Here's something easy to do before you leave your house for any extended vacation or even just a quick few days away.
While I was gone on a recent vacation, a friend came to check on my house. Part of her routine is to check my refrigerator and freezer to make sure everything is good.
This time, things weren't good in the freezer.
It wasn't sealed properly, so warm air was getting in.
My very nice friend cleaned everything up, and knew to look for the small plastic cup I keep in the freezer to make sure everything is OK.
Here's what she was looking for, a coin still sitting at the top of a plastic cup of ice.
If you lose power or something is wonky with the freezer, you'll know.
If the coin is still on the top of the frozen ice or just a tiny way down, your food is OK. If the penny is at the bottom, everything is thawed and is no good.
This is also a good thing if you go out of town and don't know if If you lose power, this will be your way to know your power went out or not while you were gone.
If the penny is ever at the bottom of the cup and the water has frozen again on top of it, it means everything in your freezer thawed and refroze, and is therefore not safe to eat.
It's easy to do.
Get a small plastic cup and fill it with water and put it in your freezer. Once it is frozen, place a coin on the top of the frozen ice and put it in a zipper bag. Keep it in your freezer.
Check it when you get home and you'll know instantly if everything is safe to eat.
My friend came back to my house a few days later and everything was still good. I just hadn't shut the freezer drawer properly before I left my house. My bad, but luckily things were OK.