Introduction to Induction

Induction cooking has been in the headlines lately as an alternative to gas. We’ve been cooking (or avoiding cooking) on an induction cooktop since November. Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

  1. Your cooktop will have more influence your cooking than you are used to. It’s not quite as simple as grabbing a pot, putting it on the stove, turning it on and cooking. Because…
  2. It’s not visual. If you’re used to gas, you probably judge the level of heat by looking at the flame–looks too high, turn it down. You know what the flame for medium heat looks like and where it needs to be for a controlled simmer. Not so with induction. You can’t see it or feel it so it’s basically a crap shot and varies with different cookware.
  3. You will probably need different cookware. If a magnet doesn’t stick to your pot or pan, it won’t work. Cast iron will, but you need to be careful not to scratch the surface. And if you have an inexpensive top, you’ll be limited to the sizes you can use. If your pan is too big or too small for the heating area, it won’t work. I was looking for a very small pot to melt butter and then I realized it would be too small for the smallest ring on our stove.
  4. I’m still getting used to the stove top and the cookware, but with a simple induction top like ours your options are limited to both the size of the pan and the control you have over the temperature.
  5. If you’re in the market for an induction cooktop, spend money on it. The more expensive models have more adjustments for heat. According to the NYT piece, there are models with lights that mimic the flames of a gas stove (so you can skip #2 above). I’ve seen some here that have more of a choice for where you can put your pans—you’re not limited to staying within the rings.
  6. Induction cooktops are much easier to clean.

As an aside, I’ve had gas ranges for most of my adult life. And I’ve woken up and started sneezing almost every day. It was never anything serious, but I was starting to wonder if there was something I was having for breakfast that was the culprit. Since we’ve been in the apartment with the induction top-nothing. Totally unscientific but…



2 thoughts on “Introduction to Induction”

  1. It’s a learning curve! Interesting that you’ve been burning things and I’ve been undercooking them. I think the difference in cooktops is so much bigger than with electric or gas.

  2. It has been a little over a year, and I am still regularly burning things. The stovetop seems to heat so much faster and perhaps cooks faster than I am used to. It takes no time to bring liquids to a furious boil. The easy cleaning and neat appearance are a plus!

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