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Old 04-13-2007, 04:39 PM   #1
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Power Outage - Refreezing Food?

My power has been out for 24 hours. My freezer is packed (about $200-$300 worth of food), & everything has defrosted. The power is finally back on. I had a roast defrosting in the fridge & just threw it in the CP. Can I refreeze everything? Will the food be safe to eat? TIA


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Old 04-13-2007, 04:50 PM   #2
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Completely defrosted? That is the key question; if so, open and smell the packages. If they do not smell bad or are not kind of slimey; you can do a lot of cooking of casseroles, soups, etc. now and then freeze them. If it is just barely the thin outer layer that is thawed, you can refreeze with a bit of freezer burn to be expected. I would not worry too awful much if you kept the freezer closed during that time as most everything should have still stayed frozen.

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Old 04-13-2007, 05:37 PM   #3
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Miss Mish...

What level of thawing is the key. Also what foods. Your answer will probably come down to each individual item by item. What it is, it's monetary value, can it be used in a big soup, stew, etc. which could be safely refrozen for later use. Also think about stock. Maybe some possibilites there for later recipes. Having experienced this type of thing myself, I have found that refrozen products sometimes have quality and flavor issues depending on what the item is... I am so sorry to hear of your misfortune. Hope this helps.

Also, if you choose not to refreeze and not use the items there are Charitable groups that would be happy to receive your gifts.

Best Wishes!
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:40 PM   #4
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If the food is cold, refrigerator cold, you should be fine.

Am surprised that after 24 hours everything was defrosted. We have been without power for over 48 hours and the stuff was still frozen.

One thing we have done when expecting a possible power outage (a hurricane for example) is buy ice. Also we turn the thermostat in the fridge and freezer to a lower temperature.

If we lose power unexpectedly we beeline it to a store that sells ice (ya gotta be fast, most people just wait for the power to come back on. By the time they figure out it is going to be a while, the ice has been sold to the early birds.) And then we stuff as much ice as we can in the fridge and freezer compartments.

We also fill some coolers with ice into which we toss some food and drinks that we remove from the fridge/freezer as we are packing in the ice.

Once the fridge is engorged with ice we do not open the doors again, unless there is a very compelling reason.

We live from the cooler, the pantry, any groceries (if open), and cook on the gas stove, when we have one, or the grill. No way to heat a hot meal? Try take out. If it is a regional power outage, many places may be closed.

But try a pizzeria. They have gas stoves and their refrigerated ingredients are just going bad. And so they may open up, even if they have no electricity.

Pizza is, after all, a hot meal. The leftovers are cold but you can always open up a cool beer from the cooler, chomp down on a cold slice, and tell stories about when you were a fledglling and cold pizza and beer constituted two of the four basic food groups.

May not sound exciting, but there ain't no TV.

Sorry, am getting off topic.

If the food is thawed cool, and you don't feel comfortable about refreezing, ya gotta cook it. And great ideas have been given. Once cooked you can then refreeze with impunity.

Just some Friday night rantings. But that is our approach to a power outage.

Take care and God bless.
Before criticizing a person, walk a mile in his shoes - then you are a mile away and you have his shoes!
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:37 PM   #5
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Mish, I ere on the cautious side myself. My motto is when in doubt, throw it out. So your doubt is your sense of smell and touch. Thats alot of money in food, but you certainly dont want food poisoning either. As auntdot mentioned, I too was surprised that your frozen foods thawed within 24 hours.
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:08 AM   #6
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did you have insurance against such a thing? it maybe an idea to make a claim and throw the food away.
sometimes House Contents insurance covers you against such events.
Katherine Snow. xx
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Old 04-14-2007, 04:31 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for all the input. Whew! I'm exhausted - was up & down all night last night w candles & a flashlight. 24 hrs is the longest outtage I can recall. Well... my fridge is very cold, but the food felt only cool to the touch. It was packed full, no room for even an ice cube tray. So... for now, I shut the door & will smell each thing as I take it out to defrost. Amber, my motto is also 'when in doubt...', but I just did all my shopping & a major market is on strike. If it's iffy, I'll dump it, one by one. YT, no insurance. Aunt Dot, funny you mention the pizza parlour. I called them yesterday at 4:00 PM & no answer. I guess their oven/stove wasn't working also or they had no power as well. If I sound a little punchy, by now, I am - had no TV, radio, stove, computer, lights -- gets old fast. The only thing that didn't need cooking in the pantry was a few cans of tuna. Guess it could have been worse - during the summer 90-100 degrees & no A/C. Makes me think I should get earthquake prepared. Again, thank you all.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:03 AM   #8
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i would just cook it all and then refreeze.
i cant abide chucking food away.
maybe thats why i,m getting a buddha belly.
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:30 PM   #9
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Mish - I had the same problem but my food in the freezer did not defrost. Many of the people that live in my condo through everything out because it had defrosted and it smelled funny.

You just have to look at each food that was in the freezer and decide if it can be saved - it is really up to you.

My outage was about 23 hours but in my opinion if everything in your freezer completely defrosted I would through it all out. Bagels and bread are not a problem because they can be put back in your refrigerator.

I really feel for you.

Jill and Jolie
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:03 PM   #10
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Have they activated the food banks in your area for a crisis like this? Have the grocery stores experienced similar loss? And I imagine some of the restaurants are coping with problems too. Have they called Fema in to help you folks? I activated a blueberry muffin project for the Ohio flood in the 90's and was a volunteer who went to California in '89 when there was a major earthquake. Sometimes it is not a matter of being prepared but a matter of how to be prepared for what you don't know to expect. Sometimes freezers thaw faster than others because they are located more directly within the area of the hot water heater which puts off a lot of heat. And neither one can be moved. I am glad that you are okay and you seem to have good neighbors.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." --- Thomas Edison
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