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Induction Cookware

Induction cookware has become increasingly popular since its inception in the late 1980s and some predict that the sale of induction hobs will overtake that of gas hobs over the next 5 years.

The key to induction cooking appeal is its energy efficiency. The manufacturers' of the hobs claim that they are 90% efficient as opposed to around 55% for gas hobs and even lower for ceramic hobs.

Induction hobs operate through magnetism. The cookware has to have a magnetic layer in the pan base for the hob to switch on. It is the pan that is then heated and not the hob itself. So when you remove the pan, the heating process stops. This is both energy efficient and safer as there is no hot surface left to burn skin or other materials.

The induction form of flameless cooking has other advantages over conventional gas flame and electric cookers as it provides rapid heating and greater heat consistency. It also has the same or greater degree of controllability as gas.

There are some drawbacks to induction hobs, however. One is that you can only use certain cookware! Cast iron work as it is already magnetic. Most ranges such as Swiss Diamond Induction, the new Gastrolux Induction, add a magnetic layer to their original pan ranges. This make Induction pans generally more expensive than those suited to more convention hobs. Other ranges, such as Mauviel M Cook and Demeyere, have just one range which includes the magnetic layer. These ranges are at the priciest end of cookware in any event.

A second disadvantage is that pans placed on an induction cooker must contain oil or a liquid to absorb the heat; otherwise, the rapid increase in temperature will cause food to burn. This is rather like placing food on an already hot gas range.

NB Not all pans will work on every size of hob top either. I would recommend reading the guidelines to your induction hob carefully before buying your cookware, as the hob manufacturer could give guidelines as to which cookware is recommended.

One exciting technological advance that Induction hobs allow, is the ability to have automatic switch off at certain temperatures. For pans with the traditional non stick materials which should not be heated over 250oC is this a great advantage. On just a practical point, it stops the food burning, too!

Demeyere have brought out their ControlInduc range which cuts out the heating process in exactly this way. Still at the very pricey end but should come down in price as the technology gets more widespread.

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