During the 18 months that we lived in a tiny apartment in anticipation of our move from California to Colorado, I did not have a traditional stove and oven. Instead, I used my countertop Breville Smart Oven and portable Duxtop single-burner induction cooktop.
INDUCTION IS DIFFERENT
Induction is definitely a different method of cooking with a somewhat 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!
INDUCTION MEANS CLEANING EASY
Cleanup of the induction cooktop is always quick and easy, no matter the mess I make while using it. I made our big traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in that tiny kitchen with those two appliances. Cleanup was easy, and the eating was even better. We did not suffer!
As for cookware, it must be induction compatible, or as some manufacturers describe theirs, "induction-ready." I wouldn't be surprised if the cookware you have already is induction-ready, as all cast-iron and most stainless-steel pots and pans are.
HOW TO TEST
You can determine in a second if your cookware is induction-ready. Get a magnet. If it sticks tightly to the pan, it will work beautifully for induction cooking. If it doesn't stick at all, that pot is probably aluminum, which is not 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 wok has a round bottom, it is not going to work on an induction burner, regardless of 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 if you are considering a switch to induction: While your appliances are still in working order, take some time to test induction cooking. Invest in a good portable induction cooktop burner, and then use it every chance you get.
For a small investment of around $50, you will soon figure out if induction cooking is right for you before committing to a big investment in an induction cooktop or range. 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 (we did make the move to Colorado), I went from that single-burner induction cooktop to the GE Cafe five-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 my induction cooktop to high and put on a large pot of water to boil, and it will be rolling in about 90 seconds — and that's at 5,280 feet of altitude.
I can have a skillet of vegetables and/or meat sauteing on high, observe that it's done and switch it to low, and it will calm down to a low temperature almost instantly. Induction has a superior reactive quality to gas cooking and cleanup 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 a 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.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
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