What can be saved? (food in refrigerator)

We are finally back home after becoming no electricity refugees for 5 days following this storm and have been cleaning up around the house.

It’s time to go through the fridge and decide what’s bad and what can be saved. I came by and put a bag of ice in the freezer and fridge each day. The stuff in the freezer fared impressively well; almost everything in there never thawed (except for a couple of ice cream sandwiches), and I know this because there was a small bag of ice cubes in there from before the storm that never melted. The fridge, not so much. The bag of ice I put in each day was completely melted each time I put in a new one.

We already tossed the obvious stuff: the vegetables were all rotted, the cheese was moldy, the milk and eggs went right in the trash, a few breakfast sausages I had in there were easy calls as well, some old mayonnaise, pretty much everything that was in there we tossed.

Here’s what remains: some pickled cocktail onions, a jar of olives, a jar of capers, some individually-wrapped American cheese slices, a jar of raspberry preserves, a half pound of butter, a bottle of Sunny D, and a whole door full of assorted condiments (ketchup, mustard, bottle BBQ sauce, soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, vegetarian Worcestershire, a few other items). Everything except the preserves had already been opened.

What can we save?

Here’s what I’m thinking: the onions, olives, and capers are sitting in jars of brine, I can’t imagine anything bad happening to them after a few days in a lukewarm fridge. The cheese, I’m fairly certain that shit doesn’t go bad. The preserves-- they’re preserves! The butter, I feel that’s fine-- people leave butter out on their table. The Sunny D, I sipped at it and it tastes fine to me (plus, I’m just going to add vodka to it anyway). The condiments, I feel like most of that stuff doesn’t really even need to be refrigerated.

Any objections?

Restaurants don’t refrigerate condiments, so I don’t think you need to, though I couldn’t comment on the veggie oyster sauce.

Butter will eventually go rancid, faster if not refrigerated, but you can tell by the smell. Plus it probably won’t be harmful, just taste really bad.

If the cheese is a block, you can cut away any mold from the edges. Not too long ago(in Texas at least) it was still health department appropriate to keep a cheese wheel in dry storage, cutting away any mold with string. Not any more though. If its shredded I would take a really close look at it though.

Anything in a salt brine is fine also. Not much can live in that environment.

I think Sunny D is just a non-carbonated soda:sugar, water, flavoring. So it should be fine.

I think I would do exactly what you are doing. But no doubt someone will be along in a moment with a scare story about someone eating mayonnaise that had been left out overnight, and then dying of leprosy 3 months later :).

The more interesting question is perhaps whether opening the door to add ice each day was a net benefit, or if this just let more warm air in than the cooling effect of the ice. In a working fridge, things tend to keep cooler the less you open the door (of course). Not sure what the best thing is when the power is out for 5 days.

I say the remaining stuff is fine. We keep W-shire sauce in the pantry all the time. If the preserves were unopened, they’re fine too - that’s how they sell 'em at the store anyway.

Welcome home! :slight_smile:

The butter may have picked up odors. I’d pitch it just on general squeamishness.

It’s probably too late, but the eggs were almost certainly fine. Technically they don’t need refrigeration.

Y’know I wanted to save them, and I had actually just bought them a couple of days before the storm, but my GF had already put them in the trash. Oh well.

You’re supposed to put worcestshire sauce in the fridge? I had no idea. Seriously. :stuck_out_tongue:
Must be ok, as I’ve never done that and am still alive.

Next time someone’s worrisome about eggs, just hard-boil 'em.

Veggies and eggs fine. Condiments, depends what’s in them. The more vinegar, salt, sugar in something, the better it will keep. Mayo doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Time to get rid of any old stuff now though. If you haven’t used it already, you probably won’t be using it soon.

I agree with the general consensus, although I might be a little leery about the cheese, and I’d have tossed those capers out the day I saw them (ew! capers??). If the preserves had been used, I’d be concerned about whether there were any toast crumbs in them that could be growing mold.

I mainly wanted to hijack for this:

Where did you find vegetarian Worcestershire, and what brand is it? I can’t seem to find any around here (although of course my method of searching for products tends to be to look in the same three or four stores over and over again).

It’s this stuff. I don’t know where we bought it. Whole Foods, maybe? There’s a vegetarian co-op we go to, it’s likely we got it there.

You cat test your eggs by putting them in water. If they float they are bad. I wouldn’t risk cooking a bad egg. If they are bad enough its not the bacteria to worry about, but the byproducts of the bacteria and you can’t cook that away.

Yeah. Many times something goes bad in the fridge, its not the item but the contamination.

Dairy products will last a surprisingly long time, but if you drink out of the milk carton or eat directly out of the sour cream container(like I do) you contaminate it with saliva and other food stuffs and that’s what grows mold faster.

I threw away some jarred spaghetti sauce not too long ago that was a few months old. It looked just fine, but under the jar lid was a giant fuzz ball. I guess I left it bottom side up and got something on it while cooking.