If you suffer a power outage, keep your freezer closed! Little or no thawing should occur within the first twelve to twenty hours.
If you know a storm’s heading your direction, fill empty milk jugs with water and freeze them solid before the power goes out. A full freezer will stay frozen longer than a partially empty one.
A simple way to know if things have thawed and perhaps refrozen during a power outage is to put a bowl of ice cubes into the freezer prior to a problem. If the ice cubes have melted and become just a bowl of water (or refrozen into a bowl of ice), you’ll know that the contents of your freezer have experienced the same thing. Your frozen goods would no longer be safe to eat in that case.
It’s actually a good idea to keep a bowl of ice cubes in your freezer at all times in case the freezer comes unplugged or if the power goes out at some point when you’re not home or on vacation. I keep my ice cube “indicator bowl” inside a freezer bag so the ice doesn’t dry out and evaporate.
If your freezer is full of food and the power will be out longer than one day, you have two options. You can either move the contests of your freezer to a rental frozen food locker, or you can purchase dry ice for your freezer.
If you use dry ice, lay cardboard over the packages in your freezer and place dry ice onto the cardboard. Never place dry ice directly onto your packages of food, and always wear heavy safety gloves when handling dry ice. A 50-pound block of dry ice should keep your food frozen for two to three days.
~Debi (author of Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month)
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