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Anyone who’s cooked for even a short time is used to oven mitts and holders that can be slipped onto the hands or used to hold hot pans. Oven mitts or hot holders come in a variety of different types and materials, with silicone ones being most popular now because they are light and flexible. Another great way to keep from burning your hands when you pick up a hot pan is to use a pan handle mitt or pan handle cover.
Instead of holding a pan handle mitt on your hand, you slip it or wrap it in some cases, as the name suggests, right over the handle of the pan. They’re not necessary on pans that already have relatively heat proof handles (like wooden ones) provided you’re only doing stove top cooking. But many pans for use in ovens or on the stovetop have handles that get scorchingly hot, and can easily cause nasty burns. While you may remember that a pan is hot, not everyone will, especially young children, or someone who doesn’t realize you’ve been cooking. The pan handle mitt can be a way of avoiding accidental touching of a very hot handle, and the pain or damage that can occur from accidental burns.
You’ll find a variety of pan handle mitts on the market. Some look like a one-fingered glove and are slipped over handles of specific sizes. Others are open at both ends, which may not be quite as effective if you happen to press your hand against the uncovered part of the handle. You do want to look at the types you choose, and also figure out whether you’ll need to measure your handles to find the right fitting size, or if the pan handle mitt you buy can be trimmed to the size you need.
Another consideration is how much heat a pan handle mitt can take. Silicone versions are thought superior to most other types. They won’t catch fire, can be placed in ovens, and usually are dishwasher safe. Other mitts may have heat restrictions, so you may want to read guarantees regarding safe levels of heat. You might be able to use some mitts in the oven for most things, but not be able to use them at broiling temperatures. Note that while these holders make your hands safe from heat, they won’t make a non-oven safe pan safe in the oven. If you have a pan with a plastic handle, chances are it’s for stovetop use only.
You can find pan handle mitt types in lots of cooking supply stores, department stores or in any store that sells cooking gear. There are also plenty to choose from on the Internet, and the prices are usually quite reasonable. Average price on the high quality silicone versions range from about 5-10 US Dollars (USD) and you may be able to find a set of them for even more savings. These low prices are definitely worthwhile when you consider the price you’d pay instead for burning yourself on a hot pan.
@rundocuri- I agree with you, but I have to say that I like silicone pan handle mitts much better than those made of fabric materials.
I like the fact that you can simply wash them with warm soap and water after each use, and dry them off with a dish cloth. This is very convenient for me since I am usually in a hurry when I'm cooking.
I learned about these neat little kitchen gadgets a few years ago at a Mexican restaurant. When I ordered fajitas and my waiter brought them to me steaming hot, I noticed that the pan handle was covered with a pan handle mitt. Before that, I had never seen this type of kitchen mitt before.
Since learning about pan handle mitts, I bought several kinds, including those made of traditional materials and silicone. Both work equally well, in my opinion, and are less bulky and awkward than traditional oven mitts. They are also very easy to clean. All you have to is through those made of fabric in your washing machine and the mitts made of silicone go in the dishwasher. Since I cook a lot, I don't know how I ever got by without these mitts.
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