03 Feb Blue Apron Review: First impressions
Cooking is usually the first thing to fall off my domesticity to-do list. I really love good food, and I enjoy cooking. It’s a creative challenge, and I love a creative challenge. But come 5 o’clock, when I’ve been awake nearly 12 hours parenting and working and managing all the stuff of life, the thought of planning a meal with ingredients I actually have in my pantry is just overwhelming. I typically fall back on my list of easy one-pot meals or whip up some scrambled eggs with whatever vegetables we have in the drawer.
So you can imagine how excited I was when my aunt gifted us with several weeks of Blue Apron meals (Thanks, Suzie!). A lot of people have asked about our experience so far, so I thought I’d write a little review. (Note: Blue Apron has NOT provided us any incentive to review their product. I’m offering my honest opinion to help those who might be considering a service like this).
How it works: Blue Apron sends you exact proportions of every ingredient you’ll need to make gourmet meals for 2 to 4 people. You can specify how many meals per week you want, and skip weeks anytime. You don’t get to select the recipes, but you can specify a few dietary preferences, like no fish or vegetarian. (You can’t, however, specify things like gluten-free or no dairy.)
Your ingredients arrive in a refrigerated box, with detailed instructions on how to prepare each meal.
We’ve been at it for a month now, and it’s been a fun addition to our routine. The kids are excited to see what’s in the box each week, which means they’re excited to help cook and to taste the final dishes too. As a result, they’ve tried (and enjoyed) a few exotic flavors they would normally reject, like blood orange roasted salmon with an avocado mint salsa and couscous salad.
The ingredients are sourced carefully, and while it’s not all organic, Blue Apron utilizes small family farms and all natural, hormone-free meats.
Most of the recipes are easy enough that I’d make them again…the kids especially loved “chicken under a brick” with gravy, broccolini, and roasted potatoes. Where it makes sense, I’ve modified the recipes for convenience, to save time. For instance, Blue Apron recommended boiling the broccolini and then sauteing it, but I skipped the boiling (it was crisp and flavorful). I also bought a jar of minced garlic and a microplane for all the mincing and zesting the recipes require.
Downside? At roughly $8 – $10 per person per meal (depending on what plan you choose), it’s pricey when compared to what I spend on groceries (and I buy mostly organic). And the recipes are time consuming. I’m no chef, but I’m fairly experienced in the kitchen, and it takes me about an hour to prepare each meal, even when the recipe says 25-35 minutes. There’s a lot of clean-up too.
That said, each Blue Apron meal is cheaper than the cost of eating out, and the portions are generous. We usually have enough left over for Kris to take lunch to work the next day. And part of what you’re paying for is the convenience of someone else planning your meals and shopping for you.
Final verdict? Thumbs up. It’s definitely gotten me out of my one-pot-meal rut. I don’t think we’ll use it every week, but I plan to keep my account active for those weeks I’m on a tight deadline and don’t have time to shop or meal plan. And I’ll continue to make the kids’ favorite Blue Apron recipes for years to come, I’m sure.