Research commissioned by Safefood as part of its annual food safety campaign shows that more than four in 10 (42%) of home cooks say that the cost of food is their top concern when cooking Christmas dinner this year.

Research also shows that while more than half (52%) are cooking a full turkey for Christmas dinner, one in three (33%) are opting for a turkey crown. This is a significant increase on last year’s research where one in 10 (10%) opted for a crown.

Director of food safety at Safefood Trish Twohig said: “Our research shows more people are opting for turkey crowns this year, which would suggest people are changing their choice of Christmas turkey with an eye on food costs.

"Whatever kind of turkey you cook this year, using a meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of knowing when it’s safely cooked.”

Trish has also said that if you don’t own a meat thermometer, you can use a skewer.

“To check your turkey is safely cooked, pierce the thickest part with a clean skewer or fork and check that it is piping hot, with no pink meat left and the juices run clear.

“At Safefood, we know that cooking Christmas dinner can be stressful for some, so we’ve created a dedicated section on our website.

"It’s stuffed with lots of practical help like our interactive turkey cooking time calculator for all turkey types, a Christmas dinner food planner to help with meal planning and lots of delicious recipes to make the most of any leftovers.”

Safefood’s top Christmas cooking tips

Safefood has also given its top tips on creating the perfect Christmas dinner.

The first tip is to get your fridge ready ahead of the festivities by giving it a good clean with warm soapy water and rearrange the shelves to make space for your turkey.

Ensuring you give enough time to defrost your turkey is extremely important. Safefood recommends 24 hours for every 5lb or 1.8kg of frozen turkey.

It says you will know it’s completely thawed when the body is soft, the legs can be moved and there are no ice crystals in the cavity.

Safefood also says not to wash your turkey, as this can spread harmful bacteria into your sink and kitchen surfaces and that proper cooking will kill any bacteria.

When cooking your turkey, Safefood has a cooking time calculator on its website.

Finally, Safefood is urging people to always cover their leftovers, place them in a fridge within two hours of cooking and eat them within three days.

For more information on preparing, cooking and food planning visit

Read more

Meet The Maker: Kilkenny-based jewellery designer Siadbh Duffy

Editorial: the Evolving Family Unit