Refrigerator temperatures come automatically set to factory recommendations, which are the proper refrigerator temperature of 37 degrees and the ideal freezer temperature of zero degrees.
These are generally the correct temperatures, but according to Whirlpool Corp., your freezer is set at the correct temperature when the ice cream is firm.
If the freezer is too warm or too cold, first check the air vents to make sure that nothing’s blocking circulation. Then adjust the temperature up or down one setting and allow a full 24 hours for the temperature to adjust.
One level is equal to about 1 degree of temperature, so remember: the higher the freezer temperature, the faster your frozen foods lose their quality. However, colder temperatures also could dry foods out, so try to keep the freezer at the recommended zero degrees.
Being cheap and running low on the supply of my boyfriend’s game meat, I’m intrigued by the concept of cow-pooling, or sharing an entire animal carcass with a few others.
I’ve heard of more people doing it, and while it sounds nutty at first, buying a whole cow offers more affordable ($3 to $5 per pound) access to normally (outrageously) expensive pasture-raised or grass-fed beef.
Your refrigerator’s freezer compartment probably won’t have a cow…not a whole or half one, at least.
But chest freezers and upright freezers are surprisingly affordable, starting below $190 for a 5 cubic foot model. In general, 50 pounds of meat fits in 2.25 cubic feet of freezer space. A half cow takes up about 10 cubic feet of freezer space. And stored properly, the meat stays tasty for 12 months.
Something to keep in mind: when storing meats and other foods for periods longer than say, six months, it’s best to purchase a manual defrost freezer. While manually defrosting a freezer is a pain in the butt, frost-free freezers remove more moisture from the air in the freezer, which can degrade the quality of the meat over time (i.e. freezer burn).
Here in Minnesota, we generally suffer a few power outages each winter season. But when the power goes out, your refrigerator is not cooling. So what should you do with all your food?
1. Call the power company Find out how long the power will be out.
2. If the power outage is less than 24 hours:
Keep the doors shut on both the refrigerator and freezer compartments to keep food cold or frozen. If you’re experiencing a refrigerator power outage for more than 2 hours, you might want to pack dairy and meats into coolers (Styrofoam is fine) filled with ice, says the CDC.
3. If the power will be out for more than 24 hours:
Add 2 lbs of dry ice in the freezer for every cubic foot of freezer space, which will keep the food frozen for two to four days, according to appliance-maker Whirlpool Corp. Otherwise, you’re going to have to eat all that perishable food. Or try canning the food, if you know how.
Thought it seems counter intuitive, a full freezer stays cold longer than a partially filled one and a freezer full of meat stays cold longer than a freezer full of baked goods. A half-full freezer will keep food safe for 24 hours, and a full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours, according to the CDC.
If food contains ice crystals, you can refreeze it, although the quality and flavor may be affected. Test meats to ensure the temperature hasn’t risen to 40 degrees. Use your gut. If it looks like it’s in rough shape, toss it.