By Lee Crain
If you're like us, your most expensive food is in your freezer.
For most people, meat is likely to be the most expensive food in your house, especially beef. No one can afford for it to be ruined by an unplanned thawing.
While doing some emergency preparedness planning, I began to think about the food in our freezers.
The one downstairs is not a refrigerator-freezer combination; it's a freezer only and we have hundreds of dollars of meat stored in it.
I looked online for a way to track the temperature inside our freezer without having to open its door.
For less than $10, you can buy a high quality thermometer that has two small probes attached to the display unit by very thin wires. I bought a couple and mounted them on our refrigerator-freezer in the kitchen, the other on our freezer downstairs. Then, I inserted and secured the probes into the top of the refrigerated compartments and waited. (The top of the units have the warmest air so this is the best place to install the probes.)
At the original settings, our refrigerator-freezer in the kitchen was almost freezing the refrigerator section, at 33-34 degrees F. No wonder almost nothing ever goes bad in that refrigerator. The freezer side of the unit varies between about 6 and -12 degrees F.
At the original settings, our downstairs freezer varied from about -2 to -20 degrees F. No wonder the ice cream we remove from it was as hard as concrete!
Now, whenever I pass either unit, I usually give the thermometer display a glance to ensure that all is well and they are operating correctly. For less than $10, it's good insurance.
(Something to remember: foods like meat are salty; their freezing point is most likely 27-28 F. Sugary foods also have a freezing point below 32F.)