Frozen foods: There is an old myth out there that if everything in your freezer
defrosts... it's all bad. A defrosted freezer is one of the fears
that we all have when a hurricane or other natural storm approaches.
Can you save that food if it defrosts? Probably so....
Think about it! How many freezers have gone out, or
"died" (that means "quit
working"), or quit because of a power outage, and the contents, meat, beef, pork, seafood or whatever, never
reached a temperature above 40°F, yet, all was thrown away! If the food has
thawed and NEVER reached a temperature ABOVE 40°F you
can re-freeze it. Having a freezer thermometer tells you
The rule (USDA rule) is any perishable
and refrigerated (even frozen already) food that reaches a temperature
above 40°F is not good to keep. That means if the food
40°F "THE FOOD IS STILL GOOD"! Just keep it at or below
40°F and it will be just fine.
Here's a common
sense solution to possibly avoid loosing your frozen foods. Keep a thermometer in your freezer
at all times. If the freezer goes out, and, you're lucky enough to catch
it, open the door and look at the thermometer. Bingo, there's your
decision maker. If the temperature is below 40°F you're okay. You can
quickly ice the food down and it'll be okay. Throw bags of ice or dry ice in the freezer,
hey, the freezer
is insulated, it'll stay good! You've got to move quick on this though,
and watch the thermometer!
On the other hand if it is at, or above, 40°F for more than two hours you're luck just ran out... throw it all in the trash! This rule holds
true for all frozen meats and vegetables. Foods spoil between 40°F
and 140°F, that's a proven fact.
If you anticipate the power going out (a hurricane is
approaching) get yourself an ice chest or two and fill them with ice
(leave the ice in the bags) a day before the storm is to hit. If
your power goes out you're ready. Think ahead of what you might
cook, open the freezer and get it out and put those foods in an ice
chest. Don't open the freezer any more than you have to.
If your freezer is not full pack it with bags of ice before the
power goes out. The less free air space you have the slower your
foods will defrost.
You can also save your food with a generator. If your freezer has
been out but the food stayed below plug it into the generator and
let it run as much as you can. Don't be surprised if the food does
not re-freeze right away. What's important is the power being on
will keep the food cold enough not to spoil, it will eventually
If you have a gas stove you can always cook several things, keep
them in ice chests then freeze the already cooked foods when the
power comes back on.
Okay, I can tell by that look on your face that you don't quite believe me,
so, here's the proof... (click
Do you know how long foods KEEP in the freezer? FSIS
Web Site... this tells it all.
Be smart, think ahead.