Christmas advice for festive home cooks
safefood aims to take the stress out of cooking Christmas dinner by encouraging festive chefs to use a meat thermometer
Almost 4 in 10 festive home cooks in Northern Ireland are agonising about getting Christmas dinner right this year
Tuesday 6th December 2022: Almost 4 in 10 festive home cooks in Northern Ireland are agonising about getting Christmas dinner right this year, new safefood research has revealed.
The poll of over 500 adults across Northern Ireland has found that over half of local people (55%) admit that the cost of food is their biggest concern as they get ready to prepare the most anticipated meal of the year.
Other Christmas dinner concerns highlighted by respondents was making sure they get all the food to the table while it’s still hot (21%), overcooking the turkey and serving it dry (9%) or undercooking the turkey and not being sure if it’s safe to eat (4%).
The research has also revealed that many households will be reducing the size of the Christmas turkey they buy this year, with over a quarter (26%) opting to buy a smaller turkey or switching to a turkey crown in a bid to reduce excess leftovers.
4% of households also stated that they wouldn’t be buying a turkey this year despite it being their usual centrepiece of the Christmas Day dining table.
The research was commissioned by safefood as part of the all-island food safety body’s annual ‘Trust the Meat Thermometer’ campaign that aims to encourage festive home chefs to use a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked all the way through to 75 degrees Celsius.
Previous safefood research revealed that almost 80% of Northern Ireland’s home cooks admitted to not knowing the correct temperature their Christmas turkey must reach to be cooked safely and are putting their friends and family at risk of food poisoning.
Launching the campaign, Dr Linda Gordon, Chief Specialist in Food Science, safefood said, “This year we know that the focus on cost is a big feature of many people’s Christmas and so getting dinner right is more important than ever. With almost 80% of homes cooking a turkey this year we want to support those home cooks to get it just right.
“My main recommendation is to use a meat thermometer. They are affordable, easy to use, and add that extra layer of reassurance when making sure that foods like turkey is safely cooked. Whatever cooking method, timings or recipes used; you will know the turkey will be ready to eat when you take it out of the oven and pop the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat between the breast and leg and it reaches 75 degrees Celsius.”
“For lots of helpful tips including food safety advice, a cooking time calculator for your turkey and tasty leftover recipes, visit www.safefood.net/christmas December is the busiest month of the year on our website and last year, we had more than 80,000 people visit our site just between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for practical advice.”
safefood has teamed up with Radio Presenter, Jordan Humphries and local Head Chef, Ben Arnold to launch their ‘Trust the Meat Thermometer’ Christmas food safety campaign to help take the stress out of cooking Christmas dinner and ensure that everyone has a safe and tasty Christmas.
Jordan and Ben say: “The rising cost of food has left many households across Northern Ireland worrying about getting Christmas dinner right this year, and we’ve teamed up with safefood to ensure local festive cooks prepare a perfectly roasted turkey for a stress-free Christmas dinner with family and friends.
“We will be taking to social media to give our fun and lighthearted take on cooking Christmas dinner this year that reminds people to cook their Christmas turkey all the way through to 75 degrees Celsius.
“We are encouraging anyone cooking Christmas dinner this year to buy a meat thermometer as it will take the guess work out of cooking your Christmas turkey. It will help you avoid serving up food that isn’t cooked properly and making Christmas unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.
“They are affordable, easy to use, and are the fail-safe way of making sure your meat is cooked. Just pop it into the thickest part of the turkey between the leg and the breast; and when it reaches 75 degrees Celsius, then your turkey is safely cooked and ready to enjoy.”
The safefood ‘Trust the Meat Thermometer’ campaign is being supported by the Elite Butchers of Northern Ireland who will be distributing free leaflets and retailing meat thermometers in 14 shops across Northern Ireland in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
You can find everything you need to help you cook safely this Christmas at www.safefood.net/christmas or follow safefood on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram #AsafefoodChristmas.
safefood’s Top Tips for Cooking the Perfect Christmas Dinner
- Get your fridge festive ready - Ahead of the festive rush give your fridge a good clean with warm soapy water and re-arrange the shelves to make space for your turkey.
- How much turkey do you need? Don’t buy too big a turkey. Think about how many people you’re cooking for (children eat less than adults) and whether you want any leftovers.
- Give yourself enough time to defrost – If your turkey is frozen, give yourself enough time to defrost it prior to cooking and defrost it on a dish or tray on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds/1.8-2.2kg of frozen turkey. You’ll know it’s completely thawed when the body is soft, the legs can be moved and there are no ice crystals in the cavity.
- Don’t wash your turkey - Do not wash your turkey as this can spread harmful bacteria to your sink and kitchen surfaces - proper cooking will kill any bacteria.
- How long to cook your turkey? Don’t leave your turkey cooking time to chance! It’s important to cook raw poultry and meat until piping hot, with no pink meat and the juices run clear. Using a meat thermometer adds that extra level of reassurance - just pop the thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey between the leg and the breast; when it reaches 75 degrees Celsius, then it’s safely cooked and ready to enjoy.
- Using your leftovers - Always cover any leftovers and place in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Ensure any meat is cooled as quickly as possible – cutting it into pieces will help with this. Once in the fridge, any leftovers should be eaten within three days. When re-heating food, ensure it is piping hot all the way throughout and only re-heated once. Check out www.safefood.net for some inspiration on leftover recipes.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Mob: 077 8828 8901
Email: [email protected]
Mob: +353 86 381 1034
Email: [email protected]