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Induction Cookware Guide

Induction cookware is becoming increasingly popular and some predict that the sale of induction hobs will overtake that of gas hobs in the next 5 years.

The key to induction hob appeal is 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 work through the use of magnetism. Cookware has to have a magnetic layer in the base of the pan in order for the hob to switch on. It is the pan that is heated and not the hob itself. So when you remove the pan, the heating stops. This is both energy efficient and safer as there is no hot surface left exposed.

This form of flameless cooking has other advantages over conventional gas flame and electric cookers as it provides rapid heating, greater heat consistency, plus the same or greater degree of controllability as gas. And of course, as the hob is not heate, then spills are easier to clean as they do not burn onto the hob surface.

There are some drawbacks to induction hobs. One is that you must have cookware that can work them! Cast iron will do so 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 does make the pans more expensive than those suited for 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 I would say is the general one, that applies to all new technologies. There are teething problems! The new Induction cookware ranges have not yet stood the test of time and are constantly being improved. 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 they could give guidelines as to which cookware is recommended.

One last advice! - Read your Induction Hob instructions carefully. Not all induction hobs work with all induction pans - sometimes the size of the hob and the size of the pan means that the magnetism does not work. So check your instructions and fit your pan to the hob on you would like to use.

Another 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 a very new ControlInduc range which cuts out the heating process in exactly this way. The range is still at the very pricey end but should come down in price as the technology gets more widespread.

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