What To Do If Your Power Goes Out While Using A Slow Cooker

Many people look forward to the summer for the warm weather. However, weather in the summer can sometimes be less than ideal, and create all sorts of problems, including power outages. Summer is hurricane season for the Atlantic region of the US, per WAMC. For much of the western part of the United States, summer is also fire season, explains Popular Science. According to ABC News, climate change is also causing more extreme weather events, including extreme heat waves in Texas, storms in the Midwest, and flooding in Tennessee and Salt Lake City, all of which can lead to power outages and blackouts.

When the power goes out, whether planned or unexpectedly, most people focus on the perishable foods in their fridge or freezer, and there are plenty of tips for protecting perishable foods from summer power outages, including the quarter in your freezer trick. However, what do you do if you have some food that's been cooking for a long time, like in the slow cooker? What are you supposed to do in that situation? Depending on when the power outage occurred, and whether you were home or not when it happened, you may not have to throw everything out.

How to decide if you can salvage the contents of your slow cooker during a power outage

According to the US Department of Agriculture, if you are home when the power goes out and your slow cooker is still in the process of cooking, you can finish cooking the ingredients by immediately using some other means: if you have a gas stove and it still works, use that; otherwise, try using your barbecue grill; or take the slow cooker to someplace where the power is still on. If you are home and the slow cooker has already finished cooking when the power goes out, your food should be safe in the slow cooker for up to two hours, even without power.

However, if you aren't home during the entirety of the slow cooking process and the power goes out, you should throw out all the food, even if it looks done, since you can't tell if it actually is done, and how long it's been at an unsafe temperature. The only possible exception is if you have a slow cooker that's connected to your smartphone, and you receive notice that the food was completely done before the power (and therefore wifi) went out, and it's been less than two hours since the power went out. Otherwise, don't take the risk.