A great Christmas tradition is the roast turkey in the middle of the Christmas banquet. And since it is a recipe that we only tackle once a year, it requires more knowledge into how to cook this dish. So that you do not make any of your guests sick.
Food safety experts have warned how one wrong move with the Christmas turkey could cause food poisoning. Cooking this poultry poses a quadruple threat—harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly during defrosting, preparing, cooking and storing if the bird is not handled correctly.
Turkey On Right!
Below is the four main steps of cooking this bird and how to be food safe. Be aware of these things and stay safe!
- Large birds take at least three days to defrost in the fridge—24 hours for every 2.3kg.
- Thaw in original packaging, unopened, always in the fridge.
- Have a large dish to store the frozen turkey to catch all the juices that come out so it doesn’t contaminate other foods—that’s where the salmonella lies.
- Once defrosted, the bird in question should not be in the fridge for more than two days.
- Wash hands and surfaces with warm soapy water before and after touching raw poultry.
- Bacteria can spread easily from raw turkey to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils.
- Rinsing the bird in cold water is risky, it spreads chains of Salmonella bacteria around the kitchen sink (think chicken!). Instead, blot the bird inside and out with paper towels.
- Never leave uncooked turkey at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Do not stuff the turkey the night before.
- The centre of the bird should be above 75° C before serving.
- Juices must run clear when you pierce the cooked poultry.
- Ensure there is no pink meat, only white when you cut the thickest part of the thigh.
- Keep cooked turkey in the fridge.
- Throw away any that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Ensure a heavily stocked Christmas fridge is cold enough.
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