A quick and to the point review of Gourmet Garden Stir-In Paste, a line of herb and spice mix-ins sold in the supermarket produce section.
My love of food isn’t just something I write about. It’s something I live, as part of every aspect of my life, every day. Most weeks, I make a plan for all the dinners we’ll eat and shop for everything we need. Most evenings, I cook dinner — often from scratch.
That said, in order to do this, I sometimes need little shortcuts to make the puzzle pieces of my day fit together. So, when I see a product that would eliminate the need to chop herbs (and the associated dirty knives and cutting boards), it intrigues me.
When I first saw Gourmet Garden Stir-In Paste at the grocery store a few years back, I was skeptical. Why trade fresh herbs for paste ones? But eventually, I bought them to try because … well, why not?
Here’s what I thought:
The Good: The flavors are fresh — basil tastes like fresh basil, cilantro brightens guacamole brilliantly, ginger is appropriately gingery. Also, it’s super easy to use. Just squeeze out and stir into whatever you’re making. Measuring is so easy. The Gourmet Garden ginger paste and cilantro paste, in particular, have become mainstays in our kitchen.
The Bad: Sometimes only fresh herbs will do, such as when you want to sprinkle them on as toppings or when you want to mix them into a salad. Also, if you’re making pesto, you’ll want to stick to fresh as well. So this isn’t an all-purpose product.
The herb pastes also aren’t that pretty. Should that matter? It depends on how you are using the herb pastes. Also, if you need a larger quantity of fresh herbs for a recipe, these can get expensive fast.
The Verdict: I really love Gourmet Garden’s line of stir-in pastes. They make cooking with fresh herbs so easy on busy nights. The cilantro and basil pastes are almost always in my fridge. The Gourmet Garden ginger paste has totally replaced fresh ginger in my house — it’s just so much easier. But for herbs, I still use fresh too, because only freshly chopped herbs will do.
I wish, however, that you could buy larger tubes as well. An 8 oz. tube size for basil and cilantro would be perfect.
Find It: I most often purchase these Gourmet Garden Stir-In Paste tubes at my local Hannaford Supermarket. But I have also seen them at Shaw’s, Walmart and other stores as well. They run about $3-$4 per tube.