Keep the Celebration going without Incident
Hello there, Ted Sturgeon here with a bit of a look at Christmas through the Health and Safety goggles.
Christmas is a time for fun and celebration, however a few precautions in the right places may help to keep the celebration going without incident for you and your loved ones.
So, in no particular order
Turkeys. Don’t eat a raw turkey!
- It’s not very nice.
- It may give you a bit of a tummy ache.
All joking aside, if not stored, prepared, cooked and stored properly (did I say stored twice?) turkeys and other poultry can cause you problems.
Raw Turkey Storage
A 6-7kg frozen turkey can take up to 4 days to defrost in a fridge, so make sure it has plenty of time to defrost completely before it even thinks about hitting the oven.
As with all raw meats, this should be placed in the fridge, on the bottom shelf, on a tray deep enough to catch all the liquid that is going to appear upon defrosting.
The use of the bottom shelf helps avoid cross contamination of bacteria between foodstuffs, as we don’t want the liquids from defrosting or raw meats dripping down onto cooked meats and other Christmas fare.
Preparing your Bird
Clean, clean, clean everything. From hands to work surfaces. Again, what we are trying to avoid is cross contamination from bacteria.
Preferably different utensils (chopping boards, knives, etc.) should be used for raw meats and ‘ready to eat’ food. If not, they should certainly be cleaned well before using them on ‘ready to eat’ foods after being used on raw meats.
But, don’t wash your turkey! This will inevitably splash bacteria laden water onto your skin, clothes, utensils, work surfaces (that you have just carefully cleaned) and other foodstuffs. A thorough cooking will kill any bacteria that is on your turkey.
Cooking your Turkey
If there are no cooking instructions with your turkey, here’s a general guide to cooking times, in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4).
- Allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes for a turkey under 4.5kg.
- Allow 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that’s between 4.5kg and 6.5kg.
- Allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey weighing more than 6.5kg.
During cooking, cover your turkey with tin foil, basting it every hour or so to stop the meat drying out. For the last half hour remove the tin foil to brown the skin (mmmmmm).
Make sure your Turkey is Cooked Properly
Making sure your turkey is cooked properly is an essential. So here’s a final checklist of things you require from your perfectly cooked bird.
- The meat is steaming hot throughout.
- There is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part.
- Meat juices run clear.
Back to storage (so I did mention it twice). After enjoying your Christmas dinner you’ll probably want to sit back for an hour and take a bit of a nap while the Queen addresses the commonwealth.
This should give your turkey remains a decent amount of time to cool down. Once the turkey has cooled (about 1-2 hours at room temperature) it can be covered and stored in the fridge. This is now considered ‘ready to eat’ food, so goes on the top shelf of the fridge. Raw meats on the bottom, cooked meats higher up, you get the idea.
Leftovers should be eaten or frozen within 2 days.
So, there’s your turkey done! Bring on the roasties and sprouts!
We all know that Christmas is a time for merriment, and what better to ring in the cheer than a mug of mulled wine or a drop of egg nog.
We all know about the dangers of overdoing alcohol, so I’m not going to mention (even though I am) hangovers, everyone likes a hangover! The waking up to “oh no, what did I do” feeling, because everyone loves that. Waking up covered in something you don’t remember eating…. Joy!
Or worse, waking up in hospital, for instance, on Christmas day can’t be much fun. Especially when that turkey is going to take so long to prepare.
I think my main point about alcohol is driving. Don’ drink and drive guys. It could not only lose you your driving licence, but it could ruin Christmas for you and others for all the years to come.
Many people are killed each year due to drunk drivers. Imagine doing that at Christmas, after a great night out, hitting someone’s parents! The children of those parents don’t have parents for Christmas, this year, next year or ever again. If you hit a child, there are no more Christmasses, but the parents will have a harsh reminder every time they hear Noddy Holder from Slade scream ‘Its Chriiiistmaaaas’ on the radio.
Sorry if that seems harsh, but unfortunately it’s the way it is.
Ok, I’m done on alcohol. Have fun, but make sure everyone else has fun for years to come. Cheers Y’all.
I think my last point of the blog is electricity.
Firstly, don’t forget to buy batteries for all battery powered Christmas pressies, it can sometimes be difficult to get them on Christmas day and no one wants to wait to play with this years ‘must have’ tech toy.
Additionally, checking plugs and wires before use can save you a headache, while there are a lot of lower voltage LED lights that are considerably safer than the incandescent bulb type.
You’ve probably read about how a Christmas mouse has nibbled through the cables of fairy lights, causing them to burst into flames, as they are tied around a tree with presents wrapped in paper underneath. Fires, except in the hearth (and heart LOL) are probably not so welcome visitors at Christmas.
I know it’s not strictly related to electricity, but it’s a nice lead into ‘fire’.
Candles and open flames are usually a bit of a theme at Christmas. There are artificial candles, etc. which would be perfect to create the effect in houses with children running about. But for those of you who want the authentic candle experience, keep an eye on them, especially when they have burned down a little. Never leave them unattended, nipping to the loo is probably ok providing they’re stable, but leaving them lit when you go down to the pub on Christmas Eve could be that recipe for disaster.
Imagine getting back from the pub and your house is gone in a smouldering pile, on Christmas Eve of all days… At least you wouldn’t have to worry about the turkey not being done… Seriously though, don’t chance it.
So, make sure all candles are extinguished safely when you are not about or before you hang your stocking on the mantle and head off to bed.
So guys, on that note I’m going to sign off. May I wish you the happiest and safest Christmas ever and a fantastic new year!
All the Best!