I have to tell you that receiving the message in today’s post put the biggest smile on my face. Induction cooking? Oh yes, I do know something about that! But I must confess that the prologue to Cathy’s question is what warmed my heart.
Dear Mary: First of all, I want to thank you, thank you, thank you for your years of advice and guidance! I have purchased your books, READ your books, and given them as gifts many times. I hardly EVER buy anything or try a new product without checking with you first. I know that if you have endorsed it, I can trust it. Thank you for promoting quality and value in all the products and ideas you share. Your work is amazing.
That being said, my husband and I just purchased a home. The gas stove and microwave oven are 28 years old. Although they both still work, (I know, they don’t make them like this anymore) they look their age and I question the safety of the microwave. I was all ready to purchase a mid-level free-standing gas range.
However, on a recent shopping trip we were introduced to electric induction ranges. Wow, was I impressed! The convenience and control of a gas stove top with the an easy-to-clean smooth top. This has totally confused my decision. Induction cooktops are still quite a bit more expensive, so it’s a big choice. The salesperson was unable to identify any drawbacks to these ranges at this time—other than the fact that we may have to purchase new cookware, which he said can be purchased for around $300 for an adequate set.
The other factor is that my husband and I purchased this home with the plan to sell within 10 years—we got it for a good price and believe we will be able to resell at a profit as long as we do some good, cost effective updating. I would love, love, love and appreciate your advice! Cathy
Dear Cathy: You sure know how to make my day! I could have edited out all of the mushy stuff in your message to get right to the subject of induction cooking, but as you see, I didn’t. Thank you so much for your support—for being there, for trusting me, and for giving me a renewed determination to keep doing what we do here every day.
Now, on to induction cooking. It’s one of my favorite topics.
During the 18 months that we lived in a tiny apartment in anticipation of our move to Colorado, I did not have a traditional stove. Instead, I used my Breville Smart Oven and portable single burner Duxtop SingIe Burner Induction Cooktop.
Induction is definitely a different method of cooking with a slightly challenging learning curve. But oh my, once you get the hang of it—chances are you’ll not want to look back to either traditional electric or gas cooking. It is truly amazing. Because the cooktop itself does not create heat it uses precious little energy. The cooking vessel (pot, skillet, griddle) creates its own heat which is just plain … cool!
And clean up of the induction cooktop itself? Always quick and easy. I made our big traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in that tiny kitchen with those two appliances. Clean up was easy, the eating even better. We did not suffer, trust me.
From time to time I will need to use Cerama Bryte and a blue scrubby sponge on my induction cooktop, but that’s only because I allowed the pot or skillet to reach a very high temperature, and something splashed out and got between the pot and the cooktop.
As for cookware, yes, it must be induction compatible, or as some manufacturers describe theirs, “induction ready.” However, I’ll bet the salesperson didn’t mention that all cast iron cookware is compatible as are most sets of stainless steel cookware these days. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cookware you have already is induction ready. Here’s how to test:
Get a magnet. If it sticks tightly to the pan, it’s induction ready. If it doesn’t stick at all, that pot is probably aluminum, which is not at all compatible with induction. If it kinda’ sticks but can easily slide or move around on the pot, it’s likely low-quality stainless steel or aluminum clad with stainless. You’re looking for a very firm connection between the magnet and the pot.
One exception: If your has a round bottom, it’s not going to work on an induction burner regardless its content. And you cannot just add a ring to your cooktop—you’ll need either a flat bottom wok or a special induction wok hob which will be an added expense.
Here’s my advice: Since your appliances are still in working order, take some time to test induction cooking. Invest in a good portable induction cooktop burner then use it every chance you get.
Read the manual over and again. (I still refer to mine.) For a small investment, you will soon figure out if induction cooking is right for you before committing to thousands of dollars in new appliances. That’s what I would do. This will also give you an opportunity to test your current cookware, too, for compatibility. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the cookware you have already is fully induction compatible.
With our most recent 2018 kitchen remodel, I went from that single induction burner to the GE Cafe 5-Burner Induction Cooktop. It is just amazing, and I believe we will never go back to either gas or smooth top electric options. My induction cooktop cleans up like a dream (I said that already, didn’t I … but it’s such an important feature).
And it is powerful! I can set a large pot of water to boil and it will be rolling in about 90 seconds—and that’s at 5,280 ft. altitude.
I can have a skillet of vegetables and or meat sauteing on High, observe that it’s done, touch Low on its burner and it will calm down to a low temp almost instantly. Induction has a superior reactive quality to gas cooking and clean-up quality that far exceeds a smooth glass top electric cooktop.
Induction cooking is powered through electromagnetism which heats the steel and iron in induction compatible cookware. I don’t know the details but I can vouch for the results!
As for your home’s resale value, as induction cooking becomes more well known (and loved), a beautiful induction range or cooktop will, in my opinion, make your property more valuable and desirable. As the pros say: The kitchen and bathrooms sell a home.
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