Your Christmas related water questions answered!
Christmas is almost here, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s a time of joy and happiness, but also a time of hard work and preparation, particularly when it comes to getting organised for the most epic dinner of the year.
Whether you’re cooking Christmas dinner for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, ensuring the turkey and all the trimmings are just perfect is important. Water plays a vital role in the preparation of Christmas dinner and as a result, there are many Christmas related water queries that need to be answered. Here, we answer the most common so you can have a very merry, hitch-free Christmas.
Should I wash the turkey first?
The turkey will no doubt be the star of the show at your Christmas dinner. But once you’ve picked the perfect bird to be your centrepiece, how do you prepare it?
44% of people in the UK rinse their turkey before putting it in the oven, but preparing your turkey doesn’t mean washing it. Washing or rinsing raw turkey in the sink can cause a spread of bacteria and put all your dinner guests at risk of contracting a foodborne illness.
Bacteria can spread up to 3 feet from your sink when washing turkey. There is in fact no need to wash or rinse your turkey before cooking. Being cooked in a hot oven is enough to kill any bacteria.
Should I use cold or hot water to boil potatoes or vegetables?
Next comes your spuds and veggies, which present another water related dilemma. Most people will boil their potatoes and vegetables, and whether you start cooking them in cold or hot water comes down to the vegetable.
A simple rule of thumb is that vegetables that grow above the ground should be placed in hot water for cooking. This includes seasonal favourites like cabbages, peas, and green beans. Potatoes and root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips, however require different treatment. Here, Steven Satterfield at Garnish & Gather explains more:
“Root vegetables are very dense, so if you drop them into boiling water, they will cook on the outside but be raw in the middle, or when they are desired texture in the middle, they will be mushy on the outside. Starting them in cold water brings the temp up slowly and evenly all the way through so that they cook perfectly inside and out.”
Tougher vegetables, like potatoes and root vegetables, are more hardy and resistant to overcooking. Greens and other vegetables that grow above ground are more delicate, with cooking taking considerably less time.
Should I wash vegetables before cooking?
Leaving the soil on organic or home-grown vegetables has become something of a trend in recent years. Soil can indeed contain the good bacteria that boosts our immunity but it can also contain contaminants. While home-grown vegetables can be deemed completely free from pesticides, growth hormones and other contaminants, shop bought produce carries no such assurances.
Vegetables can become contaminated at any stage, not just when they live and grow in the ground. From picking and preparation to storage and transit, fruits and vegetables can come into contact with bacteria long before they make it onto supermarket shelves. To ensure risk is kept to a minimum, you should wash vegetables thoroughly before cutting and cooking.
Is water the best Christmas hangover cure?
Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without a cheeky tipple, but dealing with the headache come Boxing Day is one thing many of us dread. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a hangover, other than not drinking so much in the first place. Water can however provide the perfect pick-me-up to ease symptoms.
Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body. Restoring lost fluids is therefore essential when enjoying your favourite alcoholic drink. Drinking water throughout the day and night as you consume alcohol, slows the rate of alcohol absorption, meaning you’re less likely to feel as terrible the next day. Drinking lots of water before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up is also recommended for replacing lost fluids fast.
Looking ahead to the New Year?
Continuing your water drinking mission could just help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions. Many people want to lose weight and be healthier come the New Year, and drinking more water can help you to do both. Read more about how water can help you prevent winter weight gain.