Turkey Tips for Christmas

RESDIENTS are being advised on how they can avoid falling ‘fowl’ of turkey tummy this Christmas.

Uttlesford District Council cabinet member for Environmental Services, Cllr Sue Barker, said: “Christmas is a time for families and friends to get together and enjoy the traditional festive fare.

“However, the fun is sometimes spoilt when poor hygiene or an undercooked turkey causes people to become ill.”

This needn’t be the case though. Everyone can stay in the Christmas spirit by following these simple food safety tips from the council’s environmental health officers.

• If you are buying a frozen turkey, make sure that you leave enough time to defrost the turkey thoroughly, preferably in the bottom of a fridge. Ensure the bird is in a deep tray or dish that will contain the defrosting juices and prevent them contaminating other foods. A fresh turkey should also be kept in a similar container in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.

• Always keep raw and cooked foods separate.

• Make sure your hands, utensils and worktops are kept clean. Items such as knives and chopping boards should be washed with hot soapy water and disinfected after preparing raw foods.

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• Turkeys are heavy so take care when lifting in and out of the oven.

• The giblets should be removed before cooking. It is also a good idea to cook the stuffing separately rather than in the cavity of the bird. Putting stuffing in the cavity of the bird increases the overall cooking time.

• It is recommended to plan a roasting time of 40 minutes per kg at 190�C, Gas 5. Fractions of kilos are also easy to calculate by allowing 10 minutes for each additional � kg, eg a 5.5kg bird will take 220 minutes (3 hours 40 mins), a 6.7kg bird 270 mins (4 hours 40 mins).

• Make sure you leave enough time to cook your turkey right through. Check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the deepest part and checking that the juices run clear. If the juice is still pink, it needs more cooking.

• Once you have finished your Christmas lunch, any leftovers should go into the fridge. Food should be kept at 5�C or below, so don’t leave it out at room temperature.

• Make sure any leftovers are eaten within two days. If you are not going to eat it all, leftover turkey can be frozen for future use. Remember that you can use the bones to make excellent stock.

• Take care with dishcloths and tea-towels, they can spread bacteria round your kitchen. Change cloths regularly and make sure you do not spread bacteria from an area used to prepare raw food to the rest of the kitchen.

The table below will help you to work out how long to thaw and cook your turkey. Remember, this is only a guide, so you still need to check that the turkey is properly cooked

Christmas comes but once a year, so make sure yours is a happy one. If you need any further advice, contact Environmental Health on 01799 510482 or go to food.gov.uk, nhs.uk or britishturkey.co.uk

For information on recycling, go to uttlesford.gov.uk