Induction cooking is a new technology for cooking that relies on magnetic induction to quickly heat food. In contrast to earlier stoves that generate heat from a flame or heating element, portable electric hobs utilize fluctuations in a created magnetic field to heat cookware. This requires that pots and pans have adequate iron content, although alternate materials can be heated with the use of a ferromagnetic disk. A detailed description of how this technology works can be seen on General Electric's website.
Induction cooking has key advantages- food heats faster and with more control. The surface of the cooktop remains cool, making it safe and easy to clean. The action of the cooktop is dependent on the cooking vessel, and will turn off when the pot or pan is no longer in contact with its surface. These factors make it a low-maintenance, enjoyable means of cooking.
However, any conscious buyer should consider the energy cost and environmental impact of a cooking method before settling on an option. Studies regarding the efficiency of induction cooking suggest that it maintains better energy-efficiency than electrical and gas stoves. Even then, they're able to maintain the precise control similar to that which traditional users of gas stoves treasure.
The U.S. Department of Energy routinely tests efficiency of various cooking methods/materials. Efficiency here, is the relationship of the amount of applied heat to the energy consumed by the cooker. After considerable review and testing, DOE was able to purport that induction cooking was slightly more efficient than electric units and significantly more efficient than gas units. Independent testing produced slightly higher efficiency values, some as high as 84%. This may be because induction cooking involves placing direct energy on the pan to heat it. Other methods attempt to primarily create heat, which is then transferred to the pan.
Energy use is also calculated with regard to the origin of the energy applied in the system. When one recalculates efficiency with consideration of the origin, the efficiency reduces considerably when utilizing external electricity and gas. When compared to gas, induction cooking has enough of an edge in environmental and economical impact to be considered preferential. A step further, the best conservation of energy occurs when using induction cooking with solar power.
Heat loss is a major contributor to energy loss. Since induction cooking only heats the pan/pot, one can avoid the heat loss that occurs with other methods. Cooking creates significant ambient heat when energy is lost to the environment. This can require measures to ventilate the area, or even actively cool it. Induction cooking mitigates this effect as much less heat is cast into surrounding space. Furthermore, the speed with which induction cooking can be done creates significant energy savings over time.
While one must supplement an induction system with compatible pans and new cooking practices, induction cooking provides a sustainable, efficient, and safe method of cooking. Since cooking is a daily activity for most of us, it is reasonable to favor methods and tools that perform consistently with the least possible environmental impact. Induction cookware, similarly, is durable and efficient, and can last ages. The best cookware sets offer a variety of sizes and shapes for a wide range of cooking tasks. We have written a guide covering the best saucepans for induction cooking to help make your buying decision easier, go have a read.
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