The holy time of the year is just around the corner – Ramadan! And when that realization hits us, we try our best to try and prepare our selves for this month and get the most out of the blessed days. Alas, we forget one main concern: food.
It’s not so much forgotten as being unprepared for. We remember it as the month of being deprived during the day and feasting at night. However, with all our spiritual aims and goals of maximum ibadah (worship) during Ramadan, precious hours spent in the kitchen can drain us physically and emotionally.
This is going to be our first Ramadan away from India and as a of family of four. And two little girls under four years of age. I had to plan a lot of things beforehand. I started planning for Ramadan, 3 weeks prior. And I have been meaning to do a blog post for all my Muslim mommy friends so they could make use of it.
And only yesterday, I shared a picture of my freezer on my Instagram, and from then on, I have been receiving a lot of emails and messages on how-tos, which is why I just sat down to quickly jot everything down for you to read and make the best use. :D
Thank you all for your emails and messages, I feel so loved :)
And in this post I will quickly you give heads up on how and what to stock in your freezer, before Ramadan begins.
1. Start by listing everything you need:
Sit down peacefully and think of what fruits and vegetables you will need very often, those that go in pretty much every dish. For example onions and celery. Put these on the top, so you don’t forget them later.
Next think of the vegetables that you want to stock on and if you have kids, see what they like and quickly make a note of them.
If you have decided to freeze them, then you will need freezer bags or vacuum sealing bags, if you can find them. I used regular zip-lock bags and a straw to draw out the air from the bags, works just fine.
You will also need a clean towel or tissue papers to pat dry the veggies before freezing (depends on the type of vegetable).
2. Pick fresh fruits & vegetables:
Start by selecting the most freshest of the fruits and vegetables, you can find at the grocery store. If possible head to the farmer’s market and pick them up at the earliest ( when they are just out of the farm).
Avoid vegetables and fruits with blemish or marks. They generally won’t last you long.
If you don’t have time, ask someone close to pick them up for you, your husband or help. I couldn’t go out myself, so husband got everything for us. Yes he does better grocery shopping than I do! *sigh*
3. Start prepping the fruits & vegetables:
Freezing is a process that lets you store fruits and vegetables without losing their nutritional benefits, over time, provided they are frozen properly. Now by ‘properly’ I mean that not every vegetable can just be chopped and popped in to the freezer, that way they won’t last you over a week.
So here’s the list of things I have frozen so far and the method I followed:
Freezing onions & capsicum:
- Selected fresh and blemish-free onions.
- Peel, wash and chop them into 1/2 inch slices.
- Spread it flat on a tray and pop the tray in to the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- Once all the pieces turn into solid, divide them into meal size portions.
- Put them into the zip-lock bags, draw the air out of the bags, with straw and seal.
- Then immediately put them back into the freezer.
Freezing carrots, corn. beetroots, beans and cabbage:
- Select fresh and blemish-free vegetables.
- Clean, wash and chop them into desired sizes (preferably small).
- Heat a large pot of water and start bringing it to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, put the vegetables in it.
- Grab your watch and keep an eye on it. You don’t want to cook the vegetables.
- When the water starts boiling again, turn off the heat.
- Quickly scoop the pieces of vegetables from hot water, and put them into ice cold water to avoid the vegetables getting cooked further (with their own heat).
- Drain the water.
- Pat them dry and store in the zip-lock bags.
- Keep an eye on your watch. So you don’t boil the vegetables for more than 2 minutes. Or they will get mushy.
- Always try to keep the boiling time same as the cooling time. For example if you are boiling for 1 minute, then let then stay in ice cold water for 1 minute.
- Boiling will kill all the enzymes and cooling then down will lock the nutrients in it. That way they will remain fresh for a longer period of time.
Freezing chicken for sandwich:
- Wash and boil boneless (you can also use boned) chicken in salt and whole black pepper for 20-25 minutes until its cooked.
- Remove the chicken and let it cool a little.
- Shred it in to pieces using two forks (it’s easier that way).
- Divided into meal size portions and freeze int zip-lock bags.
I mix mayonnaise with shredded chicken. Spread it on a slice of bread. Top it off with slices of cucumbers and tomatoes for a super quick kids breakfast.
These frozen fruits and vegetables can be stored at least up to 6 months. Many people claim to be saving theirs for a year. But I can only talk from my experience, I had frozen beans in March and used the last batch only yesterday. And trust me when I say this I couldn’t find any noticeable difference, in the taste.
So these are all that I have frozen so far. I also plan on freeze a bunch of fruits soon. Let me know how you are prepping for Ramadan this year. I would love to hear it for you. Also please leave a comment down below and tell me if you found these tips useful for Ramadan :)