Family can get on your nerves over Christmas but there are more effective ways to try to poison your loved ones than a badly cooked turkey.
Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella are no joke however and not worth risking. The symptoms are nasty so don’t worry we won’t go into any details that might put you off your Christmas dinner. The symptoms from Campylobacter appear 3-5 days after the infected food has been eaten and can last up to ten days. Salmonella symptoms begin anytime from 12 hours to 3 days after eating the infected food and can also last a long time. New Years Eve is always a disappointment but being attached to a toilet bowl is actually less fun than an over-priced night out and a lack of taxis home. Food poisoning isn’t usually fatal but elderly people, young children, and people with compromised immune systems are at risk. With lots of family of all ages gathering around for Christmas dinner it is always best to be safe and not risk missing out on delicious day two turkey sandwiches. So here’s some of the numbers involved with safe turkey cooking:
You should never wash the turkey beforehand it only spreads bacteria to surfaces in your kitchen and potentially could transfer it to other food. Cooking your turkey properly will kill any germs. After handling the turkey wash your hands with warm water and soap and dry them afterwards.
If you buy a non-frozen fresh turkey cook within 2 days of its purchase.
Follow the three day rule for leftovers. All the leftovers should be eaten within 3 days and only reheat any part of them once.
Consider cooking the stuffing separately to ensure everything cooks properly. If you cook the stuffing in the bird then make sure it doesn’t weigh over 10% of the overall weight of the bird and make sure the temperature of the stuffing is 165 degrees fahrenheit or around 73 degrees celsius.
Defrost a frozen turkey in the fridge (not at room temperature) and allow 24 hours of defrosting for every 2-2.5kg! That is 3 days for a 7.5kg turkey. Defrosting your turkey thoroughly is a really important factor in not poisoning people at Christmas and cooking a delicious dinner.
The Turkey should be steaming hot throughout when done and juice from the thickest part (between the breast and the thigh) should run clear. None of the meat should be pink. It is wise to have a meat thermometer and this should maintain a 70 degrees celsius reading for two minutes when inserted between the breast and thigh. Don’t leave turkey out of the fridge. Once carved, only take that which is to be eaten to the table – everything else goes back in the fridge.
Cook the turkey at 180 degrees celsius to be safe and use a roast timer to calculate the right cooking time.
Here is an interesting fact you can share this Christmas: According to one research paper food poisoning costs the US economy 4.8 to 23 billion dollars a year. You could buy a lot of Christmas presents with 23 billion!
Image: BBC Good Food Recipe