Photo: Berezovaya Nonna (Shutterstock)
Power loss situations are usually quite stressful. That’s because often not only are you dealing with a lack of power, but it usually happens in connection with something else, like a massive storm or a natural disaster – like this extreme winter weather in Texas and many other parts of the country this week.
When power outages occur in the summer, it is pretty clear that food that you had in your fridge or freezer cannot be safely consumed relatively quickly. But in winter it should be okay to take perishable food outside – especially when there’s snow – and store it there until the power is back on, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But there is one thing you can do to take advantage of the cold temperature in your food. Here’s what to know.
Do not store food outdoors
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)It is not safe to store frozen or chilled food outside – even if it is cold and / or snowy outside.
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There are mutliple reasons for this FSIS explains::
- Frozen food can thaw if exposed to the sun’s rays, even if the temperature is very cold.
- Chilled food can get too warm and cause food-borne bacteria to grow.
- The outside temperature can vary from hour to hour and the outside temperature does not protect chilled and frozen food.
- Perishable items can be exposed to unsanitary conditions or animals. Animals can harbor bacteria or diseases; Never consume food that has come into contact with an animal.
What should be done instead?
If you really want to try and save some of your perishable foods instead of putting them outdoors, the FSIS recommends taking advantage of the cold temperatures by making ice cream.
“Fill buckets, empty milk cartons or cans with water and freeze them outside,” he said FSIS advises. “Then put the homemade ice cream in your fridge, freezer, or cooler.”