Go Small – Low-Waste Ideas to Celebrate the Festival of Diwali

Maple and Marigold
Watch: CHCH Morning Live – Low-Waste Inspo to Celebrate the Festival of Diwali

There is a notion about Diwali that’s big lights, new clothes, big gatherings, delicious food and fireworks in the sky, and all of that is true. But this year, in this time, may I suggest we prioritize the planet and go small, and green, and choose low-waste.

Reuse, recycle, re-purpose, upcycle all of these words that have the same meaning – use what we have and make it shine to truly represent the spirit of this festival of lights. There is a profound reason why Diwali falls on the darkest night of the year – after all it’s the celebration that shines a bright light into every dark corner of our home and life.

Going green for this festival celebrates two of the core tenets of this season:

1. Supporting one’s community; a concept of Seva that translates to selfless service. I wrote about this last year on Maple and Marigold. Read the article here.

2. Family and loved ones; people often show their affection this season by exchanging sweets and gifts. During this TV appearance I shared 3 easy-to-make examples of homemade Indian sweets that one can make that will please even those who are not familiar with Indian flavours and ingredients.

Candied Pecans

Make a big batch at the beginning of the season and they stay at room temp for weeks. Swap out with pumpkin seeds if you are looking for a more economical option.

Get the Candied Pecans recipe

Toasted Coconut Burfi

This all-pantry traditional Indian sweet has a fudge-like texture. It really sparkles holiday flavour with coconut flakes blended together with pecans and my homemade dulce the leche, chill and cut into diamond shapes.

Make this sweet vegan by swapping out the dulce de leche with equal quantities of coconut cream instead. (This recipe is one of the stars in my 2021 edition of How to Shop Your Pantry).

Get the Toasted Coconut Burfi recipe

Apple Peda

This is a rustic sweet named after its shape — peda — that translates into homely and lumpy. Odd name for a festive sweet dish, right? But when you see how the caramelized slow-cooked apples, Indian paneer (fresh soft cheese) and sugar come together in this DELICIOUS brown peda — you’ll see what the fuss is all about.

I often swap out apples with pumpkin, add in almonds, cardamom and saffron, cook it a tad more to dry the liquid. Not only does this dish taste like a celebration in your mouth but your home will also smell like Diwali.

Get the Apple Peda recipe

Buy Nothing Sell Nothing

In the TV segment you will spot a table cloth, plates and bowls — all “thrifted” or swapped in my local “Buy Nothing Sell Nothing” Facebook group. It’s a community started by a few neighbours where we gift items in great condition that are not needed any more and pass them on to each other. Like the idea? Start a group in your community. This is concept is called “freecycling” and is the first step to a circular economy. And the bowls? They will be gifted on to friends this year, filled with delicious homemade Diwali sweets of course.

Happy Diwali!
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma<br/><small>Photo by Tanvi Madkaiker</small>
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Tanvi Madkaiker

About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

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Use what you have, reuse what you can, reduce what you throw away, and repurpose the rest.

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