Earth Day is close, which means it’s time for us to reevaluate our daily lives and ask ourselves if we are doing enough? From the food we eat to the car we drive, we contribute to global warming and carbon emissions in one way or another. However, there are various ways by which you can start to break away from this vicious cycle and adopt a better lifestyle. So how about switching to some healthy, sustainable products like Okara Flour?
What is Okara Flour?
Okara Flour is basically a gluten-free flour, which is upcycled with the help of soybean pulp generated while producing soymilk. Upcycling basically means producing food with the help of used ingredients that would have been otherwise wasted. The ingredients used in upcycling are produced or procured during the supply chain, which ensures a positive impact on the environment.
Pertaining to its high fiber content, Okara Flour is a great way of fulfilling dietary requirements without increasing the risks of diseases such as obesity or diabetes. The flour is quite nutritious, and it can be combined with other flours as well to provide further nutrition. Since it is gluten-free, individuals with allergies can also switch to Okara Flour easily.
Soybeans and soy foods have benefits themselves. Foods produced using soy can reduce the risks of a variety of diseases, such as stroke, cardiovascular problems, and coronary heart diseases. Soybeans are an excellent source of protein as well.
Renewal Mill’s organic Okara Flour is one of the most delicious and sustainable products that you can find in the market. With its long list of nutrition and a taste similar to white flour, this product can help you to make delicious recipes without affecting the planet. The Renewal Mill’s Okara flour is free of gluten and GMOs. It comes jam-packed with fiber and protein, together with 3 g of carbs in every half cup of flour. The company believes in the power of upcycling and sustainability. Accordingly, you can use this product to show your commitment to sustainable practices as well.
What Soy means to me?
One of the reasons why Soy has an important place in my kitchen is because I have childhood memories attached to it. My grandmother owned the oldest tofu and noodle shop in NYC Chinatown. And because of the shop, I grew up eating a lot of delicious soy food regularly. Although my grandmother is no longer with our family and she doesn’t own the shop, soy food will always have an extra special place in my heart.
Sustainability is super important for our planet
So this Earth Day, show your commitment to healthier cooking practices by making Blueberry Scones by using Renewal Mill’s Okara Flour. To get the recipe, sign up for our April Box, and we will send you the recipe right away. Here’s to a healthier, sustainable, and better world!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Caroline Cotto, Co-Founder of Renewal Mill. Check out the excerpt below from our interview. Link below to watch the full interview.
Q:What led you to co-launch Renewal Mill?
A: It was actually due to my co-founder RM was born out of my co-founder's first-hand experience with her juicing business. She started Boston's first juicing company. She was excited to bring to fresh local produce to inner city Boston through healthy juices. At the end of every day was left with a mountain of leftover fruit and vegetable pulp from the juicing process. She tried baking it into muffins and crackers, but there was so much of this pulp.
She then had a fortuitous meeting with the owner of one of the largest tofu companies. He said to her, "You think you make a lot of pulp in your tiny, one-shop juice business. I'm making tons and tons of pulp every day through my tofu facility."
We quickly learned that there was massive issue with manufacturing byproducts. Thousands and thousands of pounds of pulp. We specifically work with plant-based milk pulp so the pulp from soy milk and oat milk. They were going to waste and they are full of nutrition in the form of fiber and protein. We could bring them back into the food system. Renewal Mill was born out of that goal to create a more circular economy and keep that nutrition in the supply chain to feed people.
Q: Tell us about the manufacturing process.
A: We are capturing that wet pulp which is called Okara Flour. Traditionally, in countries like Japan you would use Okara in that wet form to create a side dish. But Okara starts spoiling within 4 hours. What we do is dehydrate it and mill it into a flour called Okara Flour. The same grain size as All-Purpose Flour. But in baking it acts more like Coconut Flour. Full of fiber and kind of light and fluffy. Great way to add nutrition into your favorite baked good. We do the same thing with oat milk, turning it into oat flour.
Q: What is the timeline start to finish?
A: It's a continuous production with the Okara Flour. We are trying to be complete off-take solutions for our partners. Conveying it from the soy milk production line and completely dehydrating it. Overall, it's a pretty quick process to make it shelf-stable.
Q: Does this flour have a shelf life?
A: It's about 18 months. In line with other traditional flours.
Q: What are you most proud of since you helped launch Renewal Mill?
A: We have done a lot of work in our industry to educate what upcycling means and the impact upcycling can have on climate change. Food waste reduction is one of the #1 things we can do to prevent climate change. About 8% of all greenhouse gases globally come from food waste. When we started this process, people didn't really understand. Now, it is one of the top 10 trends in the industry. People are really excited about the impact. And we've helped launch a new certification for upcycling. Now foods can be certified upcycled the way food is certified organic or non-GMO to help consumer understand when you purchase upcycled food, you're helping fight food waste which is helping fight climate change.
Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of your role?
A: Most rewarding has been consumer interactions. Our products are vegan and gluten-free and our recipes are created by James Beard award-winning cookbook author. So when you see someone taste our product and are like wow, this is the best gluten-free and vegan product I've ever tasted and it helps the planet. I think that's super rewarding. Challenging is we are trying to do a lot of things and we are a small team.
Q: What is it like to be a female entrepreneur as we celebrate Women's History Month?
A: There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. There is a lot of support for female entrepreneurs. In food, there is an amazing support group of female food founders. We definitely lean on them and get a lot of advice and partner with them. Challenges still exist with fundraising and tell our story to Venture Capitalists which tend to be a male audience. Definitely looking for more female investors and doubling down on adding them to our cap table.
Q: The Okara Flour is our April Box where I'll be teaching subscribers how to bake Earth-inspired Blueberry Scones. How would you describe the taste of the Okara Flour?
A: It's very neutral. It has a subtle milky nutty taste. Overall, it's similar to a traditional flour. It's lighter than All-Purpose Flour. It is a nutrition house. 60% fiber, 20% protein and that protein is a complete protein since it's coming from soy which is a legume. We are seeing people using it in keto baking since it's low carb.
Q: How is it so nutrient-packed?
A: When you're making plant-based milk, you can think about it like juicing. You're boiling and blending the beans and then you're squeezing it and leaving behind the pulp with insoluble fiber and protein. Like carbohydrates and sugars go into the delicious milks, but you're left with this fiber that's great for your gut and weight maintenance.