Induction cooking technology is very powerful. Induction works by running an electrical current under the cooking surface. When this current is active, it creates a magnetic field. When you put cookware that is made of iron or iron alloy, this produces an oscillating magnetic field that has resistance.
It is this resistance that produces heat within the metal item. The heat is not actually generated on the surface of the cookware. All the heat is very localized on the bottom of the iron based cookware. In other words, you are cooking with magnets.
Compare this with conduction. Conduction involves burning something to produce a lot of heat. There is a flame or a hot surface involved. The pot then transmits the heat from the heated surface or heated coil or open flame to its contents. This is very inefficient because according to many studies, up to half of the energy used in conduction is actually wasted. It escapes to the air or escapes into the surrounding space of the flame or a heated electrical coil.
Induction cookware avoids all of these problems. It is very efficient because it is the actual cookware that is heated, nothing else. In fact, the induction cookware’s top surface remains cool. It does not have a magnetic action on the surface. The magnetic action and resistance that produce heat takes place in the actual pot or pan being heated.
Considering the requirements of induction, it is important to focus on materials for pots and pans that can produce a high level of magnetic resistance. It is this magnetic resistance that produces the heat. Accordingly, you should restrict your search for induction pans to the following materials:
Cast Iron is the Best
If you are looking for pans that are ready for magnetic heat, you cannot go wrong with cast iron. Cast iron really is the best for this kind of thing. Iron, after all, is required for optimal magnetic action.
The drawback here is that cast iron is very bulky. Have you ever seen a cast-iron pot? They are not light. They are not easy to carry around. They can be very, very heavy. They also take up a lot of space. This is why a lot of induction cookware manufacturers use stainless steel alloys with the right iron mix.
Stainless Steel with the Right Mix
It is important to note that you really are playing with the correct proportion when it comes to induction cookware. If the cookware has too much nickel, or too much aluminum or non-iron components, it is simply not going to get heated up by the magnetism and cook the food it contains in a very efficient manner. It is not just going to happen. You have to make sure that there is enough iron or steel in the mix to get the magnetic action going so sufficient heat is created.
So how exactly do aluminum, ceramic and copper-based induction cookware work? Well, you need to look closely at how the cookware is designed. You would notice that while the sides and some of the bottom of the cookware are made up of aluminum, ceramic and other composite materials, there is a hotplate at the bottom.
Pay attention to this plate. It is usually heavier. The reason why it is heavier is because it has iron-bearing materials. Iron is crucial for magnetism. This is called the heating disc or the hotplate. When you put this cookware on top of an induction cooktop, the heating disc works with the magnets to produce a tremendous amount of heat. This is then transmitted by the copper and aluminum contents of the cookware to the sides and to the center of the pan.
These mixed metal designs enable you to get the best of both worlds. Seriously, they do. How? You get something that is light, durable and rust-resistant while at the same time maintain a high level of magnetic induction. You get your cake, and you get to eat it too.
As hard as it may be to believe, composite induction pans can help you have it both ways-you get light, easy to use cookware while maximizing the amount of heat directed at your food. This kind of combination seemed so unthinkable until fairly recently. Indeed, up until a few years ago, you had to pay quite a tidy sum for the great combination of light, easy to clean, easy to handle, high conductive induction cookware. Thanks to today’s mobile global supply chain which sources parts from all four corners of the world as well as changes in induction cookware design and technology, fast heating highly effective induction cookware can now be bought at affordable rates.
Always Remember that Induction Cooktops do not actually Generate Heat
The heat is generated at the heating disc or the hotplate. Understand that there is no flame or there is no electrical coil involved. It all boils down to having the right magnetic material to work with this system. This is a very important feature because it makes cooking safer as well as faster.
The great thing about all of this is that induction saves a lot of energy. It is also less hazardous. You can put your hand on an induction cooktop. You can even put a glass pot and not have to worry because it is not going to heat up. Make sure that you pay attention to the materials of the cookware you are using. It has to have enough ferrous or iron-based material for it to work with an induction cooktop.
Now that you have a clear idea of the types of pans you can use with induction cooktops or ranges, you should use the previous selection criteria you had when out shopping for pots and pans. Pay attention to space considerations. You might also want to factor in special surface requirements (ie., grooves or flat non-stick surface). In other words, as long as you are assured of a high quality hot plate or heating disk at the base of your cookware, you need to make sure you pick a pan you can actually use frequently.