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I have been very fortunate to never have a power outage, but there have been circumstances where my chest freezer was unplugged, or my refrigerator died.
Regardless of the reason your food is left to thaw, the following tips will help you decide what to keep, what to cook, and what to throw away…
If a power outage is 2 hours or less, you need not be concerned. But how do you save your food when the refrigerator is out for longer times? Being prepared can help. By planning ahead, you can save your perishables.
First and foremost, when a short term power outage happens, you should avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer.
Time Of Year
The best time for a fridge to break or a freezer to defrost (if there is such thing as a good time) is in the winter.
If you quickly realize that your refrigerator is not working, before items get a chance to go bad, you can put everything in a crate or cooler and sit it outside in the cold.
If this is not possible, you will want to get some ice and use a cooler to keep dairy items and condiments cold while you pick up a new unit or fix your existing one.
What To Toss, Cook Or Refreeze
Throw away foods that have thawed out and are room temperature. These food items are likely to have grown bacteria and should not be ingested. It an item has been at room temperature for 2 hours or more, or you are not sure how long it has been at room temperature, then throw it away.
Cook foods that are cold to the touch, or still slightly thawed. Cooking the food prevents bacteria from growing. You may re-freeze the food items after cooking, but you will want to consume that food in a reasonable amount of time.
Re-freeze items that are still frozen and have ice crystals on them. If you don’t have a working freezer, you can put them in a cooler with dry ice. Cook these items as soon as possible.
For ideas on how to cook all of that defrosted food, see the Food Safety page at RecipeTips.com.
According to the University of Minnesota, you can put dry ice in a freezer as well. In fact, 50 lbs of dry ice should keep food in a 20 cubic feet freezer frozen for up to 4 days.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.