When you prepare to take a vacation, I’m sure you have a checklist in order to make sure you pack everything you need and to make sure everything is shut off and secured. But have you ever taken precautions in case your power goes off while you were away? You could come home and unknowingly eat food from the freezer that’s bad and can make your whole family ill or worse.
There is an easy and free way to prevent that. Take a cup and fill it 2/3 of the way with water and place it in the freezer. Before you leave on vacation, drop a quarter on the top. If it’s still on the top when you get home, you are fine. If it’s now encase in ice, throw the food away. Here are a few other ideas:
1) The One Cup Tip. Fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer overnight. Once it has frozen, leave a coin on top of it. If the coin has sunk to the bottom when you get home, you’ll know that the whole cup has melted and refrozen, and the safety of your food has been compromised.
2) The ice cube tip. Empty a few ice cubes from your ice tray into a snap lock bag or a plastic container and leave it in your freezer. They will hold their form as long as the freezer remains working, but if you ever find them frozen flat, you’ll know that the freezer was off long enough for them to completely thaw.
3) The ice-pop tip. Lay an ice-pop horizontally over another object in the freezer. If it is still lying straight when you arrive home, the freezer has been working fine. If it has sagged over the edges of the other object you’ll know the freezer has defrosted a little, and if the ice-pop has bent all the way down to lie flat against the sides of the other object, you’ll know it turned to liquid.
4) The water bottle tip. Half fill a bottle with water and freeze so the ice is in the bottom, then lay the bottle on its side. The ice will stay in the same formation as long as the freezer keeps working. Hint: you can do the same with ice cream. Eat half, and then lay the tub on its side. Yum!
5) The trash bag clean up. This one is especially good if you are expecting power outages. Put all the food in your freezer into a few trash bags, and put it back into the freezer. If it stays frozen then all is fine, but if power is lost and your food does spoil, the clean up will be as simple as pulling the bags from the freezer and disposing of them.