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Saving food during Ramadan
May 13, 2018, 11:46 am

Reducing food loss and waste is a moral and social obligation on everyone at all times. However, this takes on added significance during the holy month of Ramadan when we need to be even more aware of the millions of poor people around the world who do not have enough to eat. Not wasting food is also essential to ensuring global food security and decreasing the environmental footprint of food systems.

Do your part and start right now, reduce the amount of food you waste during this month and beyond with the following tips.

Freeze food: The freezer is your best friend when it comes to reducing food waste. It can be used to freeze leftovers, including those piles of rice you ended up with last Iftar, which are always handy to have on hand for days when there is no time to cook. However, the freezer is also a perfect solution for foods that expire quickly such as meat, chicken and fish. It is even possible to freeze grated cheese, eggs (separate the white and yolks), chopped up vegetables and fruits, or milk and yogurt.

Store food correctly: Do you keep your vegetables in the fridge or outside and what about the fruits? How do you store bread? It is important to know the answer to these and other questions about food storage to ensure a long shelf life. Did you know, for instance, that vegetables, except for onions, garlic and potatoes, are best kept in the fridge and that bananas should be kept outside the fridge but away from other fruits, as they make other fruits ripen faster? Inform yourself about food storage to reduce waste.

Use old products wisely: Have those mangoes, despite your careful storage, gone wrinkly? Are your carrots soft and limp? Do not throw them away! Instead, use ripe fruits for smoothies and old vegetables for soup, sauce, or pizza. Revive your carrots and celery by placing them in a glass of water in the fridge. Use sprouted potatoes by simply cutting off the sprouts before use. Freeze milk, yogurt, and fresh cheese until a later date, or add dairy approaching their expiry date to your smoothie.

Share food with neighbors: Since Ramadan is about helping those around you and especially the less fortunate, if you prepare too much food for Iftar or Suhoor every day, why not share your meal with the janitor or driver? Or give your neighbor some of that mouthwatering cake you made for your family? Of course if everyone starts giving each other meals and we do not decrease the amount of food we buy, we still do not diminish waste, but sharing some food is a great way to live the spirit of Ramadan.

Organize a leftover Iftar or Suhoor: If your family is like most, chances are you cook Iftar every single day, while leftovers are piling up in the fridge. One way to finish them up is by having a leftover Iftar and Sahoor every few days. This will save you time, money, effort, and food waste. Thanks to the internet, it is not difficult to find out what to do with leftover items in the fridge. In no time you will find delicious ideas for anything in your fridge approaching its “Use By” date. And if you cannot find anything, you can always freeze products until an idea comes up.

Make a shopping list: While you cannot avoid shopping while hungry during the day in Ramadan and end up with tons of purchases you did not need or want to buy, buying your groceries without a list may have the same effect. Next time, check your pantry and fridge before heading to the store and write down the stuff you need to buy. Also, plan what you would like to cook throughout the week and limit yourself to buying the things you need for these meals.

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