Cleaning & Organizing
Just the way it’s important to do the heavy duty and detailed cleaning for other parts of the house , the kitchen should be cleaned thoroughly before the start of Ramadan so that the burden is lighter throughout the month. Here are some of the main areas which we need to tackle:
- Empty out the fridge and freezer. Throw out that bottle of sauce that has expired, empty out that teaspoon of ice cream in the container, wipe those spills and stains. Cleaning and organizing the fridge and freezer will also let you know what you have and what you need to stock up.
- Clean the oven and microwave . Line the bottom of the oven with heavy duty aluminium foil to catch spills.
- If you don’t have a flat top induction stove , put aluminium foil below the burners to catch food spills.
- Organize your spices and other ingredients in cabinets so that you don’t waste precious minutes while the clock is ticking for suhoor and iftar.
- Clean all those nooks and corners which you don’t do everyday, for instance behind the stove or besides the fridge.
Grocery shopping is a tedious chore ( my husband will agree first and foremost 🙂 ) and it becomes even more so during Ramadan. Here are some things we need to keep in mind when we jot down our pre-Ramadan grocery lists:
- Stock up well on non-perishable and frozen items. In this way, the weekly grocery trip shall mostly be limited to fresh produce and dairy.
- Most families have some family favorites for suhoor and iftar. Make sure to include the non-perishable ingredients for these items in your pre-Ramadan grocery list.
- Make a list of all items you are planning to freeze for Ramadan and buy ingredients for these.
- Even if you are like me in the sense that you usually prefer to make all your dishes from scratch using fresh ingredients, give yourself some permission to buy some convenient grocery items like fried onions, canned tomato paste ( for quick curries), canned chickpeas ( for quick chole, salads or chats), frozen fruits ( for smoothies ), instant dessert mixes ( for those late night cravings ), refrigerated croissant dough ( for stuffed iftar snacks). On days when you feel too drained out you will thank yourself for buying these.
- If you have young kids who won’t be fasting, keep their meals in mind. Once again, while I’m all up for feeding fresh, healthy meals to kids, I feel that during Ramadan we mothers shouldn’t feel guilty about feeding them the occasional box of Mac N’ cheese or canned pasta. Also, if you will be taking them to the masjid, buy lots of snacks which are not messy to keep them occupied ( if your masjid allows food ).
- Samosas, spring rolls , shami kababs , chicken croquettes, cutlets, meatballs / koftas can be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen. When they are hard, store in Ziploc bags. If you have more than one layer place a plastic sheet between the layers so that they don’t stick. They can be fried without thawing.
- Stuffed breads and buns such as this Braided Chicken Bread can be wrapped individually in tight cling wrap and then aluminium foil to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator, then heat in microwave . They can also be placed in the oven for a couple of minutes after warming in microwave to make them as good as freshly baked.
- Most curries freeze very well. Start making double batches for dinner and freeze half of it to use during Ramadan. Thaw in refrigerator and then give a boil on the stove.
- Freeze ginger garlic paste in ice cube trays and then store in Ziploc bags to last throughout Ramadan. Defrost as many cubes as required in the microwave everyday.
- Keep some marinated meat in the freezer . Thaw in the refrigerator and grill or fry for a quick meal. For food safety reasons it’s not recommended to refreeze thawed meat, hence it’s better to marinate fresh meat and freeze.
While we need to realize that Ramadan is a time for fasting and ibaadah ( worship ) and not lavish, gourmet meals; we should remember that we are also rewarded for whatever we do for our families, be it cooking or cleaning, if we do it with the intention of pleasing Allah SWT . Like for all other good deeds if we manage to fulfill our responsibilities of caring for the well being of our families, Insha’Allah (if Allah wills) our rewards will be multiplied during Ramadan.