One thing that you have to know about cookware is that not all cookware is created to be equal. This fact is especially true when it comes to whether or not cookware can be used with an induction cooker.
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Cooking with a standard cooker is incredibly different to cooking with an induction cooker, and learning how to tell whether or not your cookware is compatible with your induction cooker can be very difficult. Today, we are going to teach you how to tell whether or not your cookware is induction ready.
What is induction cooking?
Induction cooking is a rather specific way to cook that utilizes the inclusion of an induction cooker. If you were to take the top of the cooker off, you would find a piece of copper wire beneath each of the actual elements. This enables alternating currents to flow through the copper wire coil whenever the element in question is switched on.
This process creates something called an oscillation magnetic field, which creates an electric current that flows through the actual pot that is on top of the element. The electric current that flows in the pot is known as resistive heating, and it has the ability to warm up whatever can be found within the pot itself.
This all means that the heat itself comes directly from the electric current that can be found flowing inside of the cookware, opposed to coming from the element itself. This has a lot of advantages, including safety advantages. People are prone to burning themselves on the top of elements before they have had a chance to cool down, whereas the elements on an induction cooker never actually get hot. They also enable professional chefs and avid home cooks to adjust the heat with extreme precision.
The Benefits of Induction Cooking
As we have already mentioned, one of the main benefits of cooking with an induction cooker comes in the form of safety. The pan itself is what gets warm, meaning that there is no risk of accidentally burning yourself on the element after you have finished cooking. This safety feature is also a perfect addition in environments where children are present.
You also have to consider the fact that cooking with an induction cooker is actually more energy efficient than cooking with either a standard gas cooker or a standard electric cooker. The food inside of your cookware is known to cook a lot quicker due to the rate at which heat is generated, and the cooktop is a lot more responsive to any of the temperature changes that you determine.
What material should your cookware be?
One of the main things that determine whether or not your cookware will be suitable for induction cooking is actually the material that your cookware is made out of. Your cookware needs to be made out of a material that is known to be magnetic. The obvious choices range from iron and cast iron to stainless steel and carbon steel. It is worth noting that anything that is not magnetic will not work at all.
Professional chefs and avid home cooks will predominantly go with cookware that is made out of stainless steel, but this can be quite expensive when compared to other types of cookware that are available. It is also worth knowing that not all stainless steel pans work in the same way as each other, as the most affordable stainless steel pieces will contain next to no core. The least affordable ones will usually contain either copper or aluminum cores, both of which are fantastic conductors of heat.
The lack of a core in an inexpensive stainless steel piece of cookware can be relatively problematic, as it directly affects the efficiency of the cookware and how well it will actually work. This is because it produces less of a magnetic reaction, meaning that the piece of cookware would heat up much slower than a highly magnetic piece.
It is worth noting that most non-stick pans will not be suitable for use with an induction cooker, as they are usually made entirely out of aluminum. As a material, aluminum is not magnetic. Luckily, a lot of newer non-stick pans feature a built-in iron plate, making them suitable for use with an induction cooker.
Other options that are worth considering are pieces of cast iron and carbon steel cookware, both of which consist of naturally non-stick materials. They are great options for induction cookers, working perfectly to achieve higher temperatures due to their magnetic properties. They are also relatively affordable when compared to other options. Cast iron is famed for its durability, while carbon steel is known for being incredibly lightweight.
Unfortunately, a lot of cookware that consists of other materials will not work. You have to rule out cookware that is made out of aluminum, all-copper, and glass. Some of these pieces are an exception to the rule, as certain companies ensure that their cookware includes a magnetic layer on the bottom, making them perfectly suitable for induction cooking. As materials, aluminum and copper are slightly magnetic, but they require incredibly high frequencies to generate heat of any kind, and that simply is not built into induction cooktops.
So, will your cookware work with an induction cooktop?
It is actually really easy to tell whether or not your cookware will work with an induction cooktop, as you simply have to do a magnet test. The best pieces of cookware for induction cooking will attract a magnet quickly, with it clinging to the underside. Any form of attraction is a good sign, but a slow reaction or a reaction that isn’t too strong simply means that your pan will take quite a while to heat up with an induction cooktop.
If there is no attraction at all, then your cookware will not work with an induction cooktop. Most manufacturers have actually started to use a symbol to show whether or not cookware is induction-ready, and the symbol looks like a cross between a coil and a zigzag.
Induction cooking is a great thing all-around, and something that is becoming more and more prevalent as time passes. It can offer the consumer a number of different benefits that traditional cooking appliances cannot, ranging from energy efficiency to overall safety. Remember to always check your cookware with a magnet. Otherwise, you might be eating cold food for dinner!