This 'One cup tip' could save your freezer food during the storm

Oct 16 2016, 12:04 am

As Metro Vancouver battens down the hatches for a storm fuelled by the remnants of Typhoon Songda, time for preparations is running out.

Sure, you’ve stocked up on batteries and candles, you’ve got your storm chips – but what’s going to happen to all that food in the freezer when the lights go out?

Well, fear not, the internet has come to the rescue again.

A genius tip doing the rounds on social media claims to help you out there, by giving you a way to see whether your food defrosted in the power cut or not.

According to Sheila Pulanco Russell, from North Carolina, whose Facebook post about the “one cup tip” went viral recently, it’s as simple as a cup and a coin.

“You put a cup of water in your freezer. Freeze it solid and then put a quarter on top of it and leave it in your freezer,” she wrote.

Then, suppose the power goes out in your building, but you’re not home, so you don’t realize. When you get back, the power’s back on, and you’re none the wiser.


“If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup that means all the food defrosted and you should throw it out,” wrote Russell. “But if the quarter is either on the top or in the middle of the cup then your food may still be OK.”

Russell’s post has been hugely popular since she published it on October 5, hoping to help anyone evacuating due to Hurricane Matthew, which hit North Carolina hard.

Her advice has garnered almost 400,000 shares, 214,000 reactions and more than 14,000 comments – some offering tips of their own. Here are a few of the best:

  • Use this same idea, using a bottle of water. Freeze on its side. Then turn it upright.
  • Put some ice cubes in a ziploc bag, and place in freezer. If you come home to a frozen flat bag, you know they melted at some point….takes up less room than the pot.
  • How about just check your ice bin. Is it a solid frozen mass or are the ice cubes still intact?
  • Lay an ice-pop over a round object. If it is still straight all good. If it is bent then you know there was a problem.
  • Put your food in double trash bags and tie up. That way when you return home, if your food is bad, it’s easily gotten rid of with less smell and mess.

Ultimately, none of this is guaranteed, so remember – if in doubt, throw it out. Or cook and eat it all before the power goes out.

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard