What to Keep and Throw Out in Your Fridge After a Power Outage

You may live in an area that could have power outages from natural disasters such as thunderstorms, hurricanes or earthquakes. It’s important to understand the foods in your refrigerator or freezer, and how long you should keep them if you lose power. Follow this guide to stay prepared in case you find yourself without electricity.

First, look to see the temperature in your refrigerator. This will be critical to monitor in case of a power outage. It’s worth investing in a refrigerator thermometer. The temperature should be set to 35 to 38°F. If the power goes out keep track of how long it’s out. Keep the door to your refrigerator closed as much as possible to keep it colder longer. Once you pass four hours without power and the temperature inside your refrigerator increases past 40°F, your perishable foods will only be good for two more hours.

Foods you should toss:
  • Soups, stews, and casseroles
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Dairy: milk, cream yogurt, sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Sweets: Cheesecake, cream or custard pies, cream-filled pastries
  • Vegetables: pre-washed greens, cooked vegetables, vegetable juice
  • Pasta: Fresh pasta, salads
  • Tofu
Food you can keep:
  • Cheese: hard, processed, grated hard cheeses
  • Dairy: butter, margarine
  • Fruit: fruit juice, canned fruit, fresh whole fruits
  • Vegetables: raw
  • Herbs
  • Breads: Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, tortillas
  • Sweets: Fruit pies

Your freezer also has a recommended temperature you’ll want to keep track of. This is a bit easier as you just want to be sure the food inside stays frozen. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours, while a half-full freezer will keep its temperature for about 24 hours. Once the power comes back on check foods to see if they have ice crystals. If they do, you’re safe to refreeze it again.

Sources: Apartment Therapy

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