Festive food safety and tips for poultry cooking

by - December 07, 2014

Not exactly the sexiest of posts, but people do get in a right tiz about cooking around Christmas especially with the turkey/goose or chicken. Crikey, even the NHS have a poultry safety checklist to save their Boxing Day A&E admissions.

Basically, don't be silly.
  • Store it sensibly and check your fridge temperature (below 5°C).
  • Defrost it completely if you've bough a frozen bird (over a couple of days for huge birds).
  • Don't let the juices drip all over the fridge (everyone on Come Dine With Me, I'm looking at you).
  • Don't wash the bird. Bacteria will be killed in cooking and you won't be spreading them all over your sink etc.
  • Thoroughly wash the kitchen sides and utensils that have been in contact with raw meat or allow raw meat/juices to come in contact with any other food that you intend to eat raw.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS (TV chefs, I'm looking at you).
  • When you cut into the thickest part of the turkey, none of the meat should be pink. Juices should run clear.
  • Eat leftovers within two days or freeze them as soon as they have cooled.
If you are unsure, then follow a good recipe and check the timings—as a guide—on the packaging if you have purchased a supermarket bird. If not your butcher will be able to advise. I like the look of Gordon Ramsey's spiced goose, Jamie Oliver's classic turkey or this Italian-style turkey crown with roast garlic & pancetta & lemon ciabatta stuffing.

If you still need reassurance that your bird is properly cooked then a temperature probe may be useful. OXO Good Grips is a seriously good brand for kit and their OXO Good Grips Digital Thermometer is no different. 

Their products are really well designed, very simple to use and robust. The temperature reading was very clear and it comes with this handy sleeve that not only protects the delicate probe itself, but has a handy temperature guide for different meats when you twist it.
As for what temperature cooked poultry should reach, insert the temperature probe in the thickest part of the bird (between the breast and the thigh) and ensure it reaches at least 70°C for two minutes.

Also, because they are nice, OXO sent me some silicone spatulas which I will be using for my festive baking (Jewelled biscotti ALWAYS make an appearance here) and these are so much better than my old ones. For one they don't have wooded handles and are very thick in the centre but very pliable on the edges. And they have a great weight to them, most are quite flimsy. I've been using them for all sorts already, not just baking as I am a bit obsessive about scratching my kitchen pans.

OXO supplied the products for review (and I do LOVE THEM!)

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