It could have been worse. Maybe I’m looking for a silver lining, but on balance, I’d say it wasn’t a disaster. We were without power for 42 hours, and while the cleanup wasn’t exactly fun, it wasn’t too bad.
Here’s what the freezer compartment of my side-by-side looks like now. I have no photo of the before, but it was stuffed full. There were ice cream and sorbet, Chinese dumplings, meatloaf ready to warm and eat, sliced turkey, chicken enchiladas, cubes of pesto and of chicken stock, ground lamb, pork sausage, and other goodies.
Those, of course, are now gone. What you see left on the shelves is what was safe to refreeze:
- grains, flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, wild rice
- walnuts and almonds
- hard cheese and Parmesan rinds
- all-vegetable pasta sauce
- caramelized onions
I keep a thermometer in my fridge, and another in the big separate freezer. I’ll be getting another soon to keep in the side-by-side freezer also – they are cheap and useful. I wish I’d been able to check the temperature in there once the power was back on, but I could only go by texture – things were chilled, but most of it was completely thawed. There were still ice crystals in the shrimp, thank goodness, so that went into the refrigerator to complete thawing safely. Any meat or fish with no ice crystals remaining was questionable, so I tossed it.
Of course the contents of the refrigerator suffered most – the thermometer showed 60˚F when the power returned, so most of the perishables perished. I kept some things, of course: pickles, ketchup, that old-fashioned summer sausage in its cloth bag (it didn’t actually have to be refrigerated at all, that’s some amazing stuff), hard cheeses, butter, fresh whole veggies, jars of jam, maple syrup.
It was the big freezer that fared best. The thermometer read 20˚F, and almost everything was still frozen solid. The gallon jug of apple cider at top front had begun to thaw near its thin handle, so I just moved that into the refrigerator, thinking we might as well drink it. The bags of kale leaves could be re-frozen without a problem, since they are destined for soup.
As I said, it could have been worse. The contents of the big freezer are intact. And at least I have cleaned the side-by-side thoroughly!