: Induction cooktops make a noise.
It sounds kind of like a buzz, a hum or a floor fan on the "high" setting, depending on who you ask. This is usually a result of the type of cookware you use and not the cooktop itself. Lighter stainless steel pans can produce more noise than heavier pans made from cast iron.
Con 4: You may have to do your prep-work early.
This is not necessarily a con, however if you are used to a traditional electric cooktop, induction is much faster. Make sure you cut your vegetables before turning up the burner becuase it will be up to temperature in no-time!
Con 5: You won't be able to cook if the power goes out.
If you are a gas cooktop enthusiast, you may have had occasion to appreciate being able to eat a warm meal even during a power outage. This won't be the case with induction cooking, which requires electric power to work.
By understanding what you get and what you give up with induction cooking, you can make an informed decision about which method is best for you.