Ooooh So Clever!

Itís happened to the best of us. The powerís gone out and all of the food in our fridge went bad. How do we keep this from happening? Well, to help us all out, weíve just found this great article over at the ďAbout MoneyĒ website. Itís all about how to keep foods safe during a power outage! Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and it couldnít be truer for a situation like this.

The first thing you need to do is to get prepared with a little advanced planning. No one likes to think about possible power outages and other emergencies, but they can happen. Itís no use worrying about them! If you are prepared ahead of time, then you wonít need to think about them at all.

So the first thing you need to do is get yourself a couple of appliance thermometers: one for your refrigerator and one for your freezer. If you have any other freezers or fridges at your place, it would be best to get a thermometer for each one of them as well. These will give you reliable temperature readings should your power go out.

The next thing you need to do? Buy groceries! Lots and lots of groceries. Fill your fridge and freezer right up. Yup! A full fridge and freezer means a colder fridge and freezer. Itís a little known fact, but a full freezer will stay colder for twice as long as a half empty one! Same goes for the refrigerator. So lots of food is good preparation for all of you good girl guides. It is also a really good idea to make sure you have a lot of food stocked in your pantry and cupboards as well. What does this have to do with the refrigerator? Read on, and weíll tell you!

Thirdly, freeze water in advance! Get yourself some one-quart bags and plastic Tupperware. Fill the bags and containers with water and seal them up. Place them in your freezer or, even better, your deep freeze Ė that way, if the power goes out, you can stick them in your fridges and freezers and they will help keep the temperature cooler for longer.

Thatís it! Thatís all the advance planning you will need Ė stock your fridges and freezers with thermometers, food, and ice. And stock your pantries, too. Now you are ready, right? Nope, one more thing!

Always keep two or three ice cubes in a Ziploc bag in your freezer. Why? Because if the power goes out, and stays out, for a long time, you will immediately know if the interior temperature went above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. How? Because ice melts at that temperature!

So if and when your power goes out, the next step to remember is: only open the fridge and/or freezer whenever it is totally necessary. Eat other food stored at room temperature first (thatís why we told you to fully stock your cupboards and pantry)! The more you open your fridge/freezer, the more it will heat up, and you definitely want to keep it cold for as long as possible. An unopened fridge will stay cold for about four hours, then it will slowly start to warm up. An unopened freezer will stay cold for up to forty-eight hours if it is full and half that time if it is half empty.

If you have to endure a long power outage, then you will need to get more ice! Your local grocery store should have regular ice as well as dried ice.

When the power comes back on, check all of the fridge and freezer temperatures. How far did they go up? If itís forty degrees Fahrenheit or higher then you will need to discard the food. If it isnít quite that high, then check all of your items to make sure they are all still good. If you have any doubts whatsoever, itís always best to err on the side of caution. That means: throw it out or compost it - whatever you can do, but donít eat it!

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