When you have a covered saucepan simmering on the stove, the lid can get pretty hot. Before you start cooking, slide a few wine corks under the lid handle. Squeeze them in tightly, and you have a built-in heat-resistant grip that you can grab without burning your hand and without needing a pot holder.
Maxwell Ryan, founder of The Kitchn, offers this method for reusing wine corks to make cooking a little easier and safer:
Even with the best-designed pots and lids, the handles can get so hot during cooking that your hand is easily burned if you don’t think quickly enough to throw on an oven mitt. My mum’s little cork trick gets rid of the need for a mitt. The corks stay cool and create the nicest grip you could possibly imagine to lift the lid.
The corks age gracefully, standing up to water, oil and heat. They also make the lids look totally pro, giving everyone the impression (correctly, I’m sure) that you really know what you’re doing in the kitchen — aside from drinking a lot of wine.
Ryan suggests using traditional wine corks (avoid the plastic ones), and seeing if you can get three snugly under each handle (as in the image above). The corks will stay cool enough to touch even if the rest of the lid is hot. The biggest challenge? Relatively little wine in Australia these days is sold with corks (which is not a bad thing — screw caps are far more effective).