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Defrosting times (for frozen birds) and the cooking times for fresh or defrosted birds can vary according to weight. It isn’t safe to take shortcuts if you want to avoid food poisoning. If there aren't any defrosting instructions, use the following times to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey, but remember to check that it's fully thawed before cooking.
When your turkey is fully defrosted, put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. If this isn't possible make sure you cook it immediately.
First, check if you have any instructions if you have a pre-packed turkey. Often, defrosting and cooking times are stated on the packaging. The following cooking guidelines are only estimates and will vary according to the type of oven that you have. You may want to check the oven instructions, if you still have them! If you don't, as a general guide, in an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4):
Always check that the bird is properly cooked before serving, because eating undercooked turkey (or other poultry) could cause food poisoning. These are the three main ways to tell if poultry is cooked:
the meat should be steaming hot all the way through
when you cut into the thickest part of the meat, none of the meat should be pink
if juices run out when you pierce the turkey, or when you press the thigh, they should be clear
Cool any leftovers as quickly as possible (taking no longer than 1 ½ hours) and then store in the fridge or freezer in clean containers. It's a good idea to break down leftover food into smaller portions.
Eat leftovers within two days or freeze them. When reheating leftovers do so until steaming hot throughout to destroy any food poisoning bugs. Only reheat food once, making sure it is very hot all the way through. Chilled leftovers may be eaten cold if they have been stored correctly.
Use a dishwasher if you have one available to use - they're normally a good hygienic way of washing dishes. If you don't have a dishwasher, use hot soapy water and allow the dishes to dry naturally (if you have the space) will help to kill any harmful bacteria.
If you unfortunately suffer from food poisoning after your event, or after eating out, contact us for advice.