How to prepare for the ultimate Christmas dinner

Is there anything better than Christmas dinner with friends and family on a chilly winter’s day?

We don’t think so.  

At the first glimpse of tinsel, the population of England starts planning for a great Christmas feast.

Sipping on a warming glass of mulled wine whilst basting a succulent turkey and chatting to friends by the warm glow of an Aga – it’s what dreams are made of.

While Christmas family meals are indeed wonderful, it is vital you prepare and store the food correctly to prevent food poisoning for you and your family.

 Here are a few tips to prevent any unwelcome illnesses during the festive season.

1. Ensure you use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for cooked and raw meat. It’s easy to forget how easily bacteria can spread when the days are freezing cold outside, but don’t get caught out!

2. If you’re buying a frozen turkey allow ample time for it to thaw out thoroughly before cooking.  The safest way to do this is to defrost it in a fridge having placed it on a dish large enough to collect the juices.  It will need up to 48 hours depending on size!

3. Just because meat looks cooked, it doesn’t mean it is cooked on the inside. The meat must be steaming hot ALL THE WAY through before you serve it.  Cut into the thickest part and make sure that it is not pink.  Prick the meat to check that the Juices are clear.  If you are not sure it might be worth investing in a low cost temperature probe to check that the temperature between the breast and the thigh (thickest bit) reaches 70°C for at least 2 minutes.

4. At this time of year your fridge will probably be bursting at the seams!  Remember that an overloaded fridge prevents air circulation possibly causing warm spots to occur – Make sure the fridge temperature is between 0 and 5°C. This can be easily done with an inexpensive fridge thermometer.  Check that raw and cooked foods are kept separate and that meat juices are unable to come into contact with high risk foods such as trifles and other ready to eat products.

5. Cool leftover foods as quickly as possible ideally within two hours.  This should be done in a cool area but not the fridges as it will cause condensation and raise the temperature.  Once the food is cool cover and place in the fridge.  Do not keep for more than two days and if reheating, do so until steaming hot all the way through.

If you’re unsure about food safety, why not partake in one of our online food hygiene and safety

courses? Don’t run this risk of food poisoning, salmonella and E-Coli this Christmas. Please browse our website or don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information.