Everybody has had it happen at one point or another. Maybe you left home on a trip only to return and find that your freezer had been accidently unplugged. Perhaps you were evacuated during a storm, or maybe you experienced a power-outage.
Whatever the case, we have all found ourselves standing over a freezer full of food, wondering if it is safe to keep or if it should all be thrown out. In some cases, the food may have defrosted and then refrozen once the power was restored, making it impossible to know what exactly to do.If away from home for #travel or #emergency, place a coin in a #CupofIce in your #freezer. This nifty trick could save you a lot of money and a trip to the emergency room! #LifeHack #SaveMoney Click To Tweet
Rather than choosing between eating possibly spoiled food and throwing hundreds of dollars worth of groceries in the dumpster, we’re here to tell you about the Quarter-in-a-Cup Trick.
As Sheila Pulanco Russell from Lumberton, North Carolina explains in her Facebook post, all you need is a cup of frozen water and a quarter.
Directions for “Quarter-in-a-Cup Trick”
Before you leave your house for a long period of time such as during an evacuation or for a vacation, you simply take a disposable plastic cup, fill it about half-way with water, and then place it in your freezer.
Once the water is frozen, take a quarter and put it in the cup on top of the ice.
Leave it in the freezer while you are gone.
Simple enough, right?
So, you’re probably wondering where the trick comes into play.
After you’ve been gone from home for a long period of time, you only have to take a peek at your quarter-in-the-cup to determine if your food is safe to eat.
When you get check the cup, you will notice one of three things:
- The Quarter is Still On Top. If the quarter is still on top of the ice in the cup, it means that your freezer did not get warm enough to melt the water. All of your food is safe to eat because it has remained frozen.
- The Quarter Has Sunk Halfway. If your quarter has sunk half-way into the cup, this means that your freezer got warm enough to melt the ice partially, allowing the quarter to sink down into the slush before it refroze. While the food maybe okay anyway, you should examine it cautiously before eating any of it. If you are worried about it, the best rule of thumb is to be safe and toss it out.
- The Quarter is at the Bottom. If the quarter has sunk to the very bottom of the cup, this means that your freezer got very warm. Even if the food is frozen now, it has all been thawed at some point and just refroze once the power returned. Do not eat this food! Instead, dispose of it immediately and start over fresh.
Eating spoiled food is dangerous and can cause serious health problems or even death. Rather than risking it, use the quarter-in-the-cup trick to make sure that your freezer has been keeping food the right temperature while you were away from home. This is also a fantastic idea for freezers that you keep in basements or other out-of-the-way places that you rarely use.