Plan B Saving Freezer Foods When Power Goes Out

If the power goes out in the winter, chances are, you won’t fret too much over the food staying cold in your freezer. However, when powerful summer storms and tornadoes blow through, especially in rural areas, there is always the chance that outage will last longer than a few hours before power is restored.

Rural Power Outages

Living in a rural area, we learned very quickly that the power could be out for quite a while. Even living in a city, we discovered that emergencies created by things like Hurricane Hugo could mean extended power outages. We were without power for 10 days. Transformers blew and a transformer shortage prolonged the delay to restoring power.

We lived downtown when the hurricane winds struck far inland and working for an ice cream manufacturer, you guessed it, our freezer was packed with ice cream and it was all about to melt. We broke out plastic bowls and spoons and fed family members and the neighborhood with five different ice cream flavors. 

Cooking for the Neighborhood

Having a gas range and stove, I began cooking the thawing meats and again, shared with my family and neighbors. Years later when we moved to the mountains, again a rural setting, we discovered the challenges of power outages when old power relay stations succumbed too summer and winter storms.

By now, we had more than a refrigerator freezer full of ice cream, we had a large deep chest freezer filled with meats, poultry, fish and lots of veggies. During the first summer storm outage, we learned that we couldn’t afford to lose food over such a frequent happening. Buying a generator at the time was not feasible due to the expenses of our move. Instead, we came up with a fail-safe solution that didn’t cost anything and didn’t require additional energy.

Milk Jugs to the Rescue

The first thing we did after sorting and saving the foodstuffs in our freezer was to collect empty milk jugs. We asked everyone we knew to save their jugs and within a week we had more than we needed. We filled the washed and cleaned jugs with water and set them in the bottom of the freezer.

Granted this took up some of our valuable storage space, but overall, it was worth that sacrifice. There were numerous outages that first summer, but we never worried about losing the food in the freezer. The jugs of ice saved our freezer full of food one more than one occasion.

Jugs of Ice

While a generator is by far a safer bet for saving food in a freezer, there can always be complications with that dependency. Having the jugs of frozen water always in the freezer proved a great backup. Knowing the ice would protect the food took a lot of worry out of the unexpected power outages we endured during the time we lived in that area. Also, if you end up in an emergency situation and need water, you can always let one or more jugs thaw.

Refrigerator Freezer Saves

If you can spare the space in your refrigerator freezer, you can fill Ziploc bags with water just be sure the bags are flat when you freeze them. You can then line the shelf and bottom of your refrigerator freezer with these frozen sheets of ice to help protect your food should there be a power outage and you find yourself without a backup generator.

Being Prepared Is Frugal Smart

It’s one thing to shop and store food as a frugal endeavor, but it’s quite another to protect the investment and money you’ve saved. Having a backup plan or even two is frugal smartness.

photos: Coffee Danube Still Life PhotographyJessica Sheridan

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AuthorSally Painter

"Everyone can have a beautiful home decor. It just takes a little creativity," says author and freelance writer Sally Painter. This former commercial and residential designer is also a Feng Shui practitioner and believes that, "Everything you choose to put in your home should resonate with you emotionally. If it doesn't - get rid of it!"