THE DAIRY FREE SECTOR IS BOOMING (YAY).
BUT FINDING PLASTIC-FREE PRODUCTS IS STILL HARD.
There are a few options. But my big learning is that it’s better to just make your own. The recipes are easy and the ingredients are things you can usually pick up loose from bulk-stores. If you’re keen to take baby steps towards zero-waste, this is a good place to start.
M*lk-man PLANT ‘MILKS’
Mlk Man plant milks are delicious. At 12%, they have a higher nut content than anything else store bought. And they are fresh, not long-life. They make all the usual suspects - nuts, coconut & oat (the weak link in my opinion because it’s too thin to make a decent coffee). Plus chocolate, turmeric, matcha, sweet chai….you get the picture.
Best of all, sustainability is at the heart of the business. Totally plastic-free - it’s sold in two sizes of glass bottles, which they collect and re-use.
I’m afraid getting it might be a bit London-centric. If you can get deliveries from Farmdrop, you’ll find it there. Or from selected actual shops. You can now order direct, but I can’t vouch for a refrigerated courier delivery being plastic free.
homemade NUT mylks
I really really want you to try this!
If you have a Nutri-bullet, or other powerful-ish blender, it’s a total doddle.
Soak the nuts overnight. Rinse. Blend with fresh water, a pinch of sea-salt and a date (optional). Strain through a muslin cloth, nut-bag or old tee-shirt. For small amounts, use a coffee plunger. Bosh! It’s nuts (sorry) how easy it is. To avoid waste, se the leftover nut pulp in all kinds of recipes.
I’ve found oat milk is trickier - it needs to be strained through something more closed-weave than muslin, and it has a tendency to go a bit gluey. I’ve tried countless times and it’s always slimy. If anyone knows what I’m doing wrong, I’d love to know?
If this sounds like a bold suggestion, bear with me. Dairy free cheese is really easy to make. It’s typically made from nuts and something to turn it sour, or cultures to initiate fermentation.
The easiest of all is a parmesan alternative, and you don’t need to worry about any of the aging stuff. It’s just three ingredients, all of which can be picked up in bulk stores. Just blitz cashew nuts, nutritional yeast (AKA ‘nooch’) and sea-salt in a food-processor or bash with pestle and mortar. It’s really good.
If you’re keen to experiment, this book has loads of dairy free cheese recipes. Skip past the pages that required dehydrators and other weird equipment. There are plenty of easy ones.
If a bacon sandwich is the achilles heels of a vegetarian, cheese must be it for a vegan.
This is definitely true for me. It’s fair to say I’m loving finding all the new nut-based-cheese innovations (something I never thought I’d write).
The other one, local to my corner of SE London, is Palace Culture. But I think you’ll only track it down if you visit my ‘hood.
BUT - see above. These types of cheese - particularly the spreadable one’s - are realistic for most of us to make at home.
There’s a business opportunity here for sure. Currently La Cremerie is the ONLY dairy-free yogurt I can find that is plastic-free - and I’ve looked pretty hard.
In my opinion, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. But I’ve only tried it once, and only tried one flavour, so I might be being unfair. If I haven’t totally put you off, there are plenty of ways to get hold of a jar to try. Let me know what you think!
I’ve been trying - with v limited success - to make my own COYO. When I finally unlock next-level-hippie, I’ll report back with a recipe that actually works.
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