Food safety during a power outage

We lost power this past week.  The house went silent and dim three times in 24 hours.  Two of these outages happened in the wee hours of the morning of which we were aware only because of the doorbell ringing when the power went back on.

And, of course, the fridge stopped running and cooling the food that I had just purchased at the grocery store.

This meant that I had to dump the fresh eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, packaged pre-washed greens, cream-based salad dressings, any leftovers that I had planned to eat for lunch and some thawed frozen food.  I was able to keep the juices, fresh fruits and veggies, and condiments such as mustard and ketchup.

Heartbreaking, I know.  Then I was off on another trip to the store to replace what I threw out.

If this ever happens to you, please resist the temptation to keep certain foods that may have been sitting in the fridge at temps above 40 degrees for more than 4 hours.  Between the temps of 40 and 140, bacteria will grow and party.  And you do not want the nasty symptoms, some life-threatening, that the bacteria or their toxins can bring on.  The amount of money that you lose by throwing out the spoiled food is small in comparison to the possible pain and time lost to food poisoning (not to mention medical bills).

For a list of foods that must be tossed and those that can be kept, visit Foodsafety.gov There you will find a list of foods in a handy form that can be printed and taped inside a cupboard door for future reference.

Storm season is upon us.  Take care to make sure your food supply is safe.

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Going bananas for banana bread

Bananas ripen so quickly in the summer months.  I often slice them and freeze the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Then I pop the slices into a plastic bag or container and keep in the freezer for future snacks and smoothies.

The other day I decided to make banana bread (even though the thermometer read 92 degrees!). After experimenting a bit in the kitchen with different ingredients, I was rewarded for my efforts with lovely browned loaves of sweet, moist, fragrant bread.

If you like quick breads, give this a try.

Better Eating’s Banana Bread

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or equivalent in egg substitute)
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 8 ½ X 5 inch glass loaf pans with baking spray. Line just the bottom of each dish with wax paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl.   In another bowl combine sugar, eggs, olive oil, buttermilk, and mashed bananas. Mix well. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry mixture, stirring just until well-moistened. (There will be some lumps.) Pour mixture into the pans, dividing batter equally between the two.
  4.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.

Variations:

Stir in ½ cup chopped nuts and/or ½ cup dark chocolate chips before pouring batter into pans. This may increase baking time.

I prefer Pyrex-type or Corning Ware loaf pans. Metal pans or different sizes can affect baking time, so start checking for doneness before 30 minutes. I have baked one large loaf with this recipe, using an 8 1/2 X 5 inch glass pan, baking for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Enjoy.