What you need to know about using induction cookware and cooktops
What's this 'induction' thing about?
The Induction cooking is by no means a new invention, but it is making a few waves in the appliance, cookware and culinary worlds. You'll see people in many appliance stores and malls doing demonstrations with these shiny little ceramic cooking surfaces, showing you all kinds of neat tricks that your oven at home just wouldn't be able to do. Do yourself a favour and have a look the next time you see someone doing a demo like this.
Understanding induction cooking
Conventional cooking surfaces are either powered with electricity or gas. Induction surfaces make use of a strange magic called 'electromagnetism'. We're kidding, there's no magic here, but it might as well be. Electromagnetism has long been used in scientific fields and already made it into many of our homes - by means of electric toothbrushes.
What makes electromagnetism so special is that it uses an electric coil to create fluctuating magnetic fields, generating heat above it when in contact with a suitable cookware surface. Basically, if you put an induction-friendly pot or pan on top of this ceramic surface, it will use that electromagnetic field to warm the cookware up. As simple as that. Another feature that makes it so special is that it doesn't directly generate any heat, so if your hand touches an active cooking surface, your hand won't burn (because your hand isn't a ferrous metal, but more on that later). We don't encourage you to test this directly after you've heated a pot, because the pot can warm the surface up and you might burn your hand because of that. If you'd like to understand more about induction cooking, check out the video below:
You'll notice that I mentioned 'induction-friendly' cookware above. You'll need specific cookware to work with one of these surfaces. The bases of these pots & pans require a flat surface containing ferrous metals and is typically a little heavier than conventional cookware.
The upside of using this type of cookware is that it heats up very quickly, shaving time off of your cooking time. Induction-friendly cookware tends to be marginally more expensive than regular cookware, but will save you time when cooking and you'll save some money on electricity usage with an induction cooktop (the US department of energy has the percentage of electricity saved at 12%). Include the safety aspect of not burning your fingers that often, and we're on to a winner.
Even though it seems like a new trend that might be risky to follow, induction cooking is becoming more popular and will be adopted in many kitchens across the world. More and more induction-friendly cookware are making their way onto the market, and induction cooktops are becoming more affordable (not as affordable as a braai, but we still like it).
Keep reading our blog and we'll teach you some more Kitchen Kung-Fu, like induction cooking!
- Charl Barkhuizen