It’s probably the most common thing we hear from people when we talk to them about the blog, “Oh, I’d love to cook like that, but we just don’t do it often enough to justify the money for fresh ingredients” or, “I hate buying fresh herbs, I use half of them for one recipe then they go bad!”
It’s a fair point. Unless you cook for yourself 3+ times a week, many fresh ingredients such as garlic, basil, thyme, parsley – etc. will be bad before you can use them again. It’s wasted money and enough to frustrate many amateur chefs into simply not buying fresh ingredients or just avoiding cooking from scratch all together.
For years, we haven’t really had a reply to these statements. We could merely shake our head and say something to the effect of “Yeah, I can see that” or “Sure, if you don’t cook that much, it’s hard to justify the money”. That was before we discovered a new product on the shelves of our local Trader Joes. This product looks to fill the need of the at home chef who wants to cook from scratch, but doesn’t do it often enough (or in large enough quantity) to justify spending money on garlic and herbs that will go bad long before they can use them again.
Enter, Dorot frozen garlic and herb cubes.
We’ve tried our fair share of packaged herb products before – from pastes to different verities of dried, they each have their limitations. Dried herbs are great, but they don’t pack the flavor that fresh herbs do. Herbs worked into a paste are nice, but only if they’re going to be used IN a recipe (they don’t work well as a topping) and their shelf life is only moderately longer than their fresh counterpart.
That’s where Dorot’s products attempt to fill the void. They make fresh ingredients into tiny cubes, and then freeze them. The concept is brilliant – fresh herbs, but preserved for nearly an infinite amount of time so that any chef, no matter how frequently they cook, can use fresh ingredients in any dish.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say (note: don’t use these products for pudding, that’d be gross) so do Dorot’s clever little cubes solve the kitchen conundrum? We put them to the test, here’s what we found out:
Dorot offers a wide range of the most commonly used herbs and spices including; garlic, ginger, red chiles, basil, cilantro, dill and parsley. They also make a line of pesto and pasta bases, but we have not tried those products, so we’ll keep our focus on the garlic and herbs.
That selection covers the basics, although it would be nice to see Dorot expand into some of the lesser used spices, such as tarragon and sage. Since recipes only occasionally call for these herbs, it would be great to have a frozen option for them as well. Still, all things considered this product line should cover a majority of the at home chef’s needs.
We’ve tested herbs in paste form before and weren’t thrilled by the flavor they delivered. After all, there’s little point in using a product as a substitute for fresh ingredients if it doesn’t pack any more flavor than their dried counterparts.
Our tests focused on the basil and garlic forms of Dorot’s line, and we were very pleased with both results. The garlic is on the milder side, but it still imparts great flavor into any dish with the same ratio as fresh garlic cloves (1 cube = 1 clove). We found that a recipe calling for 2 cloves crushed garlic could easily be covered by 2 cubs of the frozen alternative.
We found the basil to be considerably stronger than expected. They list 1 cube being equivalent to 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped basil, but we found the ratio closer to 1 cube = 2.5 teaspoons fresh chopped basil. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (you’ll get more value for your money, after all) but it does mean the first time using the product is a bit experimental.
Ease of Use:
Herb pastes have always been limited by the rather small area of use. They work well if you’re stirring the herb INTO the recipe, but if it’s meant to top the dish, they simply don’t cut it. Unfortunately, Dorot frozen line suffers from the same limitations. The cubes are packed with water and / or soybean or sunflower oil to help in freezing them. That means that as they ‘melt’ they take on more liquid form than dry form. If you’re topping a dish with a particular herb, you’re still going to want to turn to fresh or dried.
When it comes to every other aspect of cooking, however, Dorot’s products worked great. The cubes melt extremely quickly when added to a hot pot or skillet and once melted, they behave much like their fresh counterparts. Recipes that call you to cook the garlic until fragrant, for example, can still be followed to the letter. Simply add the cube, allow it to melt (20 to 30 seconds in our experience) and then let it simmer until it becomes fragrant.
We put these cubes through their paces in a multitude of recipes (Including marinades, pestos, sauces and rubs) and never once found the cube to be a hassle or hurdle to normal cooking. Simply pop the cube out of the easy to access tray and drop it right into the recipe. Easy as that!
Pricing may vary depending on your store of choice, but these cubes sell for between $2.99 and $3.99 at our local Trader Joes. Considering you get 24 cubes per package, that’s not too bad of value, especially since they last such a long time.
These cubes deliver on flavor, although we found the garlic to be a bit mild and the basil to be a bit strong – each was close enough to their fresh counterpart to keep the recipe tasting like it should. They’re easy to use and versatile, despite not being able to top a recipe, they will work in nearly any other cooking situation (even recipes that call for garlic to be rubbed across a steak – simply use the cube to rub – works like a charm!). With 24 cubes in most packages, this product will last you for months and you never have to worry about it going bad before your next dish – making these fresh herb alternatives a winner in our book.
Please not that we received no financial compensation from Dorot to talk about their product, nor are they involved with this post in any way. We simply found a product we liked that we felt many other at home chefs should know about and wanted to share our thoughts. The above post is our honest opinion of the product and nothing more.
That’s all we have for you this evening, we close out our great big week of blogging tomorrow night with a brand new recipe from Maggie. Until then,