I suffer from a problem not yet labeled by science. I call it: Newneedtotryititis. Read slowly it should sound something like this, New? Need to try it! -itis. (Note: The -itis is merely an ornament to make this actually sound like a real thing). I find myself unnecessarily excited by things such as new coffee flavors, new restaurants, new clothing stores, new styles, new candy bars—basically if there is a retail item that exists and someone has made a new version of it, I want to try it!
I suppose it should not be a surprise then that I became easily intrigued when home meal delivery services started popping up in the magazines I read and in internet advertisements. I knew it was just a small matter of time before I would find it no longer avoidable to keep from trying them out. But which one to try? Among the many that stalked me were HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Plated, and even one specifically for super-food smoothies: Green Blender.
With each advertisement I viewed, it became increasingly more difficult to avoid caving in and giving this new method of dinner a try.
I held strong until finally one of Lance’s coworkers offered to give us a free trial of Blue Apron. If you are a continual customer, Blue Apron will let you invite your friends to try a week’s delivery for free.
Here is one of many reasons why this post is highly related to this blog: Location for delivery. I love the town where I live. It is the essence of Jersey. It is one of the places that makes Jersey beautiful. However, my town isn’t one of the more populated or popular towns in New Jersey. We are the kind of town that gets excited for something new like Fios Internet, only to learn that they don’t service our area. Our closest grocery store is a ten minute drive…in fact most places are at least a ten minute drive, if not more. As I scheduled my food delivery, I prepared myself for the let down of a blinking error message reading, “Sorry, we do not service your area”. No such message appeared, so I eagerly went ahead and scheduled my food delivery as if it were something far more exciting than dinner that I was having delivered to my home.*
*Important note on scheduling: If you decide to start Blue Delivery home delivery service, make sure not to only schedule your first delivery, but to look ahead to future deliveries. When you sign up for a delivery, they automatically schedule you to receive a shipment every week on that same delivery day. The only way to change this is to go into the Blue Apron delivery calendar in your account and to manually deselect the scheduled dates and only select the dates you want.
The window of delivery times (8 am to 8 pm) seems ridiculously huge, but the packaging is designed so that you don’t need to be home when your food is delivered. While this is hard to believe, I can attest that they put plenty of heavy duty ice packs around the meats to ensure they do not go bad during this time frame. We have had three different Blue Apron shipments. Our first, we were home for, came around 12:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon. The next shipment I thoughtlessly scheduled while we were out of town, so my brother picked it up for me. Our third shipment we were at Special Olympics all day and weren’t home to get it into our fridge until around 3 pm. The ice packs were only slightly melted, and the meats were in perfect condition. The box is truly a makeshift refrigerator. Even items not directly in contact with the ice packs stay cool during the delivery window.
All wonderful things, especially wonderfully convenient things, come with a price tag. I have found Blue Apron to be the cheapest meal delivery service currently available. The 2-person plan includes three meals and costs $59.94/$9.99 per serving. The 4-person plan includes four meals* and costs $139.84/$8.74 per serving. Shipping is free.
*Two meals can also be ordered for the 4-person at the same per serving price.
Quality of Ingredients
What impressed me the most about Blue Apron was the quality and organization of the ingredients. Each item comes in its own individual container or bag. The vegetables are incredibly fresh, and the meats are high quality. As with all fresh foods, they will not last much longer than a week. We have made some of our meals just a few days short of a week and they have still come out delicious!
Ease in Preparation
I’m not going to lie and say that Blue Apron meals take little to no time to prepare. Then again, who would think that Turkey Kibbeh and Chicken Piccata would be super fast meals to make? On average, the meals I received took me about an hour from start to finish. What makes the whole process so wonderful is that everything is already prepped for you. Your ingredients are separated and measured (and if you’re like me, you separated your ingredients according to their meal in your fridge when your delivery came). All that is needed is to wash the veggies, chop anything that needs chopping, and cook! I wish every meal I make at home could be as simple as a Blue Apron meal.
The recipe cards make it almost fool proof for anything to go wrong. My favorite thing is that most recipes involve only one pan for cooking. After making a few Blue Apron meals, I realized that I have been dirtying way too many pans while cooking. A paper towel and a good wipe down is often all that is needed in order to use the same pan for the following step in a recipe.
Taste and Portion Size
Blue Apron meals need to be simple enough for anyone to make. They also need to be able to feed the number of people advertised. I have found that our meals for two are almost always more than enough for us. In many cases, we had a little bit leftover. Regarding taste, I think that all depends on the quality of food with which you are most familiar. I often make a lot of extraordinary meals for at home eating. So I found one or two of the Blue Apron meals to be a little less flavorful than I would have desired. However, in that same breath, I found a handful of meals to be exactly in line with the quality of flavor I often cook to.
My favorite meals have included:
- Flat Iron Steaks with Ramps, Fingerling Potatoes & Shaved Asparagus Salad
- Chicken Piccata with Fresh Linguine Pasta & Garlic Chives
- Salmon Burgers with Crème fraîche Sauce, Arugula & Potato Salad
Overall, I found that Blue Apron is perfect for a few different kinds of people. Obviously, first and foremost, it is perfect for the person with a busy work schedule. If going to the grocery store is difficult for you, or you dread thinking about and planning what to cook for dinner, especially after a long day at work, you might just fall in love with Blue Apron. It is also perfect for the person who lives alone. Cooking for one can be a bit of a difficulty. You don’t want to cook too much or you might not even want to bother with cooking just for yourself. A Blue Apron delivery makes it so that the person who lives alone can cook an easy meal for dinner, then have a leftover portion for lunch the next day! Lastly, Blue Apron is perfect for the person who is a novice cook. Arepas de Carne Molida with Avocado & Pickled Jalapeno sound hard to make? Wouldn’t dream of tackling Rice Flake-Cristed Hake with Sauteed Daikon Radish and Yuzu-Soy Sauce? They are both Blue Apron meals that I was able to make with extreme ease. Blue Apron meals are the perfect crash course in cooking. The cook need not worry about the task of first shopping for all the strange, and sometimes unusual, ingredients because they are brought directly to their doorstep. The recipe cards with step-by-step directions and pictures leave no questions or worries to be made.
If it weren’t for the fact that I love looking up recipes on my own or that for some strange reason grocery store visits excite me, I would certainly continue a Blue Apron subscription. While I have currently put my account on hold for these reasons, I sense that in the future I may choose to randomly schedule a few Blue Apron deliveries, just to spice up my week.