Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Induction cooking technology is safer, more energy-efficient, and creates delicious food! Why would you limit that to the kitchen? Enter the portable induction unit. Camping, tailgating, living in small spaces, traveling - got you thinking, didn’t I?
First, before you pack that induction burner and take off to the great beyond - let’s go over the basics of induction cooking.
The burner does not heat up first, then heat the cookpot. The burner uses electromagnetic induction to heat the pot itself .
Because of how this works, your cookpots must have flat bottoms and be made of an iron-containing material. Cast iron, stainless steel, enameled steel. Those aluminum camp pots are out. A good quick test is to see if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pot.
The burner (called a hob) doesn’t heat up as much and cools down as soon as the pot is removed.
The induction unit plugs into a standard electric outlet and uses less energy than traditional hotplates.
The induction unit is easy to clean, safe, and easy to cook on.
Practice makes perfect with induction cooking. Before you take that camping trip or pack it for the football game, you need to master the basics. Cook some basic items first - boil some pasta, cook a burger, fry an egg. This will teach you the settings you need for your cooking and help you get a feel for your new appliance. The induction cooktop is exceptional at maintaining temperature without hot or cold spots, allowing for more even cooking. It also can maintain foods at warm or simmer, keeping it fresh and hot. Adjustments to temperature happen immediately, allowing for precision.
Be aware that induction hobs cook faster. Because there is no warm-up period for the pot to get up to temp and heat your oil, you need to be ready. If you are heating you pan while breading your meat, you may have some burned oil. Preparation is key!
There are some important safety precautions to be aware of when using induction technology:
The electromagnetic field surrounding the cooker can damage sensitive electronics like TVs, radios, phones, and tablets.
People with pacemakers need to be cautious and check with their physician before purchase. Some types of pacemakers are okay; some are not.
The burner doesn’t “look” hot when it is cooking. When the pan is in contact, and it is on, some units don’t have a red glow or any light as a warning. There is no flame or red element. This can be dangerous when around children or large groups.
It Makes Sense
The induction cooker is ideally suited for outside applications and travel for a few reasons:
No worry about windy conditions on a gas flame.
If the unit somehow tips over, no risk of fire - the burner will stop heating when the pot leaves the surface.
Cools down very quickly - safer around children and shorter wait times to pack away.
Easy to wipe clean
Takes up little room when packing
Affordable - even the highest tech units are around 100$, with many around 50$.
Out and About
Camping: After a strenuous day hiking or canoeing, we all get back to camp and want food - fast. Sitting around a campfire or slow grilling is great, but not when you are super hungry! This is where the induction cooker comes in and whips up some grub quickly. Whether using it on the picnic table or in the RV, the burner is super portable and lightweight.
Tailgating and Outdoors: One exciting thing about the induction cooktop is that some models already have settings for soup, water, fry, hot pot, or stir-fry. The induction cooktop can take the place of several smaller appliances, such as a fryer or rice cooker, making traveling light even easier! Hot chocolate or soup on cold game days, a cajun shrimp boil, ramen, frying fresh-caught fish at your campsite, the possibilities are endless.
Traveling: Staying in hotels gets expensive, and so does eating in restaurants every meal. You can cook some simple and delicious foods right in your hotel room with minimal mess. This can not only save you money but help manage special dietary needs and lifestyles. This can help you stay under your budget and your calories! Save the funds for a special night out and enjoy more travel time.
The Office: Tired of brown bag lunches or microwave ramen cups? An induction cooker at the office could change the way you do lunch! It also comes in handy on potluck days or for treating your office mates. No more boring turkey sandwiches for you!
Entertaining: An additional burner can also come in handy when entertaining, such as hosting Thanksgiving when there are more dishes to cook than stovetop to cook them on. Speaking of entertaining - keeping a pot warm can add flexibility to your layout. Taco bar, anyone? Soup and sandwiches? You can set up anywhere you have an outlet and a flat surface.
Parents: Feeding a bunch of hungry teenagers before the big game? Classroom parties? Using an induction burner may be the answer to your problems. Easier to pack than crockpots of food, and less messy. The top that cools quickly is safer for kids (and adults!) and helps make you the party queen. Go you!
Working: Working on the road? Truck drivers and traveling workers of all kinds use induction burners to eat healthier and save money. Save those food dollars for when you get home to the family, and avoid high calorie and high sodium restaurant meals that can make traveling hard on your health.
Induction hot plates come in various sizes - from small and light for a small pot to larger and double-burner models. Choose which one fits your lifestyle and needs. Some choose to have two one-burner units to add flexibility.
A portable induction cooker is guaranteed to be one of the most-used appliances in your arsenal for cooking meals on the go!