Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gourmet Garden: A Review

My whole experience with "Gourmet Garden" actually started with a post that Elisa at Life In My Land did on a shopping trip she did one week and she mentioned she'd written to the Gourmet Garden company about how much she liked their products.

I was intrigued with the look of the products in her picture, so the next time I went to Carrs and cruised on by the produce section, I went looking for them.

What are these weird looking tube things?  Well, from their own description here's how Gourmet Garden herbs came about...

"In the mid 1990s two scientists were not satisfied with the short season for fresh herbs  and the flavour of dry herbs. This created the path for the pair to discover a unique process to capture and store fresh chopped herbs and spices under refrigeration. Their vision lay in using the antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities of herbs and spices so they could be packaged fresh, without cooking or dying procedures. This would ensure the best possible fresh flavor and aroma, with the highest value of nutrients.

In 1998, in the relaxed surroundings of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the Botanical Food Company began commercializing the patented process to ensure the herbs are picked when the antioxidants and natural essential oils are at their peak which maximize the herbs fresh flavor and aroma."

When I saw them at the store sitting in their tubes, I must admit I was skeptical, but I bought a tube of the garlic (figuring that minced garlic tastes okay so that should too) and a thing of the Italian Herb Mixture (to really put the herbs to the test).  I used them that first night on some lamb chops I'd gotten on reduced at the store, slathering the italian herbs and garlic together on one side of the lamb and then putting some grill seasoning (from my McCormick grinders) on the other and putting some iodized sea salt on the meat for some additional flavor uppage.  And so, I went out to the grill and prayed everything tasted okay when I was done.

I kid you not, those lamb chops were the best I've ever had!

The herbs DO taste fresh!  And the best part about it is that even the garlic infuses garlic flavor without all the sulfur-like taste that minced garlic gets to it.  They just made the food taste delicious!

How impressed was I with these?  The first time I used them?  I wrote to the company and thanked them for creating them.  They were just that awesome.

I have been using the Gourmet Garden herbs for about a month now and I use them every single time I grill a steak or a lamb chop and I've used the herbs in tomato sauce and soups and they just add that fresh herb flavor :).  I am very impressed and happy with this product.

Fresh herbs are so hard to find up here in any decent quality and good garlic?  I don't know about anyone else but I've found it impossible to find any bulb of garlic that's worth blowing sky-high since I moved here 10 years ago.  I haven't had a lot of luck growing herbs up here with the exception of parsley (my one lowly parsley plant is 7 years old now :) and I find that the "fresh" herbs at the store are really difficult to find any that aren't pretty much giving up the ghost by the time they hit our market.  So to find a product that offers fresh herb taste was just an eye opening experience to me. The products also last for quite a while before they reach their "use by" date as well and to get those options with Organic attached to them is a definite bonus.

Now just to warn you, these things are pretty pricey, but not really if you've bought fresh pre-packaged herbs at the store.  I've gotten mine on sale at Carrs for 3.50 a tube, but they do last for quite a while and they do contain a decent amount of herbs (the garlic contains 23 cloves of garlic in it alone and the Italian Herbs contain 3 bunches of herbs in it, which if you bought 3 FRESH bunches of herbs...yeah you'd be paying more than these things go for let's put it like that).

I just really wanted to share this sort of "off beat" product with you all and encourage you to try them the next time you want some fresh herb taste in or on something.  My HUSBAND even likes these on meat and he's pretty picky about what goes on his meat, so that's telling you something.  Thanks for doing that shopping post Elisa, it changed my culinary life *laugh*.

NOTE:  This was a non-solicited review of the product mentioned.  I got no compensation for doing this review and the opinions therein are 100% mine and mine alone.  Just wanted to mention that ;).


Farliewood said...

Fresh herbs at Sagaya are reasonably priced and what you don't use you can dry. I buy fresh peeled garlic cloves at FM or Carrs, there are 4 cloves in tiny sealed bags in a larger bag, they stay fresh for a very long time.
That said, I will try those herbs in the tube and decide for myself.

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

Ahhhh! See, yet another reason I wish Sagaya would move out to the Valley. I love shopping there when I get a chance, but I get into Anchorage literally twice a year anymore.

And huh. I haven't seen the peeled garlic in little bags like that. I've bought peeled garlic in a like medium sized bag, but it didn't last very long for me. I might have to go looking for the bag of garlic like you're talking about. Thanks for the tip :).

At least I've got a nice, really good tasting alternative in the meantime.

Jessica @ Alaska's Best Grocery Deals said...

So there are no preseratives in these things? I'll have to give them a shot. Thanks.

Life in My Land said...

I'm glad you like them! I have used the Italian herbs to make dressing too by adding to oil/vinegar. My favorite though is the Mexican blend added to Greek yogurt to make a dip. Super easy and tastes great plus the tube lasted me a few months.

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

I've been wanting to expand to the other flavors/blends, but I need to wait until my fridge door gets cleaned out a little bit first *laugh*. Thanks for the tip on the Mexican dip though...that sounds pretty yummy and healthy too :).

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

@ Jessica,

I checked my tubes and the first main ingredient (past herbs and/or garlic of course) is canola oil. There seems to be some preservatives in it...some sodium derivatives (to preserve flavor and to help stave off bacteria), some organic starch, etc, but nothing you can't pronounce that has 15 syllables or anything :). And no, the words "corn syrup" do not appear at all on it ;).

Jessica @ Alaska's Best Grocery Deals said...

LOL - Thanks Erika! I think I'm going to pick up a couple the next time I catch them on sale (which is like never, I know) and try them out!

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

Actually, they've been on sale for 3.50 for like the last month *laugh* so I'm NOT sure how long that sale goes on for :).