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Thread: What is the best way to keep foods cold when the grid goes down?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Central Texas
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    Default What is the best way to keep foods cold when the grid goes down?

    This has always been a vague area that I am unsure about so I'd like to see what y'all think.

    When the grid goes down for an extended period of time (more than 2 days) what would be the best way to keep foods cold or frozen for extended periods of time?

    In my situation, I have enough gas stored to run my generator non-stop for a couple of days. I also have a very small dorm fridge/freezer that I could run for an indefinate amount of time on my small solar setup. On top of that, I have a couple of moderate sized coolers that will keep foods cold for several days if I put enough ice in them from the start. I keep about 2 dozen water bottles in my freezer just in case the power does go out as that is about 20 pounds of ice so it should keep the food good for a couple of days.


    So what would be the best thing to do in an extended grid down situation?

    My thought was instead of running the generator all the time, only run it for 4 to 6 hours a day(once in the morning and once at night) and have the fridge and freezer plugged in to drop the temp and keep foods good. This would extend my generator run time to about 5 days. During this time, my family and I can focus on eating the foods from the fridge and freezer. Once the generator runs out of fuel, I could put important foods in the dorm fridge and all other foods in the coolers with the 20 pounds of ice.

    Does this sound like a decent plan? I don't like the idea of running the generator at all but my solar setup is too small to run our large fridge and freezer. Does anyone have any other suggestion?
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Texas
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    Default

    We installed a 500 gal propane tank and have 2 propane generators (10KW) and (4KW)
    Nothing in the house is propane, so we would run what is needed.
    Also have a transfer switch and all wires needed to tap in to house system when needed.
    Propane should keep fridge/freezer working for about 60 days.
    Also buy a lot of 5 gall tanks off of CL, each one will run the freezer for a day...currently have about 15
    Armageddon Catering....Providing All Of Your Post SHTF And TEOTWAWKI Needs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Sweet Tennessee
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    Default

    Refrigeration isn't something I've put much thought into. I have a cow and chickens and goats and rabbits I had planned on just taking it day by day. looking forward to ideas as well!
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
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    Helena Montana
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    I guess if you experience hurricanes and other such short term emergency's it makes sense to store a lot of fuel and several generators. If you are planning on a grid down situation my bet is on having stored shelf stable food and save the generator power for something that might crop up and need power quickly for a short term.

    you might be able to cut and dehydrate those steaks in a grid down situation but I am betting on the situation being way crazy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Sweet Tennessee
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    Check out the part about using the solar oven at night, also some of the comments are helpful!

    http://www.offthegridnews.com/grid-t...-refrigerator/
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    NW Ohio
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    I keep the tall camper propane tanks full, and have another 4 short propane tanks for running the fridge (in the camper) in a SHTF situation. The key is to keep the fridge freezer closed as much as possible. I think it may be possible to make ice in the camper freezer in an attempt to keep the house fridge cool. There will probably be some wholesale freezer goods grilling going on if we truly know that the grid is down for awhile.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Central Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junkman View Post

    you might be able to cut and dehydrate those steaks in a grid down situation but I am betting on the situation being way crazy.
    This is a good idea that I had not thought of.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  8. #8

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    If they grid goes down long term, by the time we know this, the food in th fridg would have been consumed?
    I bought counter top ice maker that can run off solar power indefinately. All meats would be prepped and transferred to the smoke house for curing. Some foods will go bad probably but I have such a good stock of canned and freeze dried foods in my stores, I'm not that concerned about losing a few items from the fridg or freezer.

    Now, for your question about extending cold foods, go buy you a few 50# bags of rock salt. If the grid goes down for more than a couple day, pack those rock salt bags, unopened around your cold foods. That will help hold the cold in for a couple more days. If the power is restored, shelve the bags of rock salt for another grid down situation. You can reuse them indefinately.
    The bags I have are plastic lined burlap bags. I got them at SAMS. 6.99 per 50# bag.



    Think about the old days before refrigeration when rock salt was used to help homemade icecream, freeze.

    ETA; Weird. My post said cotton lined but I swear I typed plastic lined. That's what I get for trying to multi-task. lol
    Last edited by Camouflaged; 08-07-2017 at 07:32 PM.
    Remember what Einstein said:
    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  9. #9

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    Thing about dehydration is that needs to be done before the grid goes down because dehydrators draw A LOT of amps. If you have a dehydrator, start making jerky now for long term storage and back up meat food and then vac seal it. If you have a pressure canner, you can can meat for long term storage.


    Quote Originally Posted by 91CavGT View Post
    This is a good idea that I had not thought of.
    Remember what Einstein said:
    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    AZ
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    Freezing is not something that will be done much in a grid down situation. My camper has enough solar to run the refrig/freezer for a very long time until batteries/solar degrade.
    Propane refrig/freezers will run until you run out of propane. You could likely adapt a propane refrigerator to run off firewood. That would be renewable in any off grid situation.
    Evaporation coolers will cool foods to maybe 20* below area temps in dry locations. Root cellars will always be cooler then above ground temps.

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