Some call it an old wives tale, but a single quarter in your freezer really can make a massive difference in your life.

All You Need Is a Cup, Water and a Quarter

New Yorkers have been grappling with power outages due to strong winds and heavy snow that's been snapping trees, power lines, and our overall patience. Come the summer, similar weather will also cause rolling outages.

While some people have opted to invest in an automatic generator to bypass the headache all together, others brave the power outages with batteries and prayers.

Read More: "Arctic Blast" Bringing Negative Temperatures to Central New York

Sometimes power is restored relatively quickly while others find themselves waiting days - if not weeks - in the dark.

Growing up in rural Connecticut, I have an intimate knowledge of what it's like to spend weeks without power. My neighborhood was always first to go out and last to come back on, which is why my parents finally decided to spring for a Generac following the Halloween blizzard of 2011.

Geraldton Residents Remain Without Power As Clean Up Begins In Wake Of Cyclone Seroja
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The reason why they sprang for such a costly investment was because all the food in our freezer eventually went bad - even with our little portable generator running nearly 24/7. We switched the portable generator off at night to conserve gas, but doing that for over a week took its toll on our stored food.

Power outages aside, it's not always so obvious when the food in your freezer is no longer safe to eat, and that is why the age-old practice of putting a quarter in your freezer comes in handy.

All you need is a cup or container that can withstand freezing temperatures and fill it with water before transferring it to the freezer. Once the water is frozen solid, place a single quarter on top of the ice.

What's the Purpose?

The reason why people have been doing this for decades is because it's an easy way to gauge your freezer's temperature and condition of the food inside. Where the quarter is in the cup the next time you open the freezer door will let you know if the temperatures remained below freezing or not.

For example, if you open the door and see the quarter frozen somewhere in the water, it lets you know that the freezer thawed and then froze again. That visual helps you see that your food also thawed out and, unfortunately, went bad.

What the Quarter Can Tell You

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8vFanI from Getty Images
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The quarter trick can tell you if your food is safe or not safe to consume. It also will alert you to check your food before you eat it.

For example: if the quarter remains atop the frozen water, then your food has stayed at a constant temperature and is safe to eat. It also lets you know your freezer is functioning properly and is regulating the temperatures inside.

However, if you open the freezer door and see the quarter somewhere in the middle of the frozen water, it lets you know the contents of the freezer began to thaw and then quickly refroze. While the food should be safe to consume, you should check it before you throw it in the oven.

And, lastly, if the quarter sinks all the way to the bottom of the cup, it means the freezer had fully defrosted and your food thawed completely. If you see this, your food is not safe to eat and should be disposed. Eating it could induce food poisoning.

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State Food Safety says you should always throw out food that thawed and refroze due to the chances of harmful bacteria growing in the food. While cooking the food does kill off the bacteria, the toxins they leave behind may remain and make you sick. Pitching the food helps prevent foodborne illnesses.

 

That said, if you're heading out on vacation or expecting a power outage... or you think your freezer isn't functioning the way it's supposed to, the quarter trick has your back.

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The 10 Worst Places To Live In New York State

While New York is certainly home to a plethora of hidden gems and breathtaking sights, Road Snacks has highlighted the state's most undesirable spots.

As for what determines what makes a city or town one of the "worst" places to live, Road Snacks compared 163 cities with 5,000 or more residents, to find those with the lowest median home value, weakest school districts, and highest rates of unemployment and crime. In short, the survey ranked cities and towns based off their economic performance and opportunity for growth, which Road Snacks says impacts the quality of life of its residents.

In the end, these 10 cities were deemed to be the worst New York State has to offer. That said, the company is not calling these cities bad - so if you have an issue, take it up with Road Snacks. We're just reporting their findings.

Gallery Credit: Megan

New York's Most Miserable Cities

According to Road Snacks, these are New York's 10 most miserable cities because apparently everything is going wrong there.

As for what determines how miserable a city is, Road Snacks compared 169 cities using Census data and other scientific stuff from other "legitimate" sources. They looked into divorce rates, commute times, cost of living, and other statistics to whip up this "fun" new list.

In the end, these 10 cities were deemed to be the gloomiest in New York State.

Gallery Credit: Megan