Induction Cooking - Did You KNow?
An induction-cooker is a powerful, high-frequency electromagnet. Sound scary?It shouldn’t. Under the glass/ceramic top surface of the cooker the magnetic field transfers energy into the metal of the cooking vessel put on top. That transferred energy causes the metal to become hot and that heat is then transferred to the food inside. By controlling the strength of the magnetic field, you can control the heat being generated in the pan. This is done instantly.This means that the heat generated is not wasted into the air as it is with gas burners and not wasted due to poor pan contact like with electric coil elements.
Induction is a very fast, controllable and safe way to cook.Nothing outside the pan is affected by the magnetic field. Once the pan is removed from the cooker, or it is turned off, heating stops.Other than a little residual heat form the pan, you could put your hand on top of the cooker right after cooking.Believe it or not, you could even put a paper or thin towel under the pan when you cook so spills are caught immediately, without burning the towel.
Induction cookers are about 84% efficient, according to tests run by the Department of Energy.This compares to a gas burner at about 40% efficient.A conversion example from gas to induction is for an equivalent 18,000 BTU gas burner, you need a 2,500 watt induction cooking zone. But remember that the induction system will heat faster and much more efficiently, so you need to be attentive to your cooking.
The down side?There is no real down side.Induction cooking is very fast, safe and clean, but you must use magnetic cooking pans.This used to be an issue and kept induction cooking from growing popularity in the market. Steel and cast iron pots and pans work great and are the least expensive, but for those who like easy to clean cookware, most companies now make induction ready cookware.This means that even in a stainless steel (not usually magnetic) pot, they put a layer of steel or other ferrous material sandwiched inside.
When you consider the ease in cleaning the top surface of an induction cooker, plus the absence of dangerous combustion by-products such as Carbon Monoxide (CO), and the instantaneous controllability, induction is the way to go.Many hotels and caterers are now using induction cookers for omelet stations and quick sauté, for their ease in moving around, plugging in, ease of cleaning, fast performance and, in some cases, no need for a special vent hood.