Gourmet Garden™ Lemon Grass Paste Review
Fresh Lemon Grass is not easy to source for many North American home-cooks, and the dried varieties, whether in whole stalks, slices, or chips, are pretty much all but useless. Buying paste is a convenient option for most of us and Gourmet Garden™ have certainly enhanced the convenience by packaging theirs in a tube. I purchased a couple of these to do a test run.
I have tried a few similar products from Gourmet Garden™, most notably their Basil Paste in a Tube. The Basil paste is an excellent product and very handy to have on hand, but the Lemon Grass product, I am sad to say, is not in quite the same class and generally of lesser quality.
The ingredients listed on the side of the tube are, in order of listing:
- Fresh Organic Lemongrass
- Organic Canola Oil
- Organic Dextrose
- Sodium Lactate
- Whey (milk)
- Sea Salt
- Sodium Ascorbate
- Citric Acid
- Xanthan Gum
- Ascorbic Acid
The major component of the product is actual Lemon Grass, which is a good thing. As for the rest of the list, I do not see any ingredients that cause me any particular concern by their presence, nor, for that matter, am I particularly impressed by the frequent usage of the word ‘Organic’.
There are two items that are a bit noteworthy, in my mind: The Whey appears to be rather an odd ingredient for this type of product, and I am a bit dismayed to see Dextrose appearing as the fourth ingredient, which means it is present in a relatively high amount. This largely reflects the modern trend to add sugars and sweeteners to just about every food stuff imaginable and I would rather see less of this.
Appearance, Texture and Taste
The appearance is not especially attractive. The green color is a bit pale and washed out, but then home-made Lemon Grass Paste is not significantly prettier and the paste is intended to be stirred into foods rather than used to garnish.
The texture is somewhat similar to a paste made from the fresh article in that there some fibrous bits throughout. There is however, a definite crystalline, granularity to the texture, much as though the paste contained a good deal of table sugar. I do not know if this is the Dextrose, or not, but, on that topic, one of the first taste components to be noticeable is one suggesting the presence of artificial sweetener.
In the final flavor analysis, the Gourmet Garden™ Lemon Grass Paste is clearly Lemon Grass but the actual taste of this is very muted and only a pale shadow of the fresh stalks. The label suggests that a tablespoon of the tube product is equivalent to a tablespoon of the actual thing but, I have to say that this is ambitious at best.
Gourmet Garden™ Lemon Grass Paste in a Tube is a rather pale substitute for fresh Lemon Grass, and having to use a relatively higher quantity for the same taste experience makes it less attractive in a cost-benefit analysis. It is, however, extremely easy to store, convenient to use, and ultimately better than doing without Lemongrass entirely.