In my last post, the butternut squash, apple, and curry soup, I mentioned using frozen cubes of basil. As promised, here’s my review of this product.
First, these were free samples I received of Dorot Products (Garlic and Herbs). They are crushed herbs that come frozen in a trays, and each tray has 20 cubes. They come in individual herbs, such as garlic, ginger, cilantro, parsley, basil, and chili, or combination herbs such as Pasta, Tex-Mex, or Stir Fry Herb Mixes.
According to the company, their garlic and herbs are “picked, and then immediately chopped, packaged and frozen in a unique fast freeze process, maintaining their taste, freshness and nutritive value.”
Ingredients other than the actual herb include dextrose, starch, oil, and salt. The sodium in these cubes ranges between 10 to 20 mg a cube, which is not bad. They are sold in Trader Joe’s stores.
I’ve used the cubes in saucy dishes, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries. The company’s website offers a variety of recipes to try.
What I like about these products:
- Convenience: They are easy to use. No washing, pealing, or chopping. No cutting boards–just drop the cubes into the pot.
- Availability: They are great for unplanned last minute meals. Often, the last thing you want to do is make a grocery run to get a garlic clove or a bunch of parsley. You can keep your favorite herbs in your freezer and add to any dish you’re making.
- Because they are convenient and available, they are going to encourage you to cook at home. And that means healthier meals than eating out–most of the time. Plus, herbs add tons of flavor and they help you cut back on the amount of salt you make.
What I don’t like about these products:
- The flavor and aroma is not as strong as fresh herbs. You might need to use 4 cubes to get the herb flavors, and some recipes on their website call for 6 cubes of garlic. Even with using that many cubes, I didn’t smell the herbs in my kitchen as I would usually do with fresh herbs.
- Cost. I didn’t pay for my samples, so I don’t know how much they cost. But since most convenient products are more expensive than anything that requires work, it’s safe to assume they will cost you more than fresh herbs.
- Not great for salads, salsa, or fresh dishes. Their website has recipes for salads in which you just mix in the cubes, but they are frozen and the package instructions say ‘do no thaw.’ I haven’t used them for salads, and I’m not sure how I would add a cube of frozen cilantro to my fresh homemade salsa.
Whether you will like these or not depends on your cooking and eating lifestyle. If you like to cook fresh, have the time to do it, grow your own herb garden, this product might be too processed and lack the strong flavors you are used to. If most of your meals are in restaurants, take-outs, or microwave dinners, it might encourage you to start to cook. If you tend to cook with a lot of salt or don’t know how to use herbs, this might be an alternate.
I like my garlic, ginger, parsley, and cilantro fresh, but I don’t usually have chili or basil handy. I think I will keep trays of the latter two in my freezer.
Have a great Monday!