Christmas is a time for enjoying those traditional foods which make the time of year so special. And whether cooking for yourself, your family, or friends and relations, safefood has some tips to help you out this year for the safest, tastiest Christmas.
A safe and tasty turkey
Cover the bird with tinfoil during cooking as this helps the bird to cook more evenly and gives a more “juicy” product. The turkey should be basted every hour during cooking (the tinfoil can be removed for the last half hour to finally brown the skin ).
For unstuffed turkeys, you can check whether it is thoroughly cooked by piercing the thickest part of the breast meat (between the leg and breast ) with a clean fork or skewer – once the juices run clear, there is no pink meat left and the turkey is piping hot all the way through, then it is properly cooked and ready to serve up.
For stuffed turkeys, you should allow extra cooking time as research has shown that when a turkey is stuffed in the body cavity, it is the centre of the stuffing that is slowest to cook. So when stuffed, it is essential you check the stuffing itself is piping hot all the way through to the centre as well as making sure the meat at the thickest part of the breast and thigh are cooked thoroughly before serving.
Do not “rush” to carve the stuffed cooked bird and leave it to rest for half an hour covered in tinfoil.
Love those leftovers
Leftover turkey and ham should be covered and stored in the fridge within two hours of cooking – you can help cool it down by cutting it into smaller pieces. Once refrigerated, it should be eaten within three days. If you want to freeze stuffing or Christmas meats, wrap them in heavy freezer wrap and put in a container suitable for your freezer.
When reheating Christmas leftovers, turkey and stuffing should be reheated until they are piping hot all the way through. Food should never be reheated more than once and leftover gravy should be brought to a rolling boil.
You can find more information on Christmas cooking including online video tips featuring award-winning chef Neven Maguire by visiting www.safefood.eu