Cooking Alternatives

What should you do about the refrigerator and freezer if your electricity goes off? If your freezer is loaded with food and the power goes out, your food will keep just fine for several hours if you don’t open the freezer door. If the power is off for an extended period of time (more than 12 hours, for example), you’ll need to take action to salvage the food. If this happens in winter when temperatures are below or near freezing, you can pack the frozen food in large coolers or other containers and temporarily store it outside or in your garage for weeks, or even months, if temperatures remain frigid. Otherwise, quickly take newspaper or freezer paper and wrap the food with a thick layer of paper. You can put several items together and stuff any spaces between items with wadded up newspaper to help maintain the cold to keep the food frozen longer. Return all packed items to your freezer, and then keep the door shut until the power comes back on. You can add additional insulation around the door of the freezer (preferably insulation pads or blankets, though even newspaper will help some) and tape or hold it in place with a rope or bungee cord to help keep in the cold.
The food should stay frozen for up to two or three days if the door isn’t opened again.
Once the power comes back on, meat can be refrozen if it is still partially frozen with ice crystals. Once the meat has thawed out, however, it needs to be cooked and eaten, canned, dehydrated, or made into jerky.
You can use a generator to keep your freezer going in an emergency. However, it uses a lot of fuel and may not be worthwhile as a long-term solution, but it will buy you some time to figure out a more practical solution to your thawing problem.
The food inside your refrigerator will be safe for a few hours, depending on the temperature of the room in which it’s located and on how much it’s opened during the electrical outage. When the food inside the refrigerator reaches room temperature, it will spoil quickly. Eat what you can, and when in doubt, throw it out. If the outage happens in the winter and your outdoor air is near or below refrigeration temperature,
you can keep the food in coolers or boxes outside. If temperatures are below freezing,
cover the coolers or boxes with blankets to insulate them so they don’t freeze.
Once your power comes back on, clean out your refrigerator and freezer just in case bacteria have started to grow. Use a disinfectant soap to wash the refrigerator and rinse with a mixture of hot water and bleach. (One-half cup of bleach to one cup of water
will kill the bacteria.)


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