If you have decided to read this article, then I salute you. It means you are responsible enough to stock up your fridge with food. It also means you are responsible enough not to want to waste food (and the money you spent) if the power goes out.
The thing is, power outage is very common right now. With hurricane season in full swing, we can all expect the power to go out at some point. Accordingly, being equipped and knowing what to do with the food in your fridge is a good way to prevent waste.
So are curious to know what to do with the meat in your fridge? What about the milk and that fine stinky cheese? The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have some valuable tips for you.
When the power goes out, avoid opening your fridge or freezer. Your fridge will keep cold for four hours if you keep it shut. A freezer will keep its temperature for almost 48 hours, while it will hold it for 24 hours if it’s only half full.
Goes without saying then, that you should avoid staring at your open fridge trying to figure out what it is you feel like eating. When the power goes out, just grab and go. The first thing you grab should be it!
Cross contamination is not something you want to happen. That’s why it’s best to avoid placing raw meat next to fruit in your fridge or next to hams and cheese. When the power goes out, cross-contamination is even more of a risk.
If you do have thawing meats, then place them on a separate shelf away from other foods. You can also seal the meat for further prevention. Foil or plastic work well for covering. Also, cover up your other food too. Things should not be left in cans and hams should be sealed well.
If available, use block ice to keep your fridge cold for longer. “Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.” That’s enough time for you to eat more things from your fridge and avoid waste.
Now, before you start eating food from your fridge, it’s best to check its temperature. Food like seafood, meat, and eggs that have been in a 40°F temperature for more than two hours should be thrown away. You could be risking food poisoning.
You should also be wary of the food in your freezer. “The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed out may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.” So even if your power comes back and your meat has refrozen, you could still be risking getting sick by eating that refrozen meat.
Getting food poisoning is definitely not a walk in the park. What’s worse than food poisoning is getting it when there’s a hurricane devastating your hometown. Can you imagine trying to head to the hospital and feeling sick while getting chased by a hurricane?
Remember, when in doubt, it’s best to throw food away. Ideally, you’d throw a party as soon as the power goes out. Everyone at home can eat whatever they want from the fridge or freezer, that way, there’s no waste and the food is still good.
You also have another option. You can stop adulting and go back to being irresponsible and eating out every night. That way you can eat cereal and watch Netflix when the hurricane hits rather than clean out your fridge.