Everything you want to know about Induction Cookware
If you are busy shopping for a brand new set of cookware then you will be met with quite a lot of options to consider. It is an important choice to make because cookware is so important in our daily lives. We use these pots and pans daily and with the right set you can enjoy fun cooking experiences, try out a magnitude of delicious recipes and make the finest foods to keep your family healthy and happy.
Induction cookware is one of the best cooking vessels to consider if you are looking for modern pots and pans that can go the distance. These cooking vessels have two major advantages over other cooking forms such as fire and electric because they enable you to save a huge amount of money on your electric bill or cook safely without the risk of starting a fire.
Back To When Induction Cooking Began
Before we get into the details of induction cookware, let’s first explore the origin of this cooking method. The first patents for induction cooking was created in the early 1900s but it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that this patent was perfected in North America where cooking was done on an induction stove while placing a newspaper between the pot and cooktop without the newspaper catching fire.
Induction cooktops and cookware quickly evolved and today you can buy stoves that can produce frequencies of up to 120kHz and cookware that are made of many different materials including non-ferrous metals.
What Is Induction Cookware?
You are probably very curious to learn more about a stove and cookware that is cool to the touch yet functional for cooking? Well, don’t worry we are now going to explain exactly what induction cookware is.
Simply put, the cookware is magnetic. A ferromagnetic unit is installed into the base of these pots and pans. The surrounding materials of the cookware’s design is the same that is used in commonly found cookware and enables you to use the cookware the same way on traditional stoves. But the magnetic design of the cookware allows you to also use it on an induction stove for cooking.
If you don’t have or are not planning on buying an induction stove then there is no additional benefit for investing in this type of cookware range. You won’t be able to enjoy the benefits that an induction stove offer if you only have the cookware.
Induction stoves are specially designed with a copper coil that produces a magnetic field. Heat is created when the ferromagnetic item - the induction cookware - is placed on top of the copper coil of the induction stove. Because a magnetic field is required for heating the interior of the cookware, other elements placed on the stove plate will remain cool to the touch. Only the inside of the pot becomes hot for cooking.
Classic VS Induction cookware
The difference between classic and induction cookware isn’t visible to the naked eye. It comes in the difference in design. Classic and induction cookware are both made of several different materials such as Stainless Steel, Ceramic, anodized steel, copper, titanium and these cooking vessels can have different types of interior surfaces such as stainless or non-stick. Induction cookware can also look exactly like any ordinary classic cooking vessel.
The big difference comes in the design and function.
Induction cookware has a magnet built into the base of the pot where classic pots only have the usual non-magnetic bases. Induction cookware can be used on just about any type of stove but classic cookware cannot function on an induction stove because there is no magnetic field to produce heat when these stoves come into contact with the copper coil of the induction stove.
When you invest in an induction set but continue to use it on a normal electric or gas stove, you lose the benefits that these pots provide because they will function like any classic pot or pan. When used on your induction stove you enjoy all the benefits of induction cooking.
Disadvantages of Induction Cooking
Induction cooking doesn’t have many drawbacks. These are the only disadvantages to this form of cooking;
Benefits of Induction Cooking
Induction cooking with an induction pot on your induction stove can provide you with lots of benefit such as the following;
Heat is transferred directly to your cookware and not to the surface materials of the cooktop. Water, for example, boils up to 50% faster on induction cooktops. Your food will be ready much quicker.
Induction stoves, much like gas stoves, produce consistent heat. But these stoves can be adjusted in temperature and you have better control over the temperature. This prevents you from over or undercooking your foods.
On gas and electric stoves you always have the problem of foodspills boiling and burning to the coils or stove surface. The surface of an induction stove, on the other hand, doesn’t heat up at all. Foods and messes that spill onto your stove won’t get burnt into the surface. You can simply wipe away any messes and you don’t have to worry about burning your kitchen accessories
Induction stoves and cookware are much safer. The stove always stays cool to the touch which eliminates the possibility of burning while children cook. Induction cookware also reduces in heat much quicker than other types which is preferable for homes with small children. The only time these stoves can hurt you is if you tip over warm foods from inside the pot or if a pot falls on your toe - ouch!
These stoves do use some electricity to function but the copper coils naturally produce warmth. You don’t consume quite as much gas or electricity and can save lots of money in the long run.
Some leading induction cooktop brands offer built in child safety locks to keep little ones clean.
Quality cooktop brands also offer auto shutdown features in case your food starts overflowing.
How Does An Induction Cooktop Work?
To fully understand induction cookware you also need to understand how an induction cooktops work. Induction pots and pans work just as great on normal stoves such as gas stoves but you only enjoy the true benefits of this type of cookware when you use them on an induction stove.
As said before; induction stoves are designed with a copper coil within the stove plates. When the pots with a magnetic field is placed on the stove, electromagnetic induction or electricity is created using magnetism. An electrical current is produced via the magnetic field that heats the iron molecules found within your pots. Even though your pot becomes warm, the stove plate remains cool to the touch.
At this point you might think that your stove will automatically switch on the moment it comes in contact with the induction cookware. This however is not the case. Induction stoves are designed with a ceramic plate that has an electromagnetic coil underneath. The stove needs to be switched on manually during which an electric current will zap through the coil. This generates a magnetic field but no heat is created on the burners just yet. When you place the induction cookware on top, the magnetic field is activated, an electric current is created in the metal of the pot or pan and it warms up.
Induction cooktops, stoves or plates can also be used as a hot plate to keep food warm. They have lots of temperature settings and will maintain the set temperature for as long as you need.
Different types of induction stoves
Today you can buy a huge variety of induction cooktops in different sizes and designs. You can choose to invest in a single plate as an add-on to your kitchen; choose a double plate cooktop for small apartment and you also get extremely large cooktops suitable for family homes.
Induction cookware can be used on these alternative cooktops
Lots of people invest in induction cookware when they are planning on installing an induction stove in the future or when they have a small induction plate or stove as an extra accessory in the kitchen. Induction cookware is extremely flexible since they can be used on just about any other type of stove type including the following;
The Different Types of Induction Cookware Materials
Technology has come a great deal when it comes to induction cookware designs. Previously you needed to use pots and pans made of a ferrous metal such as stainless steel or alloy. But modern designers have created ways to produce pots and pans that are made of different types of materials but still has a magnetic base that enable you to use these alternative types of cookware on induction stoves. Today you can buy the following cookware material ranges;
This is the most popular form of induction cookware and many leading brands like All-Clad, Cristel, and Viking love to produce their cookware in stainless steel because of the durability and natural beautify of this metal.
These types of pots and pans are manufactured with the magnetic induction base but are reinforced with metals like hard titanium. The vessel is then lined with a non-stick layer that eases cooking since cooking messes won’t stick to the surface of these types of pots and pans.
If you love the reddish look of copper then you should look out for an induction cookware set with a copper coating. These pots and pans are manufactured with a stainless steel interior, magnetic base and have a copper coating that simulates genuine copper.
Induction cookware made of aluminium alloy or imported garniture usually consists of several layers of steel including a non-stick interior layer. Hardened aluminium alloy also comes in a huge selection of different colours and finishes.
If you prefer colourful kitchenware then this is a good material to consider. These induction pots and pans have a magnetic base while the rest of the vessel is made of layers of steel and ceramic. Ceramic induction cookware is usually heavier than other types of cookware and they can vary widely in color. Many sets also come with a non-stick layer.
Granite induction cookware is manufactured from several layers of food-grade granite and forged aluminium. These pots and pans are finished with a marble coating that simulates granite. An induction base is installed in the cookware that allows you to use them on any type of stove top.
The Different Types of Induction Cookware Accessories
There is no limit to the amount and styles of pots and pans available in induction form. Induction cookware manufacturers constantly develop and launch new cookware ranges that can include one to several pieces in the cookware sets. Here is a quick look at the best sets pot and pan types to include in your set;
Induction Frying pan
Induction pans are available in a huge variety of sizes and can have either metal or glass lids. They are handy for frying a number of food types and are an absolute must for the most basic of kitchen sets.
Induction Sauce pans
Most kitchen sets include two or more sauce pans. These induction pans don’t come with a lid but there are ranges with sauce pans that are compatible with other lids in your set.
Casseroles are available in a huge variety of sizes. They come with lids and have tow side fitted handlebars for easy gripping and handling. Every kitchen needs at least two casseroles for a good set.
Induction Stock pot
These pots are very large and are usually used for cooking pastas or for making soups or other large quantities of food. Couples often refrain from buying stock pots because they can take up a lot of space in a small apartment. But if you are a big family then you need a big stock pot. They greatly simulate a casserole but are much bigger.
What Crockery to Use with Your Induction Cookware
The type of cookware suitable for your set depends on the internal material or the layer used for your pots and pans.
If your induction cookware set is made of a strong metal and doesn’t have a non-stick, granite or ceramic layer then you can use any type of crockery including steel or stainless steel inside these pots and pans.
If your induction cookware has a non-stick coating then you should look into buying plastic utensils for your kitchen. Steel utensils and crockery will scrape off the non-stick surface and can damage your pots and pans. When a non-stick coating is scratched it will start to peel off or flake and your entire pot or pan will become very sticky and completely useless.
Types of food you can cook with your induction range
Induction cookware functions just like any other pot or pan. In fact, you can even use them on other types of stoves like your gas stove. They can be used to cook or fry just about any type of food. This includes pastas, rice, meats, vegetables and much more. The only foods you cannot really make in an induction pot or pan are baked treats that needs to be made in an oven although stainless steel induction cookware that doesn’t consist of any plastic materials can also be used inside the oven for baking.
How to Use Induction Cookware Correctly
Induction cookware is just as functional as any other type of pots and pans. But you did spend a lot of money on these items which means you probably want to take good care of them. Here are a few good tips to help you use your induction cookware safely and care for these items properly;
Use on an induction cooktop so you can enjoy more benefits
Induction cookware can be used on other types of stoves but should be used on your induction cooktop if you want to enjoy the most benefits. If you use them on other stoves you won’t conserve energy, you won’t enjoy all the safety features of induction stoves and you won’t have the benefit of a stove that is super easy to clean. Induction cookware used on a gas stove will also get marks produced by the flame and can become discoloured and very hard to clean.
Use the right utensils while cooking
If you have a metal or stainless steel cookware set then you can use just about any type of utensil or crockery inside your pots and pans. But if your induction set has a non-stick surface then you need to be careful to never use a metal object in your pots and pans. Even a slight scrape made by a steel teaspoon can be catastrophic for your set. Always use plastic when you are cooking in a vessel with a non-stick surface.
Mind your handles
Cookware with strong steel handles is much more durable than those sets with plastic handles. Plastic handles, on the other hand, reduces the chances of burning your fingers during cooking. If you have a set with plastic handles then you need to be careful not to drop these pots and pans and you should avoid sticking your cookware into the oven at all cost.
Use any cleaning product
You are welcome to use any type of cleaning products to remove messes from your pots and pans. It is however better to allow vessels with sticky messes to soak overnight rather than try to scrape food off instantly. Soaking softens up food morsels and reduces the need for scrubbing which can damage your cookware.
Mind your cleaning equipment
If your pots and pans are made of metal then you can use any type of cleaning equipment including steel wool scrubs inside the pots and pans. The steel wool might cause minor scratches inside your pots and pans though.
If your pots and pans are lined with a non-stick surface then avoid any scratchy or rough cleaning tool. Only use a soft sponge to clean the non-stick areas.
If your home’s water supply is soft water then you can drip dry any of your pots and pans but if you have hard water then it is better to dry off cookware with a soft cloth to prevent white marks on glass lids or stainless surfaces.
Don’t drop your cookware
Most induction cookware is pretty durable but it still isn’t a good idea to drop your cookware if you can help it. Dropping your cookware too high can cause dents in your pots and pans and can cause plastic handles to break off.
Induction cookware is superb investments whether you desperately need a new set or are busy upgrading to a greener and more energy efficient home.
There are so many fine quality induction cookware brands out there and these pots and pans can be used comfortably on other types of stoves.
But if you don’t have and don’t plan on getting an induction stove in the future then there is no need for you to invest in induction cookware specifically.
Read on the next buying guide for induction cookware to help you choose the best set for your home, need and budget so you can have the best set to ease cooking for many years to come