We've pulled together a few helpful tips on how to store, prepare and cook your turkey, right up to how to safely handle leftovers to ensure that you keep your loved ones safe from food poisoning this Christmas!
- Plan ahead (and save the environment)! When Christmas food shopping, take sufficient re-usable carrier bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as much as 4 days!
- Defrost your turkey in the fridge if you have space; if not try defrosting it in a shed or garage area as they are less likely to have fluctuating temperatures. The key is to ensure that the bird has no frozen bits when it goes in the oven as that allows bacteria to survive and makes it difficult to cook - poke it with a fork to discover any frosty areas.
- Don’t wash raw turkey; it just splashes germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. Yuck!
- To work out the cooking time for your bird, check the instructions on the packaging. If the packaging doesn't have a a cooking time on it, you can calculate this through the magic of the internet!
- Is it done? Turkey is a white meat when cooked, and it must be steaming hot - if there's any pink, or if the juices don't run clear then get it back in the oven a.s.a.p. (You don't want the side dishes to overcook while you wait, so it's best to leave some extra time to allow for this.)
- Once you've had your Christmas turkey feast (and successfully not poisoned your nearest and dearest) your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a classic turkey curry or risotto). If you want to freeze this meal, do it in portions so you can just defrost what you need as you can only reheat once!