For Christmas this year, my parents gifted my husband and me a gift card to Blue Apron. For those unfamiliar, Blue Apron is a food subscription service that delivers a recipe and all the necessary ingredients to your front door. The service highlights their GMO, organic foods for optimum ingredients and health. After the holidays wound down and my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier kicked in, I — a novice cook — gave it a shot. This was my experience.
The first step in the Blue Apron adventure is to go online and pick your serving size: 2-person or family. The balance ends up approximately $49.99 for two dishes per week for two people. As it is just my husband and I, I opted for the 2-person meal and was directed to the fun part:picking the recipes.
While the site features weekly recipes, customers are given the option to pick recipes from the cookbook. You select two recipes per week and can even schedule weeks in advance. I chose Sweet & Sour Vegetable Stir-Fry.
It took about a week from when I first ordered my meals to when they arrived at my front door. The large box contained a reflective bag inside with all ingredients individually packaged and kept cold by a massive ice block. Also inside was a sheet of paper with the title of the meal on the front, a beautiful photo of the finished product and a list of ingredients — including photos of each ingredient in case you were like me and didn’t know what baby bok choy looked like. The sheet also included approximate cook times and a wine-pairing suggestion. On the other side of the paper were the step-by-step instructions of the meal, including photos at various processes.
I strapped on my apron (which is rarely used) and removed each individually-wrapped ingredient. I was delighted to find that the small ingredients — such as soy glaze — were also included and already portioned out in a small brown bag labeled “knick knacks.”
An important note to mention is that while all ingredients are included within your bag and one of the selling points of the subscription, Blue Apron chefs should expect to provide their own olive oil, salt, pepper and other seasonings. In addition, some recipes call for grating or peeling, which means that you should be chef-enough to have those utensils in your kitchen! Thankfully, I recently got married and we received an assortment of kitchen necessities.
The recipe is broken down by category; for example, prepare the ingredients and marinate the radish, cook the rice, start the stir-fry, etc. The 40-minute approximate cook time was dead-on and the time flew by as I balanced multiple pots. As the recipe calls for washing, drying, and chopping all the vegetables beforehand, it caused less stress later on when I was finishing the rice and kicking off the stir-fry.
The recipe attempts to limit pot/pan use and calls for washing and reusing the same pot once one part of the dish is done and it is time to start another. Definitely a pro for someone who owns a fairly small dishwasher.
At the end, the recipe was fairly straightforward and downright delicious. I was fairly impressed with myself and even more impressed that the recipe made enough for lunch leftovers.
While this particular recipe seemed easy enough to replicate, I can definitely say that it would be a stretch for me to go out and buy the many, many ingredients that this dish called for. Blue Apron’s portioned collection of the fruits and veggies made a world of difference. While approximately $50 for two meals to be cooked at home sounded rather high when my husband and I were first looking at Blue Apron, knowing that it is a healthy dish and that there is enough for leftovers prompted us to give it another month! The determining factor won’t be the quality or price of Blue Apron, which we both found agreeable, but if we’d have the energy to cook full meals twice a week!
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