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How Long Will Food Last With the Freezer Doors Closed?

Living in the Florida Panhandle, dealing with power outages due to tropical storms and hurricanes becomes a familiar routine.  It is important for newcomers and “storm veterans” alike to know how to keep food safe when the power is off.  The following tips may help you save the food in your freezer until power returns.

* With the freezer closed, foods will usually stay frozen from 1-3 days, depending on the quantity of insulation, the amount of food in the freezer, the kind of food and the size of the freezer. The following “rules of thumb” apply:

  • A full freezer stays colder longer than a partially-full one.
  • A freezer full of meat will stay colder than a freezer full of baked goods.
  • The colder the food, the longer it will stay frozen.  Before the storm hits, you may want to turn down the temperature on the freezer.
  • The larger the freezer, the longer food stays frozen.

* Dry ice may help keep frozen food from spoiling. Allow 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of ice per cubic food of freezer space – more for upright freezers, as ice should be placed on every shelf.  Put boards or heavy cardboard on top of packages and place the dry ice on top of the boards.  Be sure to wear gloves any time you handle dry ice.  Vent the room if possible, to give gas from the dry ice a way to escape.

* Try to open the freezer door only to quickly remove food or to add dry ice. The more often the door is opened, the quicker food will spoil.

Permanent link to this article: http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2012/08/27/how-long-will-food-last-with-the-freezer-doors-closed/