I lost my power yesterday. How about you? Mine didn't come back on until 7:15 this morning, so after 19-hours without electricity I was stressing, especially about all the food in my refrigerator and freezer. Should I worry that it's now not safe to eat?

In a word, YES! But, a qualified yes.

Food in your freezer should remain good for 48-hours if the freezer is full, 24-hours if it is half full, and of course, if the door remains closed. That's good news for me because mine is full, and I sure didn't want to have to throw all that yummy food away.

However, the refrigerator is a different story. After 4-hours without power, you're on a slippery slope.

Refrigerator full of ingredients
Max Oppenheim/ThinkStock/GettyStock

According to the website thekitchen.com, you're pretty much going to have to empty it out if it's been longer than 4-hours, and my 19-hours without power is a real bummer.

Here is what they say you should pitch:

  • Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
  • Meat, Poultry, and Seafood: Cooked, uncooked, or any other foods like casseroles that contain these things
  • Cheese: Soft, shredded, low-fat
  • Dairy: Milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk
  • Soy and Nut Milks
  • Eggs: Cooked, uncooked, and any foods containing eggs (like quiches and custards)
  • Fruit: Cut fruit
  • Condiments: Fish sauce, oyster sauce, creamy dressings, spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise that has been over 50°F for eight hours or more
  • Breads: Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough
  • Pasta: Fresh pasta, salads
  • Sweets: Cheesecake, cream or custard pies, cream-filled pastries
  • Vegetables: Pre-washed greens, cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, garlic in oil,
  • Tofu

Foods you can save?

  • Cheese: Hard, processed, grated hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano
  • Dairy: Butter, margarine
  • Fruit: Fruit juice, canned fruit, fresh whole fruits, dried fruits
  • Condiments: Nut butters, jams, jellies, ketchup, olives, pickles, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, relish, vinegar-based dressings, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hoisin sauce
  • Breads: Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas, bagels
  • Breakfast: Waffles, pancakes
  • Sweets: Fruit pies
  • Vegetables: Raw
  • Herbs

So be safe, and if your power was/has been out for more than 4-hours, get the trash bags out.

Drat! Guess I'll be making a big trip to the grocery store!

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