Protecting your freezer stockpile in a power outage

by Karen on September 6, 2008

When Tropical Storm Hanna was pummeling us with wind and rain last night, I have to admit it wasn’t just the noise outside that kept me awake. I woke up at 3 a.m. to realize the power was knocked out, and I was worried about our stockpile of chicken breasts, beef, and steak in the freezer.

Obviously if the storm had been more serious, our meat would have been the furthest thing from my mind. But in this case, the only thing the storm really caused was a power outage and some heavy wind. As I lie there in the complete dark, I realized: I never thought about what would happen to our bulk meat investment if we lost power for more than an hour or two.

I did consider our freezer before the storm hit, but honestly I wasn’t expecting to lose power for very long. Luckily we didn’t. It was probably only out for 2-3 hours.

The night before the storm, we bought a 10-pound bag of ice that we stuffed into the freezer. We arranged the meat on the bottom of the freezer, and stuffed the bag of ice on top of it. We also followed the advice of Kacie at Sense to Save and froze a gallon jug of water to take up the extra space in the freezer. We also keep our Kitchen-Aid stand mixer’s ice cream maker attachment in the freezer in case we decide to make ice cream on the spur of the moment. It stays pretty cold for pretty long after it’s frozen.

As soon as the power kicked back on early this morning, I checked the freezer. The meat was still rock solid and very little ice was melted, so I think it’s safe to leave it in the freezer.

However, I hadn’t thought about what I would do in the event of a long-term power outage before the storm. I had a lot of time to think about it last night when I was tossing and turning, though. I decided that if the meat was partially thawed by the time the power came back on, we would cook all of it up today, use as much as possible in bulk cooking, and freeze the meals. Throwing it away would have been the last resort in the event of a long-term power outage that lasted all day. If the meat thawed completely, and we couldn’t cook it immediately, I wouldn’t have risked it.

What about you? What steps do you take to protect your bulk meat purchases if the power goes out?

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