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The Future of Cooking…. (or What Exactly is Induction Cooking?)

by Randy Lockard, Appliance Specialist

The purpose of this blog is not to teach you what goes on under the hood, so to speak. I could fill pages on the subject that would have you face-down snoring within moments. The purpose of this blog is to teach you why you need induction.
Induction is not new technology. Shown for the first time in 1933 at the Chicago World’s Fair, induction cooking was heralded as “The Kitchen of the Future”. Then it sat, unused in appliances for nearly 40 years. The ability to produce induction appliances affordably did not yet exist.
That changed in the 70’s when European companies needed to produce extremely efficient, cleaner cooking appliances. Around that time NASA was developing it for the space program as well, and America was introduced to this “new” revolution in cooking.
Induction works by creating a magnetic field between your cooking vessel and the generator located beneath the surface, bypassing the surface entirely. In very simple layman terms, induction works by heating the cooking vessel directly. Any normal cooking appliance works by heating up the surface (gas or electric), and then heating up the vessel, and then the food.
Now here is the only tricky part. Induction does require that you use cooking vessels that a magnet will stick to. If your vessel will not hold a magnet, it will not even get slightly warm. Nada. Zip. Nothing!
According to national averages, electric ranges take 13 minutes to boil a gallon of water. Gas ranges take 16 minutes. This is not a typo….gas takes longer to get to temperature. Flame is inconsistent and most of your heat hits the bottom of the pan and simply rolls off and into your kitchen. Induction takes less than 3 minutes per gallon, and in many cases, far less.
Serious cooking fanatics seem to fall into 2 groups. Those who love gas and would never consider cooking on electric; and the exact opposite. Now I understand both sides, trust me. Gas proponents love the ease of cooking and how fast you can change temperature and they hate the clean-up involved with all of the grates, burners and such. Electric-lovers enjoy the ease of clean-up and hate how hard it is to control the heat. Fast response time does not exist with standard electric cooking. Induction can free you from all of these problems.
No cooktop, whether gas or electric, is as easy to clean as induction.
With induction cooking, your surface does not heat up. With your range at home right now, when you spill onto the cooktop it burns on because the surface is extremely hot, whether gas or electric. This makes it difficult to keep your cooktop looking good without some serious elbow grease. And you might as well forget about even trying to clean it for 20-30 minutes until it cools down. The only reason the cooking surface heats up at all with induction is because you just had a hot pan sitting on it that transferred some heat downwards. The surface also only heats up directly under the pan, and not the entire cooking ring. The cooktop is cool to the touch right up to the edge of the pan. You can immediately wipe the surface clean with a damp towel or sponge without waiting for it to cool down.
No cooktop, whether gas or electric, is as safe as induction.
Modern induction cooking appliances are extremely smart. They know where the cooking vessels are, and where they are not. If you accidentally turn on one of the burners and do not have a pan on it, the cooktop will shut off after a few seconds. Child-locks are standard issue on most units. If you have an absent-minded moment and boil the pan dry, most sense the temperature spike and shut off as well. If you do the same with a traditional range you can cause serious damage to yourself and your home. Even if you get lucky and do not burn your home down, your range is usually destroyed in the process. When we demonstrate induction, we place a paper towel or dishtowel UNDER the boiling pot to show how safe it is!
No cooktop, whether gas or electric, is as energy efficient as induction.
According to appliance averages, gas cooking is the least energy efficient type of cooking. Because most of the heat from your flame hits the bottom of the pan and rolls up the side of it, only 40% of your gas gets used to cook. That means 60% is wasted in heating up your kitchen.
Electric cooking is much more efficient as the pan is in direct contact with the cooking surface, (consequently this same contact is why electric cooking does not have the response time gas does), and is 60% efficient. This still means that 40% of your spent electricity was wasted heating up the elements and cooktop.
“But Randy, what about induction”, you ask? The average is over 90% efficiency, and most are 95%. This is an incredible savings over the life of the appliance! Live off the grid in remote Alaska where the price of a kilowatt is high? Always wanted gas but can’t have it for some reason? You should seriously consider induction.
Clean, Safe, and Efficient.
It really is the trifecta of modern cooking.
Whoever coined the phrase, “A watched pot never boils”, never knew about induction.
Come in today for a demo and see for yourself what the future of cooking has to offer!

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