Review of Blue Apron
I received a two-week subscription to Blue Apron as a gift. First of all – if you ever want to give me a gift, I love “subscription” type stuff – it’s so exciting and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. But enough about me; these are great gifts for just about anyone.
Overall Impression: This service is for fairly accomplished cooks who have at least an hour to make dinner and are adventurous eaters.
Cost: $60/weekly delivery. 3 meals included per week. Each meal serves 2 people. Portion size varies.
Delivery: Meals delivered sometime on Tuesday – the first week, it was almost 8pm when the box arrived but the second week, it had come by 4pm. Everything arrives in one big brown and blue box. Inside is a throw-away (or keep!) insulating material that keeps the ingredients inside cold. Opening the box feels like Christmas.
Contents: Each meal has a large recipe card that explains the meal’s ingredients and has step by step photos as well as photos of what the finished product should look like. All of the ingredients are either self explanatory (a clear plastic bag of semi-frozen chicken breasts, for example) or they are well labeled. Spices and herbs and such are organized by meal, in a separate paper bag marked “knick knacks.” This is real food, People. Whole, fresh ingredients. Very few processed items (bread crumbs, maybe?)
Meal Planning: We have a 5 year old who is not especially picky but was not interested in, say, cod over curried rice. That posed a slight challenge because it was necessary for both portion reasons and food choices to make at least one additional item. She was happy to eat the pasta dishes but since the kid can put away some noodles, I had to make extra pasta to have enough. Additionally, we typically eat at home as a 3-person family Mon-Wed. On Thursdays, my mother in law joins us. Friday-Sunday we are take-out or dine-in restaurant patrons. Blue Apron food delivery being on a Tuesday evening made the meal planning a little tricky. I was able to use almost everything with a little creativity and some additions of salad, veggies or adding to the pasta.
Cooking Process: I love cooking. I think if I was cooking for two people exactly what was in the recipes, I would have been done in under an hour. But because I was adding and mixing and matching, nearly every meal took over 90 minutes to prepare. That is a lot when you’ve already put in a full work day and have driven a total of 40 traffic-laden miles. Regardless, I LOVED this part. I was SO excited to try new recipes and use familiar ingredients in new ways. I feel like I am best friends with arugula now! How did I live without using capers on the regs? Gochugaru pepper? Yes, please! Ginger: under utilized. The radish: neglected! Green onions have previously escaped me somehow.
Examples of interesting dishes:
Arepas de carne molida (with avocado and pickled jalapeño)
This was insanely good. Basically you make a little corn cake and fry it, then saute seasoned beef to put on top, then add fresh avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro and this delicious, easy to make mixture of onions and jalapeños that you quickly pickle with vinegar and a little sugar.
Fresh Fettucini Pasta
I dream of this dish now. It’s just fresh pasta sautéed with a mix of arugula pesto (chopped arugula, lemon, garlic, parmesan and olive oil) and sugar snap peas with crushed pistachios on top. This was super good and because of extra people eating, I paired it with seared, then baked cod and some swai fish that I purchased separately. I will definitely make this again because it was a hit.
Clean Up: Oh boy. I swear I used 3-4 pots/pans per meal plus numerous mixing bowls and really made a wreck of my kitchen. It was a big mess, but worth it.
Summary: This is an amazing and very fun, exciting gift. It feels like a real luxury and an adventure.
Pros: Minimal grocery shopping that week; getting out of your eating and cooking comfort zones; high quality ingredients; everything is pre measured when possible; real, while food; totally delicious!
Cons: Delivery day (maybe you can change the day…I didn’t try.) Portion sizes are all over the place; time to prepare meals; major clean up required; too pricey for a normal practice. No mention of organic/non-gmo in the packaging or recipes (but the web site shows that some of the suppliers are organic farms and many appear to be small operations.)