As Houston and parts of Louisiana recover from Hurricane Harvey, and Florida braces itself for Hurricane Irma, those living in areas impacted have plenty of issues on their mind. Amidst debating evacuation plans, stocking up on emergency items, and generally preparing for the storm, there's one food dilemma for those who plan to flee: Will the contents of their fridge be safe to eat when they return?
The hypothetical scenario in question is for those who leave their homes and will be in the dark regarding how long their power was out, if at all. Not knowing if your fridge was off, or the length of time it was inactive, leaves all the items in a fridge potentially hazardous to eat.
But there's a nifty trick going viral that is simple and ingenious. It's called the "one cup tip."
Country & Living reports that all you need is a bowl, one cup of water, and a quarter. Put water in the bowl and place it in a freezer. Then remove the bowl filled with ice and place a quarter on it. Put the bowl, now filled with ice and topped with a quarter, back in the freezer.
Should the power go out, then the ice will melt and the quarter's location in the bowl will shift. If the coin makes its way to the bottom of the ice bowl, then the general rule of thumb is the food is not safe to eat. If the quarter is at the top or near the top, then it's okay to assume the contents of the fridge are safe. And if it's somewhere midway, let your intuition be the guide. To be safe, you can always toss out the questionable items.
This hack isn't guaranteed to be foolproof, but it's a good indicator of how long your fridge and freezer are off power.