The Mason Jar! It has so many uses besides the obvious canning job. Store water in them, seal your salad in them, keep your chocolate fresh for years, AND use it to let you know if your fridge lost power for a long enough time for your food to go bad.
Use a quart mason jar, lid, and ring. Fill halfway with water and freeze. Once frozen, turn upside down. Now, if you go out of town or can't make it home during a disaster, and your power goes out check the frozen status of the water in the jar. By the look of the frozen, or not so frozen, water in the mason jar, you'll be able to tell how long your power was out. If you have just liquid left in the jar, don't eat the food. If you have a frozen ice cube....probably safe to cook and eat.
A few tips on helping your frozen food stay frozen if the power goes out.
- Keep your freezer full! Full freezers without opening the door will stay cold for 2-4 days.
- Don't open the door! Keep the cold air in!
- Keep the fridge unit in a darker, cooler area of the kitchen. Not in the sun. I know that this isn't possible in all kitchens. But if you are planning a new kitchen, something to think about in the planning stage.
- Find a thick blanket and use it to cover the fridge. It will help insulate the fridge and keep the cold air in.
I found this tip to be useful if you were planning a trip out of town. Because, let's be honest, that is the only time something bad happens to your house, right?!