When preparing for a vacation, everybody has a list of things they check before leaving the house. Most people double check their luggage, make sure the windows are closed, and turn off all the lights, but very few check their freezer.
But your freezer can be affected by power outages while you’re away, defrosting your food and freezing it back up before you come home, leaving you none the wiser. While it’s safe to refreeze raw or cooked food that has been previously thawed in the refrigerator, it’s impossible to know how long your food has thawed while you were away (1). In fact, food that seems perfectly fine to the naked eye may contain harmful bacteria .
Simple Freezer Coin Trick
Next time you leave the home for a long period of time, place a cup of water in the freezer overnight. Once the water has frozen over, place a penny on top and pack your bags!
When you come home, check on the cup.
- If the cup is unchanged, the food in your freezer should be fine. The same goes for the food in your refrigerator!
- On the other hand, if the penny is at the bottom of the cup, then the ice (and food) has had the time to completely thaw. This is a sign that you should clear your freezer.
- Lastly, if the penny is the middle of the ice, then your freezer was only out of order for a short period of time. This means that most of the food should still be safe to eat.
In any case, if you’re not sure whether food is still edible, throw it out.
This tip is great for vacations, evacuations, and even day-to-day life. After all, if you don’t check your freezer often, it’s impossible to know how safe your food really is.