Over the holidays, my mother-in-law forwarded us an offer from Blue Apron for a free week of meals. Because we were constantly eating out at restaurants or other peoples' homes during the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's Eve, the Blue Apron offer fell to the back burner. After the holidays, the hustle and bustle of moving apartments, getting back to work, and slipping into my regular routine caused me to forget completely about Blue Apron.
But once I settled into my routine of work, exercise, and exploring the new side of San Francisco that I now live in, I found it increasingly difficult to get to the grocery store. It was impossible to shop during the week, and I started opting for adventures over errands on the weekends. So, after not visiting the grocery store for a solid two weeks, I decided it was time to give this Blue Apron thing a try. I was impressed with my experience from the start, and have continued to enjoy my weekly deliveries since.
Keep reading for a look into some of my favorite Blue Apron meals, the pros and cons of this service, and a sneak peek into some fun account features.
Here are a few of my Blue Apron favorites. Pictured rom left to right (click through the names for recipes): Piri-Piri Chicken Over Smashed Plantains and Collard Greens; Triple Pork Mazeman with Roasted Garlic and Pea Tips; Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Hoppy Cheddar Sauce and Sweet Potato Rounds; Chile-Blackened Cod with Epazote, Avocado, and Red Rice Salad; Pork & Tomatillo Pazole; Seared Salmon with Sorrel Salad and Creamy Barley; Pulled Chicken Mole Quesadillas; Sirloin Tip Steaks with New Potato, Asparagus, and Radish Hash.
Here's what I like about Blue Apron (the yays):
- I don't have to stress about going to the grocery store. Once a week, three meals are delivered to my doorstep. Somebody else is doing the grocery shopping for me. If I need supplemental meals, like lunch for work, or extra dinners for the remaining nights of the week, then I can go to the store. But, if I'm busy that week, I'm relieved to know that three meals are getting dropped off for me, and we can go out to eat or order in for the rest of the week if we have to.
- It's cost effective. We pay $60/week for three meals for two people, which comes down to $10/meal/person. You can't get much better pricing than that in San Francisco, whether you're eating out (on average $100/meal/two people) or dining in (typically spend $150/every 10 days on groceries).
- It's building my repertoire of recipes. I'm cooking things that I would have never dreamed of before, like Pork & Tomatillo Pazole, Beef Dukbokki, or Seared Salmon with Sorrel Salad and Creamy Spinach. Blue Apron is introducing new ingredients to me (pea tips?) and is teaching me how to cook a lot of different types of cuisine.
- It gets my husband to cook! Each meal comes with its own recipe card, which lists out ingredients and step by step instructions. The instructions help with time management, which is often one of the most important and difficult parts of cooking. The ease of knowing which ingredients to cook with, and how and when to prepare eliminates frustration and draws my husband into the kitchen to play chef.
- Portion control. My husband and I like to eat. A lot. If I cook something, it gets eaten, no matter how much food it contains (leftovers? What are those?). Blue Apron provides you with the exact measurements of food that you need for two, so you're 1) not overindulging and 2) not wasting.
- Quality. I was wary of how good the produce and meat would be, but have continued to be pleasantly surprised with the freshness and quality of everything we receive.
- Online meal selection and recipe library. You can select what meals (from a group of 6, and depending on availability) you want to receive, so long as you put in your request up to 1 week before your delivery. You can also see your delivery history, and click through each meal to find its recipe.
Here's what I dislike about Blue Apron (the nays):
- The packaging. It's a little wasteful. One big cardboard box, multiple large icepacks, and individual wrapping for every ingredient. Most of the packaging materials are recyclable, but the amount I discard into the recycling bin still makes me cringe. It'd be great if they could offer a pickup service for the big Blue Apron box that everything comes in. Oh, and the ice packs? I tried saving these for a while, but they filled my freezer. Now I just guiltily toss them away in the trash every week, and feel awful for doing so.
Here's a peek into some of the fun features in my Blue Apron Account:
This is what your account options look like. Sending free meals to your friends, checking out what you're set to receive in the coming weeks, options to change around your menu, skipping a delivery for a week, setting your preferences, and finding past recipes in your delivery history can all be easily navigated to from here.
My Plan: you can opt into a 2-person or family plan, select your M-F delivery day, let them know if you're a vegetarian, and opt out (or in!) to any dietary preferences. As you can see, we're not picky in this household:
The Delivery Schedule is where you can see what meals you'll be receiving in the coming weeks. You can also alter your menu in this section up to 1 week before your delivery.
The Delivery History is a library of all of the past meals you've received, making it easy for you to replicate any of the meals on your own. You can rate the meals, leave feedback, and click through for the online recipe cards.
So, there you have it! If you haven't been lead to a conclusion, I'll make it clear now that I've been really enjoying Blue Apron. They've got four and a half stars in my book, and if they improved their packaging, I'd give them that extra half star.
As you can see, I have five free meals to give away (3 meals are in each giveaway). This is a great way to give Blue Apron a try. Leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to receive a week of free meals!
- Contributed by Audrey R.