Tag Archives: Mushrooms

Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend at Costco: Product Review

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am a fan of Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, and always try to review these products before others. It is with some element of surprise, and a little bit of regret, that I discovered that a staple of my freezer, the Kirkland Signature Stir-Fry Frozen Vegetable Blend had disappeared from my local Costco, only to be replaced by the Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir Fry Blend.

Now, my reasons for liking frozen vegetables are much the same now as they were in the summer of 2014 when I wrote my review of the Costco frozen vegetables (which you can read through the above link). The convenience, price and taste are generally unmatched, and numerous studies have shown that frozen vegetables retain their vitamins and nutritional value just as well as fresh ones.

The reason for the switch, I believe, is caused by the reduced value of the Canadian dollar compared to the US currency; the price of the Kirkland Signature – made in the USA – had been rising steadily before the product was removed from the shelves. I think that the perceived value to Costco members was now too low compared to what it had been. Maybe sales had dropped. Who knows. Here is the product that took its place!

Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend at Costco

Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend at Costco

According to the nutritional information sheet printed on the package, each serving is 85 grams, meaning that there are 23.5 servings per bag.

  • Item name: Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend
  • Bag size: 2 kilos (2,000 grams)
  • Price of bag: $6.99 (Canadian dollars)
  • Serving Size: 85 grams
  • Servings per bag: 23.5
  • Cost per serving: just under 30 cents

This compares advantageously to the Kirkland Signature mix, which cost 34 cents per serving, when it was at the original price, but there is one thing that is disappointing: the quality seems to have gone down. Check out a typical bowl:

Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend at Costco (detail)

Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend at Costco (detail)

Compared to the Kirkland Signature blend, you can see that the pieces of vegetables are smaller, and unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t get better when you get to the ingredients list (in order of importance):

  • Sugar snap peas
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Water Chestnut
  • Baby corn
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Yellow Onions

While the ingredients list are quite similar, you’ll notice, as I did, that the mushrooms are common white mushrooms, not whole shiitake mushrooms as in the Kirkland blend, which is sad. I like shiitake mushrooms.

On a positive note, my wife likes these a lot more than the Kirkland Signature blend, which she found tasted a bit too much like the freezer. Maybe its just the way that I cook them, however. I find it challenging to get just the right texture when cooking frozen vegetables, a hit-or-miss kind of thing.

The¬†Arctic Garden Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend, now available at Costco for $6.99 in 2 kilogram bags, is packaged in Canada, presumably from local and imported produce. This can in great part explains why it has remained so affordable in a period of economic uncertainty and the loss of value of the Canadian dollar. In any case, I’ll be stocking up. It’s cheap, delicious – except for the missing shiitake mushrooms – and nutritious, and my wife likes it!

Ortocori Grilled Italian Mushrooms at Costco

I’m at Costco *very* often, as you might have guessed by the recurring theme of this blog, and I’m an absolute sucker for a deal. Especially when it’s a Costco 97 cents deal!

Ortocori Grilled Seasoned Italian Mushrooms in Oil (Costco)

Ortocori Grilled Seasoned Italian Mushrooms in Oil (Costco)

If you don’t know what that is, let me explain: anything at Costco that is priced ending in .97 instead of .49, .79, .99 or anything else is being liquidated. It’s cheap. So I look for prices ending in that denomination quite a bit.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Ortocori Grilled (and seasoned) Italian Mushrooms, in Oil, for … $0.97 per jar! That is a super discount. If memory serves, these mushrooms sold for close to $8 a jar at the height of their popularity. So I did what any normal person would do in such a situation.

I bought 8 jars.

Now the thing is, I had never even tasted these mushrooms before buying them. I saw the price, and decided that even should these mushrooms prove to be disgusting, I’d only be less than $10 down.

The verdict: these mushrooms are delicious, and besides citric acid, which is included as an ingredient for conservation purposes, these grilled mushrooms are free of disgusting chemicals. Here are the ingredients:

  • White mushrooms
  • Sunflower oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Citric Acid
  • Herbs and Spices

These mushrooms are delicious cold, right out of the jar, and can also be lightly sauteed – no need to add oil! – to be served with a warm dish. One note of caution, however, and my only mildly negative comment about these mushrooms: make sure you drain them carefully before ingesting, as they are thoroughly soaked and dripping of oil. If you eat them too quickly, you’ll rapidly get a nasty “oil overload” feeling. Not the best.

Let me tell you, however, that at this price Р97 cents a jar at Costco Р these Ortocori Seasoned Grilled Mushrooms in Oil, made with freshly picked Italian mushrooms, were an absolute steal, and are always a hit when I take them out at dinner parties.