Going to Whole Foods grocery stores is, for me, like taking a field trip. My husband Bill and I love shopping there for high quality foods, but we live about thirty miles south of Atlanta, which is where the nearest Whole Foods is. Consequently, we only visit Whole Foods every couple of months or so. Every time we go there, we spend a lot of money, but we also enjoy some excellent products. Many times, we discover new products through Whole Foods’ generous practice of handing out samples.
In May of this year, we visited Whole Foods and there was a friendly guy standing by a refrigeration unit full of various dips and salsas. He stopped us and asked if we wanted to try some of the products he was showcasing. We said “sure”. It turned out the products he had on display were made by Garden Fresh, a company that since 1999 has been making award winning dips, sauces, hummuses, and salsas.
At first, Bill and I tried the salsas, but then I noticed a container of white sauce. I asked the salesman what it was and he said it was Lebanese style garlic sauce. Bill loves garlic and I like it enough that I wanted to hear more about how this sauce was used. The friendly salesman told us he used it in Mediterranean dishes and cooking, but it also makes a good dip for chips or pita bread. I tried some, liked it, and decided to purchase a seven ounce container of it. When we were finished with this sauce, we missed it a lot. On our last visit to Whole Foods, I specifically looked for another container of this Lebanese style garlic sauce and noticed there were just three left. Apparently, we’re not the only ones who like this stuff!
Garden Fresh Lebanese Style Garlic Sauce is all natural and contains canola oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. One container has enough sauce for twelve 16 gram servings. The bad news is that each serving contains 120 calories, 110 of which come from fat. However, this product does not contain trans fats, sugar, or cholesterol and has very small traces of saturated fats and carbohydrates. I also find that I almost never need as much sauce as what the makers would consider a serving. It has a very intense flavor. Actually, I’m surprised it’s billed as a sauce, since to me, it’s really more like a spread.
What we use it for
We find that this sauce is great for marinades on meats and vegetables and as a dip. I’ve also used it in place of mayonnaise as a spread on sandwiches. Because it has a strong flavor, a little bit goes a long way. This sauce is especially tasty in any recipe that calls for garlic. Try it the next time you’re making garlic bread! You can slather it between the slices of already baked bread and bake it for a few minutes or mix a dollop of it with your dough. Or, you can just spread some on plain bread and toast it.
Since it’s smooth and spreadable, it’s easy to mix a little bit in sauces and soups. I find that the sauce is very convenient for that purpose, since I don’t have to peel or crush garlic or mince it to the point of being extremely fine. The work is already done. Of course, this trick doesn’t work if you’re concerned about fat content or the other ingredients in the sauce.
Another reason we like this sauce
Garden Fresh is a company that is very concerned about employing earth friendly business practices. It packages its products in recyclable containers. It sends its vegetable scraps to local farms, which uses them for composting. Edible products that don’t get sold are sent to food banks. Garden Fresh even donates its used tortilla chip oil for use in biodiesel fuel. Currently, their oil helps fuel four school buses at Michigan Technical Academy.
I’m not sure how widely available Garden Fresh products are. According to the company’s official Web site, the company was started when the president of an upscale supermarket chain tasted the salsa made by Garden Fresh founders Jack and Annete Aronson and demanded that they package it for sale in his stores. The Aronsons don’t mention the upscale supermarket chain by name, but I’m betting it’s Whole Foods. If you don’t have a Whole Foods nearby, you might not be able to find it. It doesn’t appear that the company sells it directly from their Web site.
As long as there’s a Whole Foods near us, I think we’ll be buying this garlic sauce. It’s really a tasty and convenient product. I would just caution those who do use it to be mindful of the fat content. Garden Fresh Lebanese Style Garlic Sauce is an all natural, high quality product, but it is not a low calorie food by any means!
For more information: www.gardenfreshsalsa.com