In Australia we always look forward to gorgeous weather to celebrate Christmas. However hot sunny days does mean we need to take more care with food so that food poisoning does not dampen our festive spirits. We are a lucky country to always have access to fresh produce for our celebrations but apart from buying fresh, there are still a few basic things to keep in mind to ensure a healthy festive season long after the big meal is over.
Cooking food to the right temperature is important and even trained chefs are not able to tell if meat is cooked properly in the centre just by looking at the outside. It is therefore essential to measure the temperature of your meat dish with a cooking thermometer. Be mindful of cleaning the thermometer each time you test the temperature. This is so that your don’t reintroduce bacteria from the raw meat back into the food with every test reading.
The recommendation for meats, such as pork and beef is to ensure the temperature in the centre reaches 145 degrees and 165 degrees for poultry. Once the meat has reached these temperatures you can be sure that the meat is cooked through properly and food poisoning causing bacteria such as e-coli or staph is killed off.
Leaving Food out after serving
Once you’ve served the christmas meal, it’s important to beware of not leaving remaining food to stand out in the heat for too long. The recommendation for cold food is a maximum of 1 hour out of the fridge and hot food should not be left in the heat for more than 2 hours.
Storage of Left overs
Left overs are great to keep for the following day, but be sure that they are correctly stored. It’s recommended to store each food type in a separate container. This also makes reheating food easier. Shallow containers are much better than deep containers as deeper containers encourage more bacteria breeding. Keeping foods near the back of the fridge where the temperature will remain more cold and constant is also better.
Whatever your plans are for the holidays, we hope you have a happy and relaxing few days and look forward to a fabulous new year.