Top tips for the perfect turkey this Christmas

Mark Bellfield from Blackpool and the Fylde College

Fylde coast NHS leaders have teamed up with Blackpool and the Fylde College to provide a turkey recipe that will keep your family happy and well this Christmas.

Overcooking your Christmas turkey so that it is dry or burned can make it a festive feast to forget, but an underdone bird will mean your day lives long in the memory for all the wrong reasons.

So the local NHS contacted Blackpool and the Fylde College’s catering and food production course leaders – who are also responsible for the Level Six restaurant at the Bispham-based college – to get some top tips for the perfect turkey.

Speaking on behalf of NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups as well as Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Thornton GP Dr Tony Naughton said: “Nobody wants to spend any of the Christmas period with food poisoning, so I recommend everyone follows these simple steps.

“If you do find yourself feeling poorly because you have eaten something bad this Christmas, please get lots of rest and drink plenty of water. Most of the time these symptoms will pass on their own so there is no need to see your local doctor or go to the hospital.

“Only if symptoms are severe or persist for several days should you seek advice, initially from a pharmacy or by calling 111.”

Mark Belfield, lecturer in hospitality, tourism and sport at the college, said: “Timing is everything when it comes to cooking a full turkey in the oven. You don’t want to leave it in too long as it can be very dry, but undercook it and you risk making everybody ill.

“The key is to know what the weight of your bird is and follow these guidelines to ensure you have a tasty turkey for your dinner.”

  • If the bird is fewer than 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg plus 70 minutes. If the bird is more than 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes.
  • Cook in a conventional oven at 190°C or gas mark five. Cover loosely with foil and remove the foil for the last 40 minutes for browning.
  • To ensure your turkey is completely cooked, insert a clean skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. Leave for at least a minute and if the juices run clear the turkey is cooked. If they run pinkish return the turkey to the oven and cook for a little longer.
  • Alternatively, test with a temperature probe, which must be 72 degrees Celsius or above in the thickest part of the breast for two mins.
  • Allow the turkey to stand, covered loosely with foil, for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Mr Belfield added: “If you have any leftovers, make sure you get them in the fridge as quickly as possible and use them within 48 hours.

“If serving cold, don’t leave it out all day. Just use what you need and store the rest in the fridge. And if you are reheating it, make sure it is steaming hot throughout and only reheat it once.”


 Notes to editors:

  • Think! Why A&E? is a joint campaign between NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, NHS Blackpool CCG and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Self care – Minor illnesses, ailments and injuries can be treated at home. Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.
  • Pharmacy – Pharmacists offer a range of health services. As well as dispensing prescriptions and other medicines, your pharmacy can provide free confidential expert advice and treatment for a variety of common illnesses and complaints, without having to book a GP appointment. You can find your nearest pharmacy by visiting the ‘services near you’ section of
  • NHS 111 – This is a free telephone service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should call 111 if you urgently need medical help or information, but your situation is not life-threatening. When you dial 111, you will be directed to the best local services to make sure you get fast and effective treatment.
  • Walk-in or same day centres – These centres provide consultations, guidance and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, as well as emergency contraception and sexual health advice. There are two centres on the Fylde coast, (locations can be found at both operating seven days a week from 8am onwards.
  • GP surgery – If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, and when absolutely essential, can make home visits. If you need to see a GP outside of the surgery’s normal opening hours, telephone the surgery and your call will be forwarded to the GP out-of-hours service.




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