Tempted to buy an induction hob, but dreading the thought of replacing pots, pans and all the utensils you’ve been using in your kitchen so far? Relax! The induction cooker is not as special as it’s painted to be. What you need to know?
Induction hob is becoming more and more popular solution in kitchens. Induction, or electromagnetism, is a physical reaction that heats up not the heating element but the metal pot placed on it
The hob reacts to the load and the material placed on it – thanks to that the risk of burns is reduced to minimum (the hob heats up only at the moment of contact with the pot), energy consumption is also reduced (more and more induction stoves have a pot size detection system and activate only a part of coils responsible for heating process, thus reducing power consumption).
Sounds great, but you probably want to find out what kind of pots you should use to make them work with your hob. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not just pots with an embossed induction coil mark at all!
Here’s what to look for when choosing cookware for your induction stove.
But the bottom!
The most important part of a pot – is its bottom. This applies to all pots, not only for hobs. But with induction it is especially important.
It was mentioned earlier that the hob reacts to the pressure the pot exerts on its surface. Rounded and irregularly bulging or pressed bottoms may not have sufficient contact surface to initiate induction. Therefore, always choose cookware with a flat bottom and preferably straight, vertical sides.
Onions have layers… and bottoms too!
And we don’t mean milk pots. The bottom of a quality cookware usually consists of several layers, of which we are only able to determine the material of the first one. In order for an induction cooktop to work, it is necessary to determine whether the pan was made of a metal alloy with iron.
The simplest way to do this is with a magnet test: if a magnet is attracted to the bottom of the pan from a short distance, it’s safe to say that one of the raw materials used was iron. Consequently, the cookware will be susceptible to induction and hob operation.
Steel, enamel, cast iron?
When buying pots for induction cooktops, you can skip pots in advance
- marked as entirely made of aluminum or stainless steel.
These materials will not pass the magnet test and therefore will not be detected by the hob as compatible. An exception to the rule is cookware labeled as manufactured for use on induction cooktops – but then remember that they have an admixture of iron, which may react differently than the rest of the material. In this case it is advisable to check the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Size does matter
Induction hobs work thanks to a set of coils that create an electromagnetic reaction. Consequently, usually the heating area will be limited precisely by their arrangement.
If the cooktop is not equipped with a system of matching heating surfaces and combining burners, we have to reckon with the fact that a dish in a too large pot will cook unevenly, and a small pan will heat up too much and the heat will be absorbed also in other elements, e.g. the handle.
Fortunately, most induction cooktops have burner dimensions in their descriptions so you can fit the right pots.
Replacing your stove with an induction cooktop does not involve replacing all of your kitchen equipment. You may find, after reviewing your cookware, that even though you don’t have a single one embossed with the induction coil logo , you can still save yourself from buying a new kitchen set. All it takes is a magnet, a critical eye, and a little patience!