I was recently blessed with yet another opportunity to provide a review for a rather amazing set of products.
In fact, more than amazing, these frozen delights are fabulous!
Of course I’m all about REAL food, true and intense flavors, and most importantly, fresh food. However, there comes a time (many a day I sense this “time”) where convenience trumps freshly picked. Our busy schedules and seasonal tendencies – darn those seasons when produce is unavailable! – make it next to impossible to pull freshly roasted beets, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash out of the oven in the heat of summer when our tummies are growling at 7:00pm after a long day’s work, or visit the non-exisistent farmer’s market down the road for a flat of berries in the dead of winter. You catch my drift?
I’ve become a creature of convenience when it comes to my sweet potato cravings and blackberry urges ~ and now…my love affair with rainbow carrots. I tell you, Stahlbush Island Farms has created something(s) utterly praiseworthy and ultra fantastic.
Advertising sustainable farming, a heart for both the environment and the customer, and grown in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, my persona developed somewhat of a bias for the products before even indulging in each unique bite. They are all freshly farmed, picked, and quickly frozen in order to maintain and sustain maximum flavor and nutrition.
Stahlbush produces a variety of frozen grains and legumes, but my interest went directly to the frozen fruit and veggie offerings. (Frozen Wild Rice, though, I must say, is quite a treat I’ve never before seen when it comes to considering the eternity it takes to cook up a pot of such a delight).
With over 10 different types of veggies in store, I took it upon myself to review a few of those there are directly available in my area, those that particularly called my name, and one that offered a bit of a challenge for me.
I consume winter squash and sweet potatoes on a regular basis, so these were a natural choice. I was truly curious to taste and see how the frozen veggies compared to my freshly favored feasts.
I also selected the cauliflower and broccoli, merely out of curiosity. I’ve found that when it comes to frozen cruciferous veggies (particularly those in the stinky brassica family), the crowns just don’t hold up. Would this be true for Stahlbush?
The real draw for me, though, and now one of my absolute favorite staples at home: the Tri Colored Carrots. Wham Bam. That’s all I can say for now…stay tuned below…
Finally, for the veggies, the challenge I mentioned surrounded the frozen beets. I’ve mentioned it before; I detest beets. Yet, with my last Chioggia beet experience I recently shared, I wanted to give it a go and test out my taste buds once again.
The fruit varieties offered are rather basic – all the berries you can think of, as well as cranberries, and grapes. I would have loved to try out the frozen grapes, but struggled to find those in stores near me. I opted for the Health Berry Blend, assuming I’d gather a variety of tastes of all the gorgeous Oregon berries offered individually. This was quite a treat.
Butternut Squash – “Our peeled, diced butternut squash takes the work out of preparing this scrumptious fall favorite.” In past experiences, I’ve found frozen winter squash to be rather tasteless, and even bitter at times. Reheated, the orange chunks become a soggy experience. This is definitely NOT the case with Stahlbush. Perhaps it’s in the harvesting and flash freezing, but these brightly hued squares truly do impart the winter sweetness of our beloved squash. I was pleasantly – and remain – surprised. Well done.
Sweet Potatoes – “Sweet potatoes make a healthy side for your family’s favorite meals. Sweet potatoes can be used in anything from breakfast hashes to excellent casseroles and side dishes. Try roasting them in the oven with a little olive oil, fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper for a quick, healthy dish.” Absolutely wonderful. Completely sweet and perfectly textured, I loved how quickly these chunks reheated and melted in my mouth – filled with Kerrygold butter, of course. I find myself particularly pleased by the recipe and preparation instructions for each of the items as well. How great is that?!?
Cauliflower – “Bright white and tender, cauliflower is low in calories and a great substitute for mashed potatoes. Lightly steam them, drain, and mash. Add cheese, a little cream, and salt and pepper to taste for a great new version of the classic.” I was really worried that both the cauliflower and broccoli would reheat into stinky, soggy mess. However, both bags of crowns maintained great shape and great flavor! Classically good.
Tri-Colored Sliced Carrots – As I said before, I’ve developed quite a liking to these brilliantly and brightly hued coins. With a variety of sizes, the deep purple, intense burgundy, and magnificent orange inside the bag simply make me smile and the sight. The taste, though, is rather divine. As I chewed and savored each and every bite, both plain and simple to truly experience the veggies, and slathered in the sweet saltiness of my golden cream sidekick, I drifted away into veggie dreamland.
These carrots, as well as a rainbow variety of cauliflower and a curly kale (both unavailable in my neck of the woods, most unfortunately) are too new for the website and technical description, but I sincerely hope you’re able to find them and experience their taste and beauty where you are…someday soon. My fingers are crossed here!
Sliced Beets – “This versatile vegetable can be baked, roasted, steamed, pickled, and served as a condiment or alongside soups and entrees.” I took their recommendation and followed by “tossing frozen beets with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer on a pan and roast at 350ºF for 15 – 20 minutes.” Of course, I had to add a just a little of my magic touch, by sprinkling in a bit of fresh rosemary and a tad of garlic. These were great. Great. Great. Really…did I say that? Beets…great. What is the world coming to? Yes, really. Well done, once again. Not the sickly sweet or intensely earthy flavor I was expecting. These were wonderfully nourishing.
Health Berry Blend – “For this super-premium berry blend, we selected the berries richest in color. Add to smoothies for a rich breakfast.” These were and are just as amazing and superb as I was expecting. Having lived in Oregon for 2 summer berry seasons, I KNOW what Oregon berries are supposed to taste like – the indescribable sweetness and slathering goodness they impart. These frozen babies did just that. Oh yum. Oh yum. Yes, oh yum. Spilling over a bowl of creamy coconut milk. Yes, oh yum.
Ingredients: Marion Blackberries, Blueberries, and Black Raspberries.
Note the ingredients above – ALL the products contain just that – and only that – fresh veggies and fruit. Nothing else. Pure flavor. Dramatic flavor.