A good friend recommended Blue Apron and I thought I’d give it a shot. We’ve gotten four boxes, each with two dinners in them and I feel like that’s a fair trial, so here’s my Blue Apron review with what I like and what I don’t like about the meal delivery kit service that ships you all the ingredients you need to make pre-selected recipes at home.
What I like about Blue Apron
A large box appears on my door step with pretty much everything I need to make two dinners that I’ve selected from four different options for the week. No shopping is needed, and that’s nice.
No Food Waste
The Blue Apron box has exactly what the recipe calls for, so you aren’t buying a big bottle of an ingredient to use in a recipe that calls for only a small amount. I’ve been reading that Americans waste a ton of food, and that hasn’t been the case whenever we’ve had a Blue Apron meal.
You guys know I love my fun facts, and I was so pleased to know that Blue Apron shares my affinity and includes a fun fact sheet in each box. Who knew that “rosemary” litrally translate to “dew of the sea” in Latin? Or that the eau de cologne Napoleon Bonaparte wore was made with rosemary? Apparently, the folks at Blue Apron knew.
I had never cooked with Yu Choy, nor did I know it existed, really, but it was sent as a replacement for Bok Choy in our Seared Steaks & Peanut Noodles meal, and it was good. I also have been afraid of making a peanut sauce like that called for in that recipe, and it was surprisingly easy. Each meal comes with the recipe so I can make it again on my now. It seems I’m not alone, as Chef Sarah Moulton said she gets bored cooking dinner every night and found the kits to be a fun way to switch things up in this New York Times article.
Out of My Cooking Rut
I know I’m not the only one who has a stable of recipes that are my default options at the end of a long day. Blue Apron got me out of that. Even something as simple as arugula can brighten up the menu quite a bit.
Not only did it introduce some new flavors, I’ve tried a few new techniques. So far, I have no burned the house down, and my kitchen confidence has grown a bit.
What I Do Not Like about Blue Apron
When I picked up my first box, I was surprised at how heavy it was. Turns out that there were more than 10 pounds of ice packs in there. Makes sense given that they’re shipping ingredients that require refrigeration. And there are lots of little plastic containers for the smaller ingredients. Blue Apron’s website has a page dedicated to recycling instructions. For the ice packs, it says, “Let the ice packs thaw, cut off a corner, and empty the water-based solution into the trash. Recycle the exterior with your plastics.”
I’m not a tree hugger, but 10 pounds of ice pack trash for just two meals feels like a lot, and certainly more than I would have produced if purchasing the items myself at the store. It’s hard to feel great about that.
Each box cost $70. (Well, $69.92, to be exact.) With eight servings in each box (but see below for thoughts on that), it is less than $10 per serving, which is good, but more expensive than the vast majority of meals I make at home. It’s probably on par with or ever so slightly cheaper than eating out, and healthier. But still, it’s a bite on the food budget.
While the garganelli pasta with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella and orange salad was yummy, it didn’t feel like a $35 dinner, and if I’m making a pasta dinner, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than that.
No Left Overs
This is a corollary to the “no food waste” above, but I sometimes like to cook a double batch so that we have another dinner later in the week. Or I just enjoy having left overs for lunch the next day. That’s not happening here. It’s just not an option. And we’re a family of three. I would worry that the serving size intended for four may not be enough for a family with growing teens, who can eat A LOT.
It’s Time Intensive
While there is fun in spending time in the kitchen trying new recipes, sometimes my schedule doesn’t always allow for a full 45 minutes to an hour of just cooking, especially on a weeknight. (Some were a little shorter than that but several meals took 45 minutes according to the recipe card, and I’m probably a little slower than that.) There’s a fair amount of prep work in some of the recipes.
My deliveries arrived on Wednesday and I wanted to cook them while they were fresh, but it was better when I shifted to a Friday deliver so I could cook on the weekend. Still, it’s not fast. It’s not intended to be.
For me and my family, Blue Apron is a service that we enjoy every now and then, but not every single week. What about you? Have you tried Blue Apron or a similar meal kit service? Have you enjoyed it? Please share your experience and thoughts in the comments!
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