Have you ever returned home from a summer trip to find all of the clocks in your house blinking?

The task of resetting them can be annoying, but I always find myself wondering how long our power actually stayed out. It’s not uncommon during a summer storm for our power to flicker or even go out for a few minutes. Typically, it’s back on within an hour or two. But, you never know!

Now, if you’re like my husband, you’re thinking- who cares? We were on vacation, the power was out, and now it’s back on. Big deal.

But here’s what I’m always thinking- is the food in my fridge and freezer still safe? Admittedly, I’m a tad bit crazy about my food expiration dates, leftover storage length, and temperature control. And, I tend to err on the side of caution. So it drives me crazy coming home from a trip to find my clock blinking because I never know if I should throw out everything in my fridge and freezer.

I just learned a fabulous new travel trick! It’s super simple and could really help you out this summer. All you’ll need is a penny, a jar and some water.

If you’re freezer looks like mine, you’ll want to use a pretty small jar so it doesn’t take up too much space!

The first thing you’ll want to do is freeze a jar mostly full of water. After the water has completely frozen, remove the jar from your freezer. Place a penny on the top of the ice and return the jar to your freezer.

Penny on top of the ice = Good!

The next time you return home from a trip to find that the power was out, check your penny. If the penny is now frozen at the bottom of the jar, you will know that all of your food reached an unsafe temperature. In this situation, everything should be thrown out.

However, if your penny is frozen somewhere in the middle, you’ll have to use your best judgement. (Example: I would likely throw out any meats, but probably keep frozen fruit or breads.)

Penny frozen on bottom = Not a good sign! All of your food likely thawed out during the power outage.

What is your favorite travel trick?

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You might also enjoy reading:

5 Easy Ways To Plan Summer Travel For Your Family

An Inside Look Into A Ridiculous Road Trip Plan

The Freedom Trail With Kids

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