How To Prepare, Cook and Eat Safely This Christmas
23rd December 2010
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I have just completed my food shop and am feeling triumphant having managed the battle of the car park and then the aisles of the supermarket. I am pleased to report I am back home, unscathed, stocked up and ready to go. 

Only 2 days to the big day and now the thoughts turn to food and especially cooking the perfect Christmas Dinner.

The Food Standards agency have some great advice about eating safely over the festive period to avoid any food poisoning dramas.

Here are some handy hints to make sure your Christmas Dinner is everything it should be

  • If you are buying a frozen turkey, make sure it is fully defrosted and no ice crystals are present To work out the defrosting time for your turkey, check the packaging. If there aren't any defrosting instructions, use the following times (or our Turkey defrosting guide) to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey, but remember to check that it's fully thawed before cooking.

In a fridge at 4ºC (39ºF), allow about 10 to 12 hours per kg,  but remember not all fridges will be this temperature.

In a cool room (below 17.5ºC, 64ºF) allow approximately 3 to 4 hours per kg, longer if the room is particularly cold.

At room temperature (about 20ºC, 68ºF) allow approximately 2 hours per kg.

  • The food standards agency have a great too that you can use to calculate defrosting times of your turkey if you are still unsure with the above
  • When preparing raw meat and poultry it is very important to follow strict hygiene rules as bacteria can easily spread

Always wash your hands with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly, after touching raw poultry.

Don't wash your turkey (or other poultry) – this is because bacteria can splash onto worktops, dishes and other foods. Proper cooking will kill any bacteria, so you don't need to wash poultry.

Always clean worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils thoroughly after they have touched raw poultry.

Never use the same chopping board for raw poultry and ready- to-eat food without washing it thoroughly in warm soapy water. (If possible, use a separate chopping board just for raw meat and poultry).

  • Make sure you have given yourself plenty of time to cook your bird 

As a general guide, in an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4)

for a turkey under 4.5kg, allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes

for a turkey weighing between 4.5kg and 6.5kg, allow 40 minutes per kg

for a turkey over 6.5kg, allow 35 minutes per kg

  • Check your bird is fully cooked before serving. These are the three main ways to tell if poultry is cooked:

the meat should be steaming hot all the way through

when you cut into the thickest part of the meat, none of the meat should be pink

if juices run out when you pierce the turkey, or when you press the thigh, they should be clear

  • Tip: Cover your turkey with foil during cooking and uncover for the last 30 minutes to brown the skin. To stop the meat drying out, baste it every hour during cooking.

Well all that remains to say is have a very happy and safe Christmas and New year xx


About the Author

Faz P

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi I am Faz and am passionate about all things Bolton. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and find them to be interesting and thought provoking. I would love you to add your personal comments to them. Dont...

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