reconfirming that all USDA, FDA and the
more rigorous Costco specifications are met.
comparison between Kirkland Signature fro-
What’s old is never sold as new
I know suppliers are not required to list
the harvest year on their frozen berry products and may sneak in older stock. I ask
Leanne about Costco’s policy.
She reports, “We never buy old fruit or
stockpile fruit to save money for Kirkland
Signature frozen berries. Each year is a new
Leanne hands me a recently completed
zen fruits (and vegetables) were nutritionally
comparable to the raw versions.
Kirkland Signature 6
Private Selection 4
Market Pantry 4
COUN TRY OF ORIGIN
Triple Berries Retailer A
Kirkland Signature 4
Private Selection 1
Market Pantry 3
USA and Chile
USA and Chile
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
*Ingredients are required to be listed in order of predominance; raspberries and blueberries are the most expensive ingredients, something to keep in mind when comparing brands.
Prices may vary due to shipping. Comparison shop took place on July 21, 2011 in Issaquah, Washington.
Kirkland Signature frozen strawberries are also
stricter than USDA Grade A requirements.)
I count five points of inspection from
the field to final pack, including a seven- to
10-day test and a hold after freezing to confirm berry quality and safety. Brad knows of
no other retailer requiring this extra quality-assurance step.
At the processing plant, the just-picked
berries are washed and repeatedly hand- and
machine-sorted before being individually
quick-frozen (IQF) in a quick-freeze tunnel.
Freezing is a natural preservation method
and IQF its star performer. This more expensive process preserves the integrity of delicate
foods such as berries by sealing in juices,
maintaining the original shape of each berry,
locking in important nutrients and providing
less potential for microbial growth.
Commitment to quality
Growers of Kirkland Signature frozen
berries are required to follow strict guidelines
and labor practices. All berries are traceable
from the warehouse back to the field, continuously quality tested and required to pass pesti-cide-residue tests. (Test scores always show
lower levels than what the Food and Drug
Administration [FDA] and the Environmental
Protection Agency deem acceptable.)
If there is ever an issue, Costco is capable
of quickly identifying where the product
came from, when it was packed and where it
Independent third-party micro-testing is
conducted on a myriad of issues. No berries
are shipped without a clean bill of health.
An additional safeguard is Costco’s in-
house quality-assurance laboratory, which
randomly pulls bags from warehouse freezers,
zen whole strawberries, at $1.50 per pound,
and another, higher-priced brand.
Health to warm your heart
Toward the end of our visit we talk about
the nutritional attributes of frozen berries.
Brad reports, “Frozen berries are just as
healthy for you as fresh.”
He is correct, as proven by the FDA in
1998 when they found single-ingredient fro-
YOU CAN KEEP healthful and colorful
Kirkland Signature frozen berries at
your fingertips year-round. Here are a
few ways to use them:
■ Grab a handful and whirl them
■ Throw them on instant oatmeal
(before microwaving), yogurt
or ice cream.
■ Stir into cake, pancake or
■ Keep berries handy as dieting aids
and sore-throat pacifiers.
■ Hide a secret stash in the freezer for
late-night foraging (shhh).
per cup and kosher certification by BCK.
At just 50 calories per cup, Kirkland
Signature strawberries, available in a
6-pound bag, are also an excellent source of
vitamin C (one serving has more vitamin C
than an orange) and a good source of fiber.
(Both items are certified kosher and packaged in BPA-free, resealable poly bags.)
Leanne mentions receiving emails from
members who find it hard to believe sugar is
not added to the frozen berries, because even
their juices taste sweet. She replies to them all
by simply stating, “If you pick quality fruit
you don’t need anything else.” C
Here’s a great recipe for a berry
crisp: Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour a
4-pound bag of frozen Kirkland Signature
Rader Farms Nature’s Three Berries in
an 11 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Cut
together ¾ cup ( 1½ cubes) room-temper-ature butter, 1½ cups flour and 1½ cups
sugar, and sprinkle mixture over berries
to cover as much as possible. Bake until
berries are bubbling and topping is
slightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Serves 8 to 12 depending on appetites.
Serve in bowls with Kirkland Signature
vanilla ice cream. (Thanks to my friends
Susan Hathaway and Kerry Comunale
for this great serving idea.)
These frozen berries are also available through Costco.com’s Business
Delivery program and at Costco’s eight
Stay tuned: More Kirkland Signature
frozen fruits are in the works.—PV