Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Induction Cooking Elements

Planning a kitchen remodel means there are plenty of options to choose and decisions to be made regarding the design and function of each aspect of the kitchen. An important decision regarding your cooking appliances and method of heating now has a third option. Induction heating is gaining popularity as costs have gone down and demand has gone up, and a kitchen remodel is the perfect time to look at adding induction heating to your home.

For decades, American kitchens have chosen between electric or gas ranges. Until today, there was never any other option, and so there was little research necessary into the benefits of either. Induction heating is more efficient (and cost effective) than both gas and electric heating because it uses magnetism and electric currents to heat. Gas and electric heating both use transfer heating, which is heating up the whole cooking area, while induction heating actually converts the pot or pan into a cooking device. By changing the current of the magnetic metal in a pot or pan just by being near it, induction heating affects only the object doing the cooking, and hands and other objects that would be burned by a flame are unaffected.

In order to use induction heating you must have all metal pots and pans, and they must also be magnetic. For example, cast iron and stainless steel are perfect for induction heating cooktops because they will heat all the way through as long as there is a flat bottom, while aluminum or copper are poor choices and might be destroyed. Fortunately, metal cookware is inexpensive and a kitchen remodel is the ideal time to replace your pots and pans anyway.

The biggest draw for induction cooking is that it's incredibly efficient. Food can be cooked much more quickly using induction heating; the entire pot is heated, causing water to boil faster, losing less heat and energy in the process. Plus, the kitchen will stay cooler because the air around the cooktop surface isn't heated, and all of the energy is used to cook food. Induction heating eliminates cold spots on the pot (at the top and sides) helping delicate foods like sauces cook evenly and at a constant, unchanging temperature. Induction is a great option for homes without easy access to a gas line.

However, the most appealing benefit for many homeowners interested in induction cooking is it's much safer for children to be around. The induction stove top is so efficient that just the pot or pan is heated and all a person has to do is move the hot pot away from the surface and it's instantly cool. Because children are curious and often don't know the dangers of a cook top, this can save burned fingers and make cooking with children around less stressful. Add to this that induction heating heats up quickly, a pot doesn't have to be left on the stove to warm up, reducing the time it takes to get dinner on the table and the risk that a child will injure himself.

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