Dairy-free Milk & Food Co-ops

dairy-free milk

When I first decided to give veganism a try, I can’t say that the thought of dairy-free milk filled me with excitement. I already new that I wasn’t a massive fan of soya milk and that if I wanted to turn my back on cheap, exploitative dairy milk then I would have to pay the price financially. However, I did know that I would be gaining a whole lot of nutritional benefits from replacing dairy milk with low fat, nutrient-rich plant based milks, so its not all bad.

Looking for a reasonably priced alternative to soya milk, I gave rice milk a try. It didn’t really go down well, I struggled to find a non-sweetened version and on the whole found it rather watery. Then I found Provamel which is an organic brand of dairy alternatives and I was pretty happy. Their soya milk is pretty tasty, reasonably priced and organic!

But then… I read an awesome article in Chickpea magazine by Heather Crosby that opened my eyes to the exciting world of homemade non-dairy milks!

milk alternatives

Oh yes, it turns out you can make milk out of pretty much anything. Almonds of course but also, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown rice, buckwheat, oats, millet, quinoa. You name it, you can milk it!

The only trouble was, organic whole foods come with a hefty price tag. At the majority of health food shops 500g of organic almonds can set you back as much as £7.00 so you can understand why I didn’t rush out and stock up my cupboards.

But then… I found out about food co-ops and I did rush out to my nearest one and stock up my cupboards!

sesame seeds

Food co-ops are formed by a group of people who come together and order food in bulk, directly from suppliers. As a group they have the ability to buy at trade prices, meaning people can buy high quality food at a more affordable price.

There are several different ways to set up a food co-op. Small food co-ops or buying groups work by collecting together everyone’s orders in advance. Luckily for me, I already have a local food co-op, FareShares, that has been established since 1988. They operate more like a business in that they order the produce from suppliers and then sell it to their customers, the difference being, the staff are volunteers and they only a add a very small margin to help cover the running costs of the shop.

They are an absolutely brilliant way to shop and I would definitely recommend you look to see if you have one locally or get together with some friends and set one up of your own! The food co-op system promotes social justice, enabling everyone to access high quality food, regardless of their means. You can find out more about food co-ops here.

sesame seeds

So, once you’ve stocked up on your reasonably priced organic whole foods from your local food co-op, all you have to do is decide which milk you’re going to make first!

I’ve been trying out lots of different ones and today, decided to try out a sesame seed milk to share with you. I would definitely recommend referring to Heather Crosby’s article as your definitive guide but the basics are really pretty simple.

Soak or toast your chosen ingredient, blend together with filtered water, strain through some muslin and pour into a bottle. Then make something with your left over pulp. You could add it to homemade cereal bars or like I did, follow Heather’s advice and make your own cereal.

Sesame seed milk

Makes 1 litre

150g organic, raw sesame seeds
1 litre of filtered water
Water for soaking

Measure out the seeds into a glass bowl or jug, pour over enough water to cover them and leave them to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Rinse the soaked seeds in fresh water through a sieve.
In a blender, on its highest setting blend the filtered water with the seeds until as smooth as you can get it.
Place a sieve over a large jug and lay over a piece of muslin.
Slowly pour in the blended milk, gather together the muslin and squeeze, twisting from the top. You will need to repeat this several times until you’ve strained all the milk.
You should end up with a fairly dry pulp and a deliciously creamy milk.

what you need to make nut milk

how to make nut milk

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Amy x

0 Comments

  1. Hiya I just found your website this evening, via Instagram, and am so excited to have discovered Fare shares food coop through your post! I am moving to South London in July with my partner and it will be brilliant having a cheap, good quality and sustainable/socially and environmentally responsible place to buy food near by. Thank you for posting about it and bringing it to my attention! Great blog too by the way and I love your chickens

    • Hi Alice! So happy to help -envious that you’ll be close by but it’s totally worth the cycle down there for me : ) Thanks so much for your comments!! Amy x

    • Hi Rebecca! Thanks! Homemade almond milk is the best! I’ve made it with regular raw almonds but apparently using blanched almonds makes it tastes even nicer. Let me know which you try!! Amy x

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