As Hurricane Dorian bears down on the east coast, we wanted to share some tips-n-tricks on food safety due to power outage; specifically, here’s how a single cup of water can protect your family from potentially deadly food poisoning.
These simple tips help to ensure you know whether your frozen food is still safe to eat, especially if you’re forced to evacuate your home and can’t be sure of how long the power has been out.
Food Safety due to Power Outage
We live in an area that is prone to severe storms, tornadoes, and the occasional hurricane as well. It’s not unusual for us to lose power one or more times per WEEK. Since we have a tendency to travel, camp or otherwise spend time away from home doing other things, it’s imperative that we know how long the power has been out to ensure the food in our freezer is safe to eat.
The easiest way to do so is to fill a straight-edged cup 3/4 of the way full and freeze it. Once it’s completely frozen, place a quarter on top.
In the event of a power outage, the ice will start to melt. If you think there’s been an outage, simply check to see if the quarter is still on top (or the middle) of the ice, if it isn’t, that means the freezer dropped to an unsafe level and the food may not be safe to consume.
More Helpful Tips
As we mentioned above, to ensure this works, be sure to use a straight glass, if it has “shoulders” like the mason jars pictured below, the glass WILL break.
How to Protect the Food in the Freezer
Another great way to help the freezer stay at temperature is to freeze gallon bags full of water. Fill freezer bags with water leaving about 2 inches of headspace from the top, remove as much air as possible.
Place the filled bags of water flat on a tray and place them into the freezer, letting them freeze solid overnight. Once the bags have been frozen solid, remove them from the tray and place them strategically throughout the freezer between other frozen packages. This helps keep the other foods frozen should the power unexpectedly go out.
Should they completely thaw during a long-term outage, they also serve as a fresh source of drinking water.
If you don’t place the bags of water on a tray, they can fall through the grates of the freezer and become stuck once they freeze.
If you haven’t been forced to evacuate or you’re home during the power outage be sure to leave the refrigerator and freezer doors closed once the power has gone out. Leaving them sealed helps them maintain temperature for a longer period of time.