Updated: Apr 29
Spotlighting our meat-free mince and what makes it so sustainable.
One of the big things that our little shop has been missing is a meat-free alternative for protein in cooking. I've been looking around at the options and as with all the things we stock, I have been looking for high ethical and sustainable standards as a priority. I wanted our protein source to be shelf-stable for easy refilling, organic, plastic-free and as far as possible to be sourced sustainably.
I think I may have struck gold with this fantastic family-run business and their organic sunflower mince! What makes it so perfect for our shop is that it comes in a large paper sack, so no plastic in sight and it is made from just one ingredient - Organic Sunflower Seeds. It is naturally vegan, gluten-free and soya-free. In fact, it is free from all 14 known allergens making it ideal for people with dietary requirements.
What makes it sustainable?
Sunflower mince is energy efficient, using less water to grow than other plant-based sources of protein. Not only is it beautiful to see a field of sunflowers, but as they are farmed organically the flowers provide homes and a safe source of food for birds, bees and pollinators while they grow. The sunflower seeds are sourced exclusively from organic farms in Europe that provide fair wages and safe working conditions for all their workers, they also encourage regional production so that there is minimal transport between source and manufacture.
First, the sunflower seeds are pressed to create organic sunflower oil. The remaining nutritious protein and fiber mix is used to make the mince. The only thing left is the seed husk, which is turned into a bio-thermal fuel that is used to heat houses in the surrounding area. The Sunflower Family use the whole sunflower seed, extracting as much useful resources from it as possible.
The resulting dry and shelf-stable mince is packaged in recycled/recyclable paper sacks, which are printed with eco-friendly inks. The community workshop where this takes place employs people with different impairments and disabilities, helping them to gain work experience and training. After packing, the mince is transported by land only throughout Europe and into the UK to help reduce air miles and keep the overall carbon footprint of the product as low as possible.
I've been blown away by the Sunflower Family's commitment not only to sustainable farming but also to social responsibility and our environment. This amazing mince ticks so many boxes and is also delicious!
How to cook with it:
If the sustainable credentials of this mince don't have you hooked already, you might also like to to know that it doesn't require any preparation. All you need to do is add the dry mince to your sauce with an extra 1/2 cup of water. It is designed to be easy and quick to cook, being ready to eat in as little as 5 minutes.
Any dish that you would normally use meat-based mince for you can cook just as easily with this alternative. It can even be seasoned and shaped into burgers! The texture is meaty and it has a lovely flavour.
Of course, I had to sample it before going ahead with an order for the shop to make sure it was as good as it sounded. I was really impressed, it made a delicious spaghetti bolognese! I'm looking forward to creating some recipes to share with you using this mince and our other Earthian ingredients.
As this mince is made from only sunflower seeds, it is high in protein and fiber and low in fats and sugars. I have shared the full nutritional makeup of the mince below if this information is helpful. A typical serving size of the mince is 19g per person.
I hope you are all as excited as I am to find a sustainable, refillable and nutritious alternative to meat-based mince.
Watch this space for tasty ideas and recipes using our latest addition to the shop!