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The Best Food Safety Tips for Blizzards

The Best Food Safety Tips for Blizzards

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Prepare for the worst with these helpful food safety tips

Food safety tips to help you stay healthy during the worst winter blizzards.

Stocking up at the grocery store is only half the battle when prepping for a winter storm. Hank Lambert, CEO of PURE Bioscience, a company dedicated to health for food and consumer safety, shares his best tips on safely storing and preserving food if the power goes out during a winter storm:

  1. Keep appliance thermostats in both the refrigerator and freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe.
  2. Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm to help food keep cold.
  3. Freeze refrigerator items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately to keep them at safe temperatures longer.
  4. Group foods together in the freezer — this “igloo” effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  5. Don’t rely on putting food outside in ice or snow, because it can attract animals or thaw when the sun comes out.
  6. Place meat and poultry on opposite sides of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross-contamination of thawing juices.
  7. Do not open the refrigerator or freezer; a freezer that is half full will hold up to 24 hours and a full freezer for up to 48 hours. Instead, eat shelf-stable foods.

This story was originally published January 26, 2015.

So Why Does Dairy Queen Flip Its Blizzards Anyway?

You can thank a little St. Louis Custard stand for the tradition.

At this point in the ice cream and fast food chain&aposs 80-year history, most every American has heard of Dairy Queen, but fewer people have actually been to a Dairy Queen. That much was evident from some of the confused reactions to Joe Biden flipping a DQ Blizzard upside down in a tweet from the campaign trail.

Was it a confusing gaffe from the former vice president? No. In fact, it was an homage to a longtime tradition that probably requires some explanation. 

According to DQ legend, the story of the flipped Blizzard can be traced back to the St. Louis area —ਊnd actually comes from a rival custard stand called Ted Drewes. As St. Louis Magazine tells it, back in the summer of 1959, a local 14-year-old named Steve Gamber kept going by a particular Ted Drewes location every day, constantly asking for thicker and thicker malts. Because 14-year-old boys have a tendency to be incredibly annoying, Ted Drewes, Jr. eventually reached his breaking point. 

"Just to shut me up, Ted turned the malt upside down right in front of me and said ,&aposIs this thick enough for you? If it falls out, it&aposs free,&apos" Gamber told St. Louis Magazine back in 2009. Thus, the "concrete" shake, a St. Louis staple, defined by its gravity-defying marketing angle, was born.

Fast forward to the 1970s, when St. Louis businessman Sam Temperato, who owned dozens of area Dairy Queen franchises, enters the story. Surprised by the ability of the comparatively small Ted Drewes brand to successfully withstand the blitz of Dairy Queens, Temperato decided to do what enterprising captains of industry have done for hundreds of years: take an existing successful idea, modify it slightly, and pass it off as his own invention. 

By 1983, Temperato proposed the idea of a frozen treat made with super-thick soft serve, throwing in bits of fruit and candy to compliment the product. Using a phrase Dairy Queen had trademarked in the 1950&aposs, the Blizzard would eventually make its debut in 1985, selling 100 million units in its first year alone. The idea of flipping it upside-down before serving, a selling point from the beginning, only added to the phenomenon. 

Thirty-five years later, the Blizzard flip endures. To this day, Dairy Queen still occasionally reminds folks that their Blizzard is free if the employee who serves it to you doesn&apost successfully complete the flip first. Of course, it&aposs worth pointing out that an FAQ page indicates that the "flip or free" offer is up to the discretion of individual DQ franchisees.

Of course, even a guarantee that your Blizzard is thick enough to chill out upside down without falling out isn&apost accurate 100 percent of the time, as indicated by the 6,000 comments in a Reddit thread chronicling the experience of people who&aposve seen their Blizzard spill. Maybe that little element of risk adds to the excitement?

Regardless, don&apost think of the Blizzard flip as a recent viral phenomenon, but as an enduring homage to an incredibly thick frozen treat that should serve as an enduring point of civic pride for St. Louisans — no matter what they may choose to call it.

We called on Test Kitchen Product Tester Adam Hickman to put the top-rated food scales on the market to the test. The team rounded up top-rated food scales from brands like KitchenAid, OXO, Amazon Basics, and more. Here are some of the features that each scale was tested for:

  • Accuracy/consistency: Was the scale consistently accurate regardless of where food was placed on the scale?
  • Readability/functionality: Is the digital display still readable with plates, bowl, and trays? Are there multiple options for measurement units? Is it able to weigh large items without maxing out?
  • Cleanup/Storage: How easy is the scale to clean and store?
  • Overall value: Is it worth the investment?

Read on for our picks for the best food scales for all your measuring needs. See one you like? Click the link below each description to get your very own.

Keep raw foods separate.


Disease-causing bacteria or pathogens can contaminate surfaces, so follow this rule to avoid spreading foodborne illness: Keep things separate. Clean your appliances, cutting boards, dishes, and all other kitchen tools with hot soapy water after preparing separate food items. Don't forget countertops, kitchen surfaces, and stovetops, too!

Unless it's been thoroughly washed, never serve cooked or ready-to-eat foods on a dish that previously had raw eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood on it. Before you even leave the store, remember to always keep these items separate in your shopping carts, grocery bags, and refrigerators.

What to Eat First

Under normal circumstances, the rule would be first in, first out. But in this case—where you want to make sure you’ll have a nice variety of foods for the next month or more—it's time to cook a little more strategically.

  • Refrigerator items are the most likely ones to have actual expiration dates, as opposed to best-by dates, so shop from your fridge first. (Not sure about the difference? Get the scoop here.) Use this chart to see which items to prioritize and pay particular attention to perishables you’ve already opened. Many of those will need to be eaten within a week or so.
  • After that, consider produce that might not require refrigeration. Vegetables like winter squash and onions can stay good for weeks, but they'll eventually go bad.
  • Turn to dried, canned, jarred, or Tetra boxed foods next. Most shelf-stable items will last for months or years.
  • The same applies with your freezer: Under proper conditions, almost anything in there will stay safely edible indefinitely, although quality may decline in time. Learn more about freezer storage safety here.

Bhubeth Bhajanavorakul/Shutterstock

Dairy Queen tried its hand at frozen yogurt in the '90s, when the low-fat diet was all the rage. Unfortunately, customers didn't take a liking to it, and DQ pulled it from the menu.

And when you're not enjoying DQ, be sure to check out these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.

Are You Prepared for the Next Blizzard?

Are you really prepared for the next blizzard? Let’s check. Here are five easy ways to be better prepared for the next snow storm.

Every winter, snowstorms are in the forecast throughout most North American regions. Many of us have experienced frigid winter temperatures in wintertime, but if you haven’t updated your preparedness kit in a while, there is always more you can do to ensure the safety of you and your family before the next winter storm hits.

Five Ways to Prepare for Blizzards and Snow Storms

Know your risk. How prepared is your region for winter weather? How well do residents in your community drive on icy roads? Southern snow storms obviously take more time to recuperate from because they have less snow removal equipment. If you live in the south, prepare for many schools and businesses to be closed for days.

Build a preparedness kit. We update our kit every year. FEMA has an excellent list. Also, keep a preparedness kit in your car! Never leave the house without a water bottle, cell phone, hand sanitizer and umbrella. I keep other important items such as a flashlight, blanket, first aid kit, granola bars, ice scraper/snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid and cell phone charger in my car. Make sure your tires are in good shape, you have at least a half tank of gas and your car is running smoothly too. Check out our car emergency kit list.

Have a back-up plan for power. Make sure you and your family can survive without electricity for at least 3 days. Invest in a generator, especially if you live in an area frequented by power outages.

Start a conversation with your family, neighbors and employer. Do you have a plan—including a plan for your family and pets? Would any of your elderly or special needs neighbors need help if they lost power? Does your employer expect you to be at work during a winter storm?

Don’t overexert yourself when outdoors in the cold weather. The American Heart Association says the strenuous activity of shoveling snow can take a toll on your body and can actually increase your chances of having a heart attack. While you may think you’re OK , someone you know may not be. Take an American Red Cross CPR /First Aid/ AED course to learn life-saving skills! Pet CPR courses are also available in some areas.

Preparedness is power! Don’t be left out in the cold during the next winter storm. See our articles on staying warm in winter and keeping pipes from freezing for more tips.

Do you have any tips for surviving a blizzard? Let us know in the comments!

Dairy Queen Adds More New Flavors to Their List of Summer Blizzards

Frosted Animal Cookie. Raspberry Fudge Bliss. Oreo Cheesecake. The flavors just keep coming!

According to the calendar, summer has officially started, which means now is the perfect time to eat ice cream — and lots of it. But if plain vanilla won&apost do for you, look no further than your nearest DQ.

The fast food chain beloved for its soft-serve ice cream and frozen treats is never one to leave a creative flavor behind. With recent releases like Pumpkin Pie and Mint Oreo, they&aposve got their eye on new flavors that will thrill and delight — which is exactly what their summer lineup does.

If you&aposve not seen it yet, DQ is bringing back two fan favorite blizzard flavors and releasing four all-new ones. These include:

  • New Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard Treat – Oreo Cookie pieces and cheesecake pieces𠋻lended with DQ vanilla soft serve.​
  • New Frosted Animal Cookie Blizzard Treat – Frosted animal cookie pieces and pink𠋼onfetti frosting blended with DQ soft serve. ​
  • New Drumstick with peanuts Blizzard Treat – Crispy chocolate coated waffle pieces𠋻lended with peanuts and creamy DQ vanilla soft serve.
  • New Raspberry Fudge Bliss Blizzard Treat – Real raspberries, soft fudge pieces and choco chunks blended with DQ soft serve.
  • Returning S&aposmore’s Blizzard Treat – Marshmallow filled chocolates and graham blended with DQ soft serve.​
  • Returning Cotton Candy Blizzard Treat – Cotton candy sprinkles blended with DQ vanilla soft-serve.

The Drumstick Blizzard Treat is only available in July, so you&aposll have to act fast (and often) if you want it.

To help promote the new menu and all the ways we can still have summer fun, DQ assembled a panel of experts to help people "summer" like never before. This new program, #DQSummerFun, offers at-home ideas that are easy for families to implement at home. These top tips run the gamut from at-home animal adventures, travel plans and even a਍IY backyard waterpark.

The panel of pros include TV Food & Lifestyle Personality Brandi Milloy, Animal Expert and Trainer Dave Salmoni, and Family Travel Expert Julia Dimon. And the trio of personalities are syncing up their tips to correspond with DQ&aposs full blizzard menu. A summer of fun and ice cream? Where do we sign up?

Choosing Foods That Will Last

One important factor to consider is that you’re going to want to make sure that the foods that you select for your stockpile are foods that will last.

When properly stored, many may last as long as 20 years and still retain their nutritional value and taste. It’s also important to note that not all food that is labeled “Survival Food” will work for your particular situation.

Some foods will have an overabundance of such ingredients as corn syrup which has actually been banned in many countries. You also want to make sure that there isn’t too much sugar in your survival foods as this won’t be as full of nutrition (although it may enhance the flavor).

Keep in mind also that there are many “weeds” that are edible. The lowly dandelion is a prime example of an edible weed.

You can use the root to make tea, the greens for salads, and the flowers in a variety of healthy recipes. Take a look around you before winter hits and see what weeds you could be storing as well.

There are different types of foods that you can store in your stockpile. These include dehydrated foods, freeze-dried foods, powdered foods that are reconstituted with water or other liquids, canned fruits or vegetables, canned meats, dried foods such as beans or pasta or rice, and condiments.

Most people choose to store a variety of foods and use all of the above in their stockpile.

Bosses, biomes, and progression are linked

Valheim is an open world, so you can wander wherever you want right from the start. That doesn’t mean you’ll survive the trip, though.

Like we said, you can think of Valheim as one long dependency tree — you need this to build that, you need that to build the next thing, etc. Your progression along that tree is tied to finding new resources. Finding new resources usually means traveling to a new biome — like meadows or black forests — and each new biome has a new boss.

And that means, beyond just treating bosses as objectives, defeating bosses and traveling to new biomes is how you unlock new crafting recipes, new weapons and armor, new upgrades, and new building materials.

Each biome has its own quirks — and we’ve got guides for each one you enter — and comes with useful new tools that will help you survive.

Valheim: From spawning to Eikthyr

In eight steps, our walkthrough takes you from being reborn in Valheim to defeating your first boss, Eikthyr.

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