written by: Ashlye Richardson•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 7/30/2011
While gas prices continue to rise, many chefs are seeing induction cookers as a great investment. Overall, induction cookers are safer and more efficient than conventional stoves. Here is a guide to induction cookers and their many benefits.
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Although induction cookers are not a new kitchen gadget, they fit well with environmental concern and energy conservation. Induction cookers help protect the environment as well as increase energy efficiency. Currently, gas prices are still rising. This is an obvious advantage of cookers. The technological advances and the growing awareness of how beneficial cooking with induction is, explains why more chefs are jumping on the bandwagon.
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How Induction Works
An induction cooker primarily consists of a high-frequency electromagnet. The magnet is extremely powerful and uses electromagnetism under the cookers surface to generate heat. When a heavy piece of cookware is placed in the magnetic field, the field transfers or "induces" energy into the cookware. It’s important to note that the cookware must be magnetic. The transferred energy is what causes the piece of cookware to become hot. The temperature setting allows the cooker to control the strength of the electromagnetic field. This is how the chef controls the amount of heat that is produced. The biggest advantage of this is that the heat is produced instantaneously.
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Induction Cookers vs. Traditional Gas Stoves
Induction cooking is not as widely accepted as cooking with gas or electric stovetops, but it is still the chosen method of cooking for many chefs. Induction cookers are becoming more popular because they are more efficient and less expensive to use. They also emit less heat than conventional stove-tops and they are a lot safer. This is partially due to the fact that the cooker incorporates an automatic cookware detector. Induction cookers are ideal because the surface remains cool to the touch.
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Induction Cookers are Better
As previously mentioned, the top of the cooker stays completely cool. This means there is no way to burn your hands or your fingers. Induction cookers are a lot safer than stovetops because there are no open flames. This is an ideal feature for the chef that is also a parent. If there are any small children in the household, then an induction cooker is a great investment.
Induction cookers require less maintenance than conventional stovetops. These cookers are easy to clean because the cooking surface is smooth as well as flat. Although the cookers have several different heating zones, the surface does not get hot. This is ideal for the messy chef because food spills will not burn or sizzle on the cooking surface.
Induction cookers are efficient because of how the energy is supplied to the device. Instead of heat being lost throughout the kitchen, the heat produced goes directly into the cooker. Open flames are replaced by a magnetic field. When using a conventional stovetop, the flames are converted from gas into heat. There is a percentage of wasted heat with gas stovetops. This makes induction cookers more efficient than conventional stoves. In comparison, 40% of the heat used by gas stoves actually gets used to cook. Conversely, induction cookers use 80% percent of the heat in the electricity to cook.
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Induction Cookers Have a Disadvantage
A small amount of noise is created by the cooker's internal fan. Although the induction cooker does not make piercing noises, the cookware used on the cooker may create a minor sound. It’s important to note that the cookware has to be compatible with the cooker. On some cooking surfaces, there may be a slight buzzing sound with non-compatible cookware. When the buzzing sound occurs, it is not generally loud; however, it can become annoying.
Loose handles on different cookware can vibrate somewhat
Pans with unbalanced bottoms can vibrate on the cooking surface
Solid cast iron cookware is not an issue nor is top of the line cookware
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What is a Quality Cooker?
GE offers an induction cooker that incorporates many innovative features. The GE cooker includes six temperature settings from keep warm to a max temperature setting of 410F. This cooker also includes eight different preset cooking programs. The programs are Simmer, Soup, Stew, Boil, Stir Fry, Hot Pot, Braise and Roast. The cooker is very convenient. If the cook does not prefer to use one of the preset cooking programs, then they can use the digital display to set preferences on cooking temperature and time.
GE Induction Cooker
Programmable digital timer with easy touch minute buttons
8 preset cook settings built into the induction cooker memory
The GE Induction Cooker is available at Wal-Mart for $59.99
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Why Jump on the Bandwagon?
Overall, an induction cooker is an investment. This technology provides an innovative form of flame-less cooking. Over the last few years, induction cookers have become more popular. There are advantages as well as disadvantages. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. An induction cooker provides improved efficiency, rapid heating and safe consistency.
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Author's own experience.
Insight - Kitchen of the Future - www.engadget.com