Every large storm that knocks out power, friends ask the same question: How long is my food in my freezer good?
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
During a power outage, it is important to check the food in your refrigerator and freezer to determine which items can be saved and which need to be thrown out. Factors such as the type of product and how long the power has been off can affect the safety of the food. It is recommended to be proactive in learning food safety tips before a power outage occurs.
Prepare your kitchen for a power outage
In addition to keeping your freezer and refrigerator doors closed, the following precautions will help you eat at home through at least 4 days of no-power:
- Know where you can get bags of ice and coolers (have at least one large cooler on hand in your storage area) to extend the longevity of your frozen foods. If it’s cold outside, keep the cooler outside your house. Once you’ve moved food from the freezer to the cooler with ice, consider it is now thawing and in the refrigerator stage.
- Prior to a storm, purchase fresh fruits and vegetables (that can be eaten raw or cooked), bread, and non-perishables, including canned salmon, tuna, and vegetables. Canned cranberry sauce is a popular option in our house.
- Always be aware of how much gas remains in your grill. In the case of a power outage, your frozen meats can be thawed and cooked on the grill, allowing an additional two nights of dinners.
- Freeze water bottles in small spaces in your refrigerator and freezer to allow the appliances to remain cold.
It is important to check the food in your refrigerator and freezer during a power outage to determine which items can be saved and which need to be thrown out in order to save time and money and prevent potential health hazards. It is recommended to be proactive in learning food safety tips before a power outage occurs.