frozen water
Jade Small
Jade Small
February 29, 2024 ·  3 min read

Why you should always put a coin in the freezer before you leave home

Everyone wants to believe their freezer is a boss at its job when it comes to keeping your food frozen for months on end. However, the reality is, that even if your freezer is brand new, there are some external forces at play with a mission to defrost your food. One woman posted on her Facebook where she shared a brilliant coin in a cup method to tell whether your food has defrosted, and people are amazed.

Food accidentally defrosting

Life is full of unexpected events. From power outages to natural disasters, or even routine neighborhood maintenance that you missed the announcement for. All of these can play a part in disrupting the frozen food in your fridge, causing them to defrost. The issue with this is bacteria can take hold, which is a serious health issue, particularly for meat and dairy products. This is where the coin in a cup method comes into play, which we’ll explain later on.

Food in freezer might defrost if power goes out.
Image credit: pexels

Let’s say you were going on a trip, even if it’s just for the weekend. If the power stayed on the entire time, and your freezer is in good condition, your food should be fine to consume when you get back. But, what if there was a power outage for any reason? Or maybe your freezer is in need of TLC. Whatever the cause, there is a chance your food defrosted and then froze again. This makes it hard o tell what’s good to eat, and what’s not.

Coin in a cup to the rescue

By now you must be wondering to yourself how on earth does a coin in a cup tell me if my food is okay to eat or not? In 2016, Sheila Pulanco Russell posted on her Facebook, explaining the life hack to her followers. She aimed it around those who may get evacuated from their homes. “For those of you that are evacuating from the coast,” she wrote. “I just heard a great tip. It’s called the one cup tip. You put a cup of water in your freezer. Freeze it solid and then put a quarter on top of it and leave it in your freezer.

Coin in a cup
Image credit: Facebook

She added, “That way when you come back after you’ve been evacuated you can tell if your food went completely bad and just refroze or if it stayed Frozen while you were gone. If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup that means all the food defrosted. And you should throw it out. But if the quarter is either on the top or in the middle of the cup then your food may still be ok.

Lastly, she concluded her post by saying, “It would also be a great idea to leave this in your freezer all the time and if you lose power for any reason you will have this tip to fall back on. If you don’t feel good about your food, just throw it out. The main thing is for all to be safe.”


Sheila’s post gained 231 thousand likes and over 420 thousand shares. There were nearly 30 thousand comments from people applauding the genius coin in a cup idea. One person commented on her post saying, “Brilliant and simple!” Another echoed that response saying, “Have used this for years in the porch freezer.”

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  1. Why You Should Keep A Frozen Cup With A Coin On Top In Your Freezer.CBS News. October 22, 2019
  2. Facebook. Sheila Pulanco Russell. October 6 2016