Food Safety During Power Outages

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It’s winter storm season! A storm can cause damage to your home, and loss of electricity, gas, and water. During a power outage, there may be a lot more on your mind than food safety, but it’s still important! Be prepared by doing the following: (1) Having appliance thermometers already running will help you closely monitor the status of your fridge and freezer. (2) It’s also a good idea to have a cooler or two at the ready, as well as ice or frozen gel packs to maintain a safe temperature in the cooler. (3) Research where dry ice or block ice are available near you. Things to remember include: (1) The refrigerator will hold a safe temperature for about four hours. (2) Your freezer, if packed full, will hold food at a safe temperature for about 48 hours with no power — at half full, the time decreases to 24 hours. (3) Food is safe to refreeze if it still has ice crystals or if the freezer did not rise above 40 °F. You can improve the chances that food will remain safe by keeping the doors closed.

Below is a delicious and food safe recipe from the Partnership for Food Safety Education at fightbac.org. For more information on our Food for Thought programs, activities and recipes, check us out online.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

via FightBac – serves 6

1 lb. precooked ham, cubed (about 3 ½ cups)

16.9oz Brioche slider rolls (about 12 rolls)

12 oz Mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 2 ¼ cups)

1 cup sliced pickled jalapenos (optional)

1 white onion, chopped

6 large eggs

2 2/3 cup whole milk

1 ¼ cups sour cream or plain yogurt

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

Wash hands with soap and water. Dry out the bread. Cube the slider rolls into 1-inch squares and lay out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Leave out at room temperature to dry overnight. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside. Combine cubed bread, ham, pickled jalapenos, onions, and cheese in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Combine eggs, milk, sour cream or yogurt, salt and pepper in a separate large bowl. Mix until ingredients are evenly combined. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Press down to submerge everything in the egg mixture. Wash hands with soap and water after handling eggs. Cover casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake uncovered for 55 to 65 minutes until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on food thermometer. Cut into squares and serve immediately.

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