Every year, families get together to celebrate the Christmas holiday and enjoy a tasty dinner. But the last thing you want is for them to take ill after that dinner because of the food you prepared. That’s why you should learn how to avoid food poisoning at Christmas dinner.
Keep Raw and Cooked Foods Separate
One way that you can inadvertently make people sick is by contaminating food that is ready to serve with bacteria from meat that is still raw. The best way to avoid this unfortunate outcome is to keep those foods separate in your kitchen. Also, you should ensure that you use separate knives and cutting boards for the raw meat and the ready-to-serve meat so that there is no cross-contamination.
Be Safe When Handling Food
Another way to avoid food poisoning at Christmas dinner is to be safe when you are handling food that you are preparing. You should not cook anything for anyone else if you don’t feel well—you don’t want to make them sick by transferring germs. But even if you do feel well, you still have precautions to take.
These safety measures include washing your hands before handling food. You should also wash your kitchen surfaces and the tools you will use to prepare dinner. Your family members will be happy that you prepared their meals with cleanliness in mind!
Do Not Wash Your Turkey
Although people usually wash the vegetables they serve, you should not wash the turkey or other poultry you may plan to put on the plate. When you wash raw poultry, you risk spreading bacteria throughout your kitchen as the water splashes off the turkey. You may have good intentions, but you will risk the possibility of increasing contamination.
Look at Expiration Dates
It’s also important to pay attention to expiration dates. Although the “best by” or “best if used by” dates can be confusing, you can still look for other indicators that suggest the food is no longer safe. These signs include mold, a rotten smell, or a taste that doesn’t agree with you. If you’re unsure, invite a friend to double-check any questionable items or simply toss anything that gives you cause for concern.
Make Sure Your Leftovers Are Safe
After your family’s big dinner, you also have the job of keeping the leftovers safe. For example, you must ensure that all the food you are saving has not been in the open for more than two hours. Otherwise, there is the potential for bacteria to contaminate it and make it unsafe. After that, you can keep the food safely in your refrigerator for three to four days.
The Christmas season is an important time for many people since they will make memories that last their entire lifetime. By preparing their meals safely, you will help them have pleasant memories of a delicious feast and time spent with family.