If you’ve left the house for an extended period of time—whether for vacation or a major weather event like a storm evacuation—there’s a chance you might return to a home without power.
Usually it’s easy to tell which food has spoiled in your fridge, but when it comes to the freezer, anything goes. Nobody wants to waste time and money in situations like these.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to determine if your frozen food is safe to eat when you return…
Anyone whose left their home for day or even weeks at time knows there are few definitive ways to monitor your belongings while you’re away. This is especially true if your home loses power while you’re on vacation.
It might be fairly easy to tell which of your foods have spoiled inside your refrigerator while you were away, but it’s much more difficult to tell with freezer items. You obviously don’t want to risk consuming something that could have spoiled, so most people waste their food—and money—by tossing it all in the garbage.
Now, there’s a proven way to tell whether or not you’ve lost power while you were away enjoying your vacation with your family. And no, it doesn’t involve calling all your neighbors to check! All you need is a mug, water, and a coin…
The first step of this crafty money-saving hack happens just before you leave your house unoccupied for a number of days, whether you’re going on a vacation or you’re avoiding a weather emergency. First, freeze a mug full of water, making sure it won’t break in the freezer.
Once the ice is solid and you’re ready to leave your home, place a coin on top of the ice. Now, place it inside of your freezer before you depart on your trip, and voila! That’s all you have to do until you return…
When you return, the first thing you’ll do is check the coin. If it became so warm—in other words, if you lost power for so long that the freezer heated up significantly—and the coin sunk to the bottom of the mug, you can reasonably assume your food has gone bad and must be thrown away.
If the coin remains at the top or middle of the mug, the food should still be safe to eat at that point! Sheila Pulanco Russell, who is credited with coming up with the trick, suggests doing this all the time just in case anything ever happens to your power.
Additionally, it’s important to check the temperatures of your fridge and freezer before you leave. The FDA typically suggests that your fridge be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while your freezer should be kept below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Sheila stressed that, when in doubt, throw it out. “If you don’t feel good about your food, just throw it out,” she cautioned after explaining her frozen coin trick. “The main thing is for all to be safe when eating it.”
So, will you use this trick the next time you’re worried your food might go bad while you’re away? Not only is it easy and reusable, but it can save you a headache when you’re trying to figure out whether or not you can eat the food in your freezer.
What a clever way to know whether or not your food has gone bad! This is definitely a hack worth trying.
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