Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Food Saftey For Power Outages


With all of the storms we are experiencing this season, power outages are probable in many parts of the country. How that effects food safety can be determined by a little logic, and a simple trick.
Should you experience a power outage, it is important to open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible, to avoid letting any warm air in, or allowing the cold air to escape. If the power outage is not too long, it’s possible that some of your foods can be saved. Keeping a thermometer in the refrigerator is the best indicator of potential spoilage.

The safe temperature in a refrigerature is below 40 degrees, and below 34 degrees for fish. If the temperature outside is in that range, you are safe place your food items outdoors; properly wrapped, of course. Although the freezing point is 32 degrees, the freezer should be kept at zero degrees or below for optimum storage saftey. Frozen foods should be only kept outdoors when the temperature is more extreme, and the foods are well protected. Freezer burn occurs when the food is exposed to cold air, not temperature.

Lately, the internet is buzzing with this tip, and it is one worth sharing.
When a storm is imminent, freeze a cup of water, and place a quarter on top, and leave it in your freezer.

When you open the freezer, if the quarter is sitting on top, it means the water didn’t thaw and the food you had in the freezer likely didn’t thaw either.

If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, that indicates that the water thawed, forcing the coin to the bottom. Partial thawing would have allowed the coin to submerge, and then refreeze, placing the coin elsewhere in the cup.  In either case, the food in the freezer should be thrown away to avoid causing illness.

If you have a way to cook during the power outage, via a gas stove or an outdoor grill, it is the best way to salvage frozen food that is thawing. Just remember to eat it and toss the leftovers, , as the cooked food will require refrigeration.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

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