Leftover management?

tishtoshnm Zone 6/NMMarch 27, 2009

My refrigerator died yesterday. We had a cold spurt today with snow so many things were able to stay on our porch but tomorrow will be in the 50s. It is under warranty until April 20th but I am guessing it will not be fixed until the middle of next week.

How were leftovers handled when there was no refrigeration? Milk will be stored in a cooler but what is the best way of handling this situation without blowing money?

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Are you close with any of your neighbors? Maybe they have room in their fridge or one might even have a fridge in the garage they just use for pop and beer and could lend you the space...
Or you could cook up what you have, deliver meals to a few friends...and they could do the same for you on separate nights...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 10:56PM
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If you don't have a neighbor to borrow from, I'd put everything in a cooler. Bags of ice are fairly cheap. You could also check around and see if anyone has one of those dorm refidgerators you could borrow for a few days.

My neighbors house got hit by lightning abut 20 years ago. There was a lot of smoke and fire damage, but fortunately the house was able to be saved. The morning after the fire my dad and brothers loaded up the freezer and popped it in our basement. Our neighbor was welcome to come in and get what what she wanted at any time. No need to knock on the door.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:47PM
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Back in the days when city folks had ice boxes, with ice delivered by horse-drawn wagon every two or three days ...

... we farm folks kept milk and butter, leftover cooked veggies, etc. in an enamel dishpan in the basement, sitting in cold water, which we changed frequently.

Most folks canned substantial quantities of veggies, fruit and meat in one- and two-quart bottles, that were stored on shelves in the basement.
For a few years we had a locker in a freezer section in the basement of the local grocery store, with meat, veggies, etc. from our garden in it.

Though we had "hydro" (Ontario term: generated by water at Niagara) from before I was born, we never had a fridge when we lived in Ontario until 1946, and had no "power" (Sask. term for electricity) on our rented farm in Saskatchewan for about four years until Dad bought his own farm. I think that's when they got a fridge - I was away at university.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:33AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Thank you for that little history lesson OJ. We are currently using ice in conjunction with a cooler and those refrigerator bags from Sam's Club. I will take the things that are not used daily to Mom's. Basements are not common in this area, the frost line does not go deep enough to justify the expense of digging them though it would be lovely to have one. The garage is insulated so it does not get very cool so that is ruled out too. I may end up putting leftovers in the freezer and then letting them defrost for DH's lunch. This will certainly be an adventure.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 3:19PM
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The safe temperature for food storage is COLDER than 40°F. 40°F-140°F is in the DANGER ZONE. Bacteria can grow rapidly if food is left at this temperature.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 4:52PM
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An insulated area, even dug into the ground and some dry ice will keep things cool for a while and the dry ice will probably last longer than ice, especially cubes. Grainlady pointed out the 40-140 danger zone. If in doubt, throw it out. On a short term it's probably best to utilize favors and dry ice rather than anything real radical. Sometimes you need to write off some things. When the power was out here for days the freezer was still cool, but I didn't think it was worth taking the chance so I tossed most everything.

Take out, eat out and non-refrigerated along with coolers would be the order of the day for me under these circumstances.

BTW, do they know what you'll need for it? Otherwise plan on one trip to diagnose the problem and scheduling another trip later if it needs parts. They don't carry much for parts with them on a service call. I hope you're aware of this so you won't be surprised when they arrive and tell you it could be a week to 10 days (or a month or ????) to get the repair parts.

And another thing that happened pre-refrigeration, was a lot more food-borne illness.

Another thought, check a local freecycle or Craiglist for a giveaway frig that works for temporary use or if you bought from a local dealer, maybe they'd have a used one as a loaner or rental while you wait?

Good luck! Hope it's a simple repair and a speedy one.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:08PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

GL, I have been monitoring all temperatures very closely with a food thermometer. With 4 kids, the last thing we want in this household are upset GI systems.

We have been considering the length of time this will take. The extended warranty will actually cover a refrigerator rental if need be so we are just waiting to hear more once they call on Monday. Methinks that we will be eating a lot of salad. Fortunately I had caught the freezer problem before things defrosted and moved everything to the outside freezer. Always an adventure.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:20PM
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