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Top turkey tips for the festive season.

IF YOU'RE worried about the fast-approaching festive season, one thing you definitely don't want to add to your concerns is the risk of food poisoning.

The Food Standards Agency has prepared some easy-to-follow tips to help ensure you have a happy and healthy Christmas.

PREPARING THE TURKEY: IF you are using a frozen turkey, make sure you check how long it will take to defrost safely.

To do this, first of all see if there are instructions on the packaging.

If there aren't any defrosting instructions, use the following times to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey.

If there aren't any, use the following times to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey: | In a fridge at 4degC (39degF), allow around 10-12 hours per kg, but remember that not all fridges will be this temperature. | In a cool room (below 17.5degC, 64degF), allow approximately three to four hours per kg, or longer if the room is particularly cold.

To prevent the spread of food poisoning germs like campylobacter: | Make sure that you wash everything that has touched your raw turkey (e.g. hands and utensils) in soap and hot water. | Don't wash raw turkey under the kitchen tap as this can splash germs around your kitchen. | Allow time for your turkey to cook. Check it's cooked thoroughly - there should be no pink meat in the thickest parts and it should be steaming hot with juices running clear.

You can use a cooking thermometer (which is left in the turkey while it cooks); this should be placed in the thickest part of the turkey (between the breast and thigh) from the start.

You'll know your turkey is cooked when the thermometer has reached 70degC for more than two minutes.

DEALING WITH LEFTOVERS IF YOU'VE got leftovers, cool them, then cover and ensure that they go in the fridge or freezer within one to two hours.

If you have a lot of one type of food, split it into smaller portions to help it to cool quickly so you can freeze and defrost only what you need for future dishes.

Leftovers should be eaten or frozen within two days (one day for rice dishes).

If you make a new meal such as curry or casserole from the leftovers, then you can also freeze this, even if you are using turkey that was originally frozen.

Make sure that when you come to use frozen leftovers, you defrost them thoroughly in the fridge overnight or in a microwave (on the defrost setting) and then reheat until steaming hot.

If you are having people over for buffets or parties post-Christmas, make sure you only take food out of the fridge at the time when guests are ready to eat and only as much as you think you'll use.

Put food back in the fridge as soon as you can, ideally within an hour.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 24, 2015
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