Product Snapshot – Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs

Written by Guest reviewer on Wednesday, 03 May 2017.
Tagged: dairy, health, healthy eating, nutrition, review, yoghurt

Poppin Pods are always on hand when you want just a couple of sprigs of one particular herb.

As a regular user and fan of the Gourmet Garden Stir-In Herb pastes I was interested to try the semi-dried herbs in my cooking and as garnishes. I like to cook my meals from scratch but as a busy business woman, I also take the odd shortcut. If I can cut out washing and finely chopping chilli, coriander, basil or chives and still get their great burst of flavour, then I’m prepared to give it a go. Let’s see how they performed.

The varieties

Gourmet Garden produce 8 in their range – Basil, Chilli, Coriander, Ginger, Parsley, Chives, Mixed Herbs and Southeast Asian Seasoning. We found 5 of the range and tested Basil, Chilli, Coriander, Ginger, and Chives.

How I used them

Curry

  1. I made a chickpea, spinach, potato and sweet potato curry. I used the chilli and the ginger along with my other dried curry spices and some garlic to fry off the onions. Once the curry was cooked, I garnished it with chopped Perino tomatoes and some of the lightly dried coriander.

 Garnish

  1. I had some left over steamed veges so I lightly sautéed them in Extra Virgin Olive oil and added some basil and poured over a beaten egg. I garnished it with the chives.

How they performed

  1. The chilli and ginger were a little muted in their flavour in the final curry so if I was using them again I’d use at least twice and probably three times the amount I did. The coriander I tasted before sprinkling it on the curry. Really it only tasted slightly salty with none of that feisty coriander aroma or taste.
  2. Again I guess I should have used more though I was more generous than I was when I made the curry. However, if I had used more the dish would have looked less pleasant. I liked the subtle flavour of the basil but I didn’t enjoy the chives as they seemed, to my palate, to have a slight aftertaste.

Ingredients, how they taste and smell

Herb Ingredients Taste raw Aroma
Basil Organic Basil 92 per cent, vegetable oil, sea salt and antioxidant (ascorbic acid). Has a good Basil flavour but also slightly salty. Smells like you expect Basil to, except perhaps not as strong as fresh but definitely recognisable.
Chilli Chilli 95 per cent, vegetable oil, sea salt and antioxidant (ascorbic acid). Tastes like chilli. The heat is a little delayed but once it comes through it’s quite hot. Doesn’t taste salty like some of the others. Smells like chopped chilli
Ginger Ginger 94 per cent, vegetable oil, sea salt and acidity regulator (citric acid). Tastes like fresh ginger except considerably more salty. Smells like fresh chopped ginger.
Chives Organic Chives 94 percent, organic canola oil, sea salt and antioxidant (ascorbic acid). Tastes like chives only salty. Quite a sulphury smell when you first open the packet. Not really how I’d expect chives to smell.
Coriander Organic Coriander 94 per cent, vegetable oil, sea salt and antioxidant (ascorbic acid). Slightly salty. No feisty coriander taste.

 

Smells like a damp green herb, it didn’t smell like coriander at all.

Gourmet Garden claims

On their website they claim that the herbs are:

  • Australian, organically grown herbs
  • Washed, chopped and prepped within 18hrs of harvesting
  • Made with no preservatives, pesticides or nasty stuff
  • Pre-prepared...washed, chopped and ready to use
  • With the same look, taste and aroma of fresh herbs
  • Cared for (with tender, loving, care) from farm to plate
  • Nut free
  • Gluten free
  • Egg free
  • Suitable for lacto and lacto-ovo vegetarians
  • Grown and prepped in ISO and HACCP approved facilities
  • Halal certified
  • Kosher certified (Lightly Dried range)

My take on some of these claims

  • Only 3 of the herbs we tried cite organic herbs in the ingredient list.
  • It’s a little disingenuous to say there are no preservatives as salt, ascorbic acid and citric acid can all be used as preserving agents to extend the shelf life of a food.
  • Most herbs are Nut free, Gluten free, Egg free, and suitable for lacto and lacto-ovo vegetarians anyway.
  • The competitors of these products are fresh herbs which as far as I am aware need no Halal or Kosher certification as they are naturally Halal and Kosher.

Nutrition Information Panels

Product Basil Chilli Chives Coriander Ginger
Per serve 0.6g Per 100g Per serve 1.1g Per 100g Per serve 0.5g Per 100g Per serve 0.5g Per 100g Per serve 1.1g Per 100g

Energy kJ
Cal

5
1

862
206

11
3

998
238

3
1

654
156

4
1

755
180

14
3

1250
298

Protein, g  0.1  6.5  0.1  7.5 0.1  4.3 0.1  7.1 0.1  3.5

Fat Total,g

 0.1  14.9  0.2 16.5  0.1   9.5 0.1   13.6 0.2  20.7 
        Sat, g  0.1  1  0.1  1.2 01   1.0 0.1   1.0 0.1   1.5
Carb, Total,g 0.1   5.5  0.1  10.9 0.1   7.4  0.1  12.3 0.2   21.0
    Sugars, g  0.1  4.8  0.1 10.9  0.1   7.4  0  0 0.1   7.4
Sodium, mg  24  3940  16  1410 11   2220  14  2850  24  2160

Pros

  • convenient
  • reasonably inexpensive at $3 a packet
  • resealable
  • stores in the fridge for up to 4 weeks
  • most taste better than their dried counterparts
  • less waste than buying a large bunch of herbs

Cons

  • not all of the herbs taste as they should
  • quite salty
  • not very appetising as a garnish – you still need a fresh bunch with their leaves

The bottom line

Would I buy them again? Probably not. I already use the Gourmet Garden chilli, garlic and ginger pastes in my cooking and on the whole I think I prefer these. The one I might have considered is coriander as a big bunch invariably has a good deal of wastage but the coriander was the most disappointing of the ones we tried.

If you’re heading out for a week's camping, these Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs are perfect.


However I can see their usefulness. If you’re looking to go up the coast for a weekend or are camping and you don’t want to take jars of dried herbs or armfuls of fresh with you then these are perfect; or if you’re really busy and you don’t like using the pastes then they’re a good choice for you too.

Thanks to Munaiba Khan, a retired naturopath with an interest in nutrition, for this review.

Save

Save