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With the holiday season approaching, millions of families around the world are looking forward to a special meal shared with friends, family and loved ones. Here is a selection of dishes from around the world to inspire you to try new organic holiday meals – made with organic ingredients of course!

1. Organic Roast Turkey (UK/USA)

In the USA, UK and many other countries, Roast Turkey is synonymous with the holiday season. Although turkey can be delicious, it can also dry out easily while roasting in the oven, so it is essential to baste it repeatedly to ensure the meat stays succulent and moist.

Increasing demand means it is now easier than ever to find organic turkey at markets and stores. Organic turkeys are fed organic feed and aren’t pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics. Antimicrobial drug resistance is becoming increasingly more common around the world, and the WHO cites “inappropriate and irrational use of medicines, including in animal husbandry” as one of the underlying factors that drive antimicrobial resistance.

Although the turkey is the center of the meal, for many people the side dishes are what make it truly special. There are lots to choose from: cranberry sauce, stuffing, pigs in blankets, and of course plenty of vegetables – including brussels sprouts. Although many people claim to hate sprouts, we think they’re delicious.  Try this tasty recipe to help brussels sprouts shed their undeserved reputation!

2. Tamales (Latin America)

Tamales are parcels of seasoned meat and dough steamed or baked in corn husks or banana leaves. The trick to a really good tamale lies in the masa (or dough): it should be light and slightly crumbly – but not too crumbly!

They originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. Thousands of years later, they are as popular as ever, thanks to their great taste and versatility. The most popular fillings are pork, beef or chicken, but you can also get creative – and experiment with different amounts of chilies to add some spice!

Making tamales is labor-intensive, so they are the perfect choice for a special occasion – and everyone can get involved in preparing them together. Of course, the more helping hands you have, the more tamales you can make!

Corn is one of the most common Genetically Modified crops in the world – 88% of corn grown in the USA is GMO. It is also commonly sprayed with toxins, including glyphosate. In 2017 a Mexican research team found traces of glyphosate in nearly one-third of corn products they tested.

3. Ghapama (Armenia)

Ghapama (Armenian: ղափամա) is a dish made of pumpkin stuffed with rice, nuts and dried fruits. In Armenia, it is often prepared during the Christmas season.

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There is even a popular song about Ghapama – surely a sign that it is worth trying!

To make it, you need to hollow out the center of the pumpkin, removing the soft, stringy center. Once you have done this, fill the hole with boiled rice and dried fruits such as chopped almonds, apple, cornel, apricot, plums, dates, prunes, and raisins. You can also add honey, ground cinnamon or sugar to make a sweeter Ghapama.

The pumpkin is then baked until it becomes soft, then brought to the table where it is cut up and served.

Organic agriculture is part of Armenia’s sustainable development concept and is a priority area in the government’s agro-food policy. The EU’s Organic Agriculture Support Initiative project seeks to support the development of the organic sector in Armenia.

4. Cranberry and Pecan Stuffed Baked Apples (China)

Though Christmas is not a public holiday in mainland China, it’s becoming increasingly popular among young people. It is particularly popular to give people apples on Christmas Eve, and many stores sell apples wrapped in colorful paper and ribbons.

Where did this idea come from? The word for Christmas Eve in Chinese, ‘Ping An Ye’ sounds very similar to the Chinese word for apple, ‘Ping Guo’ and thanks to this word-play, a new tradition has been born!

Apples taste great no matter how you eat them, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, try Cranberry and Pecan Stuffed Baked Apples recipe.

There’s a good reason to choose organic apples, as apples were Number 4 in this year’s Dirty Dozen list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue load. 90% of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residues.

5. Doro Wat (Ethiopia)

In Ethiopia, most people follow the ancient Julian calendar and celebrate Christmas – traditionally known as Ganna – on January 7. Many people take part in a special Advent fast (Tsome Nebiyat) for 43 days before Christmas. During this time, people don’t eat foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, and wine.

This means that by January 7, everyone is looking forward to a feast which typically includes stew, vegetables, and sourdough bread. Doro Wat is a chicken stew and one of the most popular dishes in Ethiopia. It is thick, spicy and warming, which makes it the perfect dish for a celebration.

For the best experience, eat your wat on a plate of injera (a type of flatbread), using it to scoop up the stew.

Here at IFOAM – Organics International we would like to extend our holiday wishes to all of our readers, members and allies across the world.

Christmas and New Year festive season is approaching. Get inspired & try a selection of organic holiday meals to share with your friends, family and loved ones!

Let’s make 2019 even more ORGANIC!