23. December 2013
Thanksgiving, Hanukah, and Christmas rank among the busiest cooking days of the year, leaving at-home chefs scrambling to strike culinary genius on dated cooktops that take up to 15 minutes to boil water. While holiday meal prep might twist even the bravest home cook’s stomach, the right appliance can help produce a gourmet meal with speed and ease.
Many Americans rely on traditional radiant, electric coils, or gas ranges, but their holiday cooking might be more festive and bright for all with an induction cooktop. Not yet mainstream in the U.S., induction can transform a kitchen in ways that chefs would be especially thankful for during the holiday season. Here’s our introduction to induction — the technology, the benefits, and how it can lend a hand this holiday season.
What is an induction cooktop?
Induction cooking uses electromagnetic waves to directly heat cookware. As opposed to traditional cooking techniques that follow three steps of heat transfer (from the heat source to the stovetop to the pot), with induction cooking, the pot is the heat source.
Induction ranges house a copper coil beneath a glass-ceramic cooktop. The coil generates an oscillating magnetic field that interacts with a metal pot, creating eddy currents that induce heat in the metal.
While pots on induction cooktops heat to the same temperatures as on traditional stoves, the glass-ceramic stovetop avoids direct heat from the burner or heat source. But beware, although the surface doesn’t heat directly, pans still transfer high residual heat to the glass.
What are the benefits of induction cooktops?
1. Speed. The number one benefit of induction cooktops over traditional stoves is that they shorten the cooking time. Induction cooktops directly heat pots, which then heat up faster, cutting overall time in the kitchen. In the case of boiling water — the bane of every home cook — induction stoves can bring the water to a rolling boil in a snap, slashing holiday meal prep time.
2. Energy efficiency. Going green in the kitchen is a recent trend among designers and home cooks alike, leading many to choose induction stovetops over traditional technologies. Since induction stoves reduce cook time, they also decrease total energy use. Also, since induction stoves heat pots directly, induction cooktops make use of 90 percent of the energy used to heat them, according to Popular Mechanics, which notes that conventional electric and gas ranges are as little as 65 percent and 40 percent efficient, respectively.
3. Safety. Between grease fires and little hands, stoves can be one of the most dangerous appliances in the home, especially during the holidays, sparking everything from minor burns to devastating house fires. By transitioning to induction cooktops, home cooks reduce the chance of burns and fires since the stovetops can only heat ferromagnetic pans. That way, if a child or unknowing cook accidentally turns on the stove, no heat emerges, keeping the whole family safe.
4. Cool kitchens. Every home cook has spent a few hours sweating in a hot kitchen over a holiday meal. With an induction stove, cooks no longer have to choose between taking the heat or getting out of the kitchen. Since induction stoves directly warm pans, they cut down on excess heat and keep the cooking environment cool and pleasant.
5. Easy cleaning. Cooking’s messy. It’s almost impossible to avoid spilling pasta sauce or dropping egg on a freshly cleaned stovetop. On the bright side, induction cooktops, like those using SCHOTT CERAN glass-ceramic, cut cleaning time. Instead of lifting burners and scrubbing frantically at baked on grease, cooks can quickly wipe down the flat surface with an approved glass cooktop cleaner and earn more relaxation time after a long day in the kitchen.
6. Enhanced design. The unique characteristics of induction technology open up design possibilities. Since the surface doesn’t get nearly as hot, designers can draw on different glass options (such as CERAN CLEARTRANS), explore new color and texture choices, and open up more space to include features such as interactive touch-screen displays or sophisticated lighting.
While installing a brand new induction stove just in time for Christmas might be a stretch, there are other ways to incorporate this life-changing appliance into your holiday plans. One- or two-burner induction cooktops can sit right on top of your counter and offer all of the benefits of induction without the price tag. They’ll also add cooking surfaces to speed up meal prep.
There you have it, an official introduction to induction and how it can help every home chef cook faster, cooler, and more efficiently. Happy holidays!