Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When the Freezer Doesn't Freeze

A friend of mine inspired this post with some musings about how to tell if his refrigerator had stopped and if its contents remained good. Luckily for him, it was just his garage fridge and he only had to suffer warm beer. It reminded me of a handy trick my grandmother taught me years ago to make sure food in a freezer was still safe.

Due to their intermittent run cycles, it can be hard to tell if a freezer has stopped functioning until it's too late. In addition, extended power outages can lead to foods defrosting and spoiling before re-freezing. If that food is in a freezer that is not frequently accessed, you might not know your food is spoiled until you are already sick. Food poisoning is painful at best, and can even be lethal.

This is the free way to keep a bad case of the guts from taking you down: a cup of ice cubes in the corner of my freezer. As long as they look like ice cubes, I know that my freezer has not gotten warm long enough to ruin any of my food. If my freezer were to go out long enough to spoil food, the cubes would melt. If the freezer then restarted, I would have a solid block of ice in the bottom of that cup, and would know for sure that things need thrown out.

The only thing this costs me is a cup (this one happened to be a freebie somebody gave me) and ice cubes. It is dry enough where I live that the ice actually evaporates, so I have to replace the cubes about once a month. Other than that, it's free and obvious when I open the door.

Just some time-honored wisdom from grandma.


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