Some Basic Factors about Induction Cookware | Buying Guide

In this article we are gonna present a discussion about some basic factors we need to know before buying Induction Cookware. Here we get to focus on several issues, like, what is induction cooking; what type materials are suitable and not suitable for induction safe pans; why flat bottomed pans are used for induction cooking; which type material is used for building an induction cookware; essential factors you need to understand for buying an induction ready pan; etc. Hope this discussion would help you choosing the best induction cookware for your home or restaurant kitchen.

What is Induction Cooking?

Man is evolving and so is technology. In this era of speed where every man is busy taking laps of the rat race, we keep looking for better and faster ways to complete our work. Technology that makes the work easier and faster becomes an instant rage in the 21st century. Gone are the days when people had to rub stones to start a fire. The new era has ushered in the induction cooking technology which saves you a lot of time and energy. Age old knowledge tells us that cooking has something to do with food over heat, and induction cooking is basically the same stuff. But do you have a clue as to what exactly is induction cooking? In simple terms, induction cooking is when you cook your food over an induction cooktop. What is an induction cooktop? An induction cooktop is a cook-stove which produces heat not in the conventional way. That is, an induction cooktop does not produce fire.

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What Is Induction Cooking?

More interestingly an induction cooking stove devises electromagnetism to convert cooking pans into cookers which create heat energy inside the pan itself, rather than blowing the fire in from outside, and this helps to cook the food faster using much less energy than what the conventional present day stoves use. If you are a science person, you would probably know that an induction cooktop is nothing but a simple electromagnet. An electronically controlled metal coil is what lies inside the cooktop, and when you make the current pass through the coil, the electricity produces a magnetic field around and above it. In presence of an alternating current supply the fluctuating magnetic field produces heat. This heat is enough to cook food. Using an electromagnet to cook food is a genius idea, isn’t it?

What Type of Cookware Is Suitable for Induction Cooking?

Let’s put all that technical talk to rest. All we need to remember is that induction cooktops use magnetic fields to produce heat. The term magnet might have made you already guess this, but no harm mentioning, your cookware needs to be made of some material that is compatible with magnet. Cookwares made using magnetic material like cast iron, steel, and magnetic stainless steel (the stainless steel containing some amount of iron) works well with induction cooktops. For those who have ceramic pots and pans, need not be disheartened because ceramic-clad or enameled pots also do work well with induction stovetops because hidden within the ceramic layer is an iron layer, which makes the cookware magnetic on the whole. While buying induction specific cookware, you will notice that sometimes cookware tailored for induction cooktops do have an iron plate attached to the bottom.

Which Pans Are Not suitable for Induction Cooking?

Little remains to be discussed when you already know what type of cookware to use when you opt for Induction cooktops. However, you need to know what kind of cookware you want to avoid in case you are getting an induction cooktop for yourself soon. As a child you must have noticed that magnets do not stick to things made of wood, plastic and many other such materials. Quite similarly, utensils made of aluminum, copper, glass or plastic won’t work with induction cooktops (because the whole thing acts as a magnetic field). If you cannot decipher whether your present cookware is magnetic enough, just bring a magnet near to the base, if the magnets attaches itself to the utensil, it is good to use!

Why Flat Bottomed Pans Are Used for Induction Cooking?

This is probably a question with every induction cooktop user. And to answer this question, I would have to ask you one small question. Consider a hypothetical scenario where you are presented with a sphere and a cube and you are asked to step onto them one at a time and count till 10 before you step down. Which one do you think would be easier to step on? Yes, it will be way easier to step on the cube than on the sphere. Why so? The cube has a flat base that makes it more stable while sphere as its circular warped base is wobbly. Similar is the case with induction cooktops. Induction cooktops usually have a flat glass top, and in that case the pan or pot that you use needs to have a flat base. A pot with a circular warped base makes it wobbly on the surface of the cooktop. Additionally, the surface area that comes in contact with cooktop in case of a hemispherical cookware is very less, thus making it inefficient. Cooking in such utensils may take more time and consume way more energy than what cooking in a flat bottomed pot would consume.  Understanding the reason why flat bottomed pans are more suitable for induction cooks tops does not require you to be physicist ‘cause it is not rocket science.

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Flat Bottomed Induction Ready Pan

It is simple physics. The more the area of contact, the more evenly is the heat distributed and the quicklier the dish gets cooked, making it more energy and time efficient. Furthermore, in an induction cooktop, the fluctuating magnetic fields that it produces need to pass through the cookware, so, the closer the cookware is to the induction to surface, the more lines pass through it. Also, it is always more advisable not to use a pan or a pot with a roundish base for safety reasons. Cooking in a utensil that is unstable and wobbly is quite dangerous. An induction cooktop does not have burners and holders that keep the utensil steady, hence if you try to use a vessel with a roundish base over the smooth flat top of the induction cooktop, chances are that the vessel might roll over while you are trying to stir fry the ingredients.

When and if it does roll over, your hand, arm and other body parts that are in close proximity may get hurt. A couple of induction cooktop models are designed in a fashion that they are not compatible at all with utensils that have a roundish base. If you do buy such a model and place a round based pot over it, you may hear a beep sound or it may even refuse to start the heating process. Such subtle indicative features are being incorporated into modern induction cooktops to help the user understand and invest in more energy efficient utensils. I am not saying that you absolutely cannot use pots with a round bases, it is just that they are far less efficient and may not always be compatible with your induction cooktop model.

What Types of Materials are used for Manufacturing Induction Ready Pans?

Have you ever tasted an Oreo made of sand? Or maybe used a pen made of asphalt? No right? Similarly, (keeping in mind the conditions we read in the previous sections) we cannot expect an induction ready pan to be made of something which would be outright incompatible with the whole concept of electromagnetism. In simpler terms we cannot expect to find an induction ready pan to be made of non-magnetic materials. So, what are the various materials that are generally used to make these magnetic utensils? Iron being the most magnet attracting substance in the world at present all induction ready utensils incorporate iron in them in some form or the other. The utensil might seem to be made of porcelain, granite, wood, glass or any other thing but you should always know that there is that ferrous element hiding somewhere in there. So we can conclusively say that all induction cookware make use of iron.

What Factors to Consider for buying Induction Ready Pans?

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Scanpan CTX Induction Ready Cookware Set.

Choosing something so pro-tech over something traditional can be quite a decision. Using an Induction cooktop rather than the usual gas burner can prove to be a wise decision if you know how to choose and buy the best induction cookware that would help you make the optimum use of your cooktop. So if you have made your mind to jazz up your kitchen with a little tech-something, let’s get started with how to know what would be the best cookware for your induction cooktop. Before you go shopping for your induction cookware, you can make a little check list. Based on all the previous jamming, you may as well have gathered that the two most important and primary factors for buying an induction ready pan, which are to make sure that it is made of a magnetic material and it has a flat base.

Other than these, you may consider other factors based on your own priorities. You may opt for a lightweight induction ready pan or it looks stylish with its ceramic finish and additional glass lid or one that has Teflon non-stick coating. You may also want to consider the durability of the material, in case you plan to use it on a regular basis. I suggest you not to opt for the glass utensils as glass needs to be handled with extra care given its fragility factor. Whatever you choose, just make sure it has a flat base and is pro-magnet!

I hope this extensive article on induction cookware and inductions cooktops can help you judge and shop better. And once you are done with all the judging and shopping festivities, you can settle in for your scrumptious electromagnetically cooked meal. For now, let us keep it to that, and wish you a happy feast, bye!

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