What's So Great (or Not) About Induction Cooktops?

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About This Quiz

While American cooks have been using gas and electric heat generation for many decades, the induction cooktop has only recently made its way into the U.S. mainstream. It offers features you just don't find with other cooktops, and almost all of those features are positive. Here, test your knowledge of the pros, cons, and "Really?" aspects of induction cooking.

An induction cooktop employs which fundamental force to generate heat:

The "induction" in "induction cooktop" comes from "electromagnetic induction." This type of cooktop uses magnetism to induce an electric current in the pot, and that current produces resistive heat to cook what's inside.

Induction cooktops have been around since:

While induction cooking has only recently made its way into mainstream American markets, these cooktops have been around for about three decades. They've been common in European restaurants and homes since the 1980s.

Cooks who switch to induction from electric or gas may have to:

An induction cooktop requires pots made of a ferromagnetic metal, such as iron, in order for the electromagnetic heat induction to work. Typical stainless steel pots will not work.

Why are induction cooktops "greener" than gas and electric?

Whereas both gas and electric transfer heat to the pot via a middleman -- flames and a burner, respectively -- causing a good amount of heat to "leak" into the environment, induction generates heat directly in the pan. In this way, almost all of the heat goes toward cooking the food, and less electricity is used in the process.

Induction cooktops may be a safer option for homes with small children because:

Because heat is being generated in the pan itself, and not in the cooktop, an induction surface usually stays fairly cool to the touch. It would be much harder for children (or adults) to get burned by touching the cooktop.

Preparing which of the following foods is significantly easier using an induction cooktop?

Whereas both gas and electric can perform questionably at very low temperatures, induction offers complete control at any temperature setting. This allows for greater success with delicate, particularly temperature-sensitive foods like sauces.

Which feature of induction cooking tends to throw people off when they first get started with a new cooktop?

Because induction generates heat in the pan rather than transferring it from the cooktop, pans heat up considerably faster than on a gas or electric stove. New induction cookers will probably burn a few meals before they get used to the new timeframe.

When using induction, a cook has greater control over the culinary outcome because:

Electromagnetic heat induction allows for much smaller increments in temperature settings than do gas and electric. Some induction cooktops provide up to 20 settings.

Doing which of the following takes more time on an induction cooktop:

An induction cooktop has shorter cooking times across the board, because the pan heats up almost instantaneously. (Some induction cooktops can boil water in less than a minute.)

Pricewise, induction cooktops are:

It's mostly the price point of induction that has kept it out of the average American home. The average induction cooktop can cost two or three times as much as the average gas or electric one.

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