I’m working on a comprehensive review of meal box delivery services. The idea came to me after receiving numerous discount codes from multiple companies. I’m sure you’ve received these, too, and noticed they usually apply to the first delivery only; after that the meals can get quite expensive.
I thought, “Why don’t I just do a different subscription every week?” At that rate I can get at least a few weeks of discounted food!
That comprehensive review is in the works; this is a review of my first trial run: Blue Apron. In this post I’ll describe my experience with my first box and recipe.
**Please note, this review is entirely my own opinion. Blue Apron is unaware I am writing this post and they have not influenced this review in any way.
Our First Box
I was so excited for my box to arrive! I found it sitting on my (dusty) front step. I was a bit worried because it sat there for over 5 hours on an 80 degree day. It was in the shade, though, and the company insists the contents are well insulated and OK to sit for a few hours.
The ingredients were indeed cool (equivalent to the temperature of my refrigerator.)
Pictured are the complete contents. My husband was disappointed to learn that much of the heft of the box comes from blocks of ice; there’s not as much food as you expect from hauling it inside. Pictured are all the ingredients for our two meals along with the recipe cards and packaging.
Our First Recipe
The first night I made Salmon Burgers with Smoky Potatoes. I wouldn’t call myself an experienced or knowledgeable chef but I am used to making recipes from scratch and I am comfortable trying almost anything. That said, I was a bit intimidated seeing a skin-on salmon filet accompanied by a “salmon burger” recipe. How was I going to turn that into burgers?!
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The included recipe card comes with simple step-by-step instructions. By simple I mean “put an oven rack in your oven before preheating it” kind of simple. They leave nothing out. You really can’t mess this up.
My recipe started with the potatoes. Right away I was impressed at the quality of the produce. I am PICKY about my produce and this was the biggest reason I have hesitated to try meal box delivery companies. Instructions say to wash them but as you can see, they were already quite clean upon delivery (I washed them anyway, just to be sure.)
My excitement was quickly tempered when I sliced open my first potato, only to reveal a big black spot in its center. “Oh no! These beautiful potatoes will all be rotten!”
As you can see, the others were fine.
To be fair to Blue Apron, I could easily have selected the black potato myself had I plucked it from a grocery store bin. It was beautiful, firm, and unblemished on the outside – no external indicators of rot. I only wished they would have given a “baker’s dozen” quantity (you know, an extra just in case one goes bad.)
I then seasoned the potatoes and put them in to bake. I proceeded to mix the tartar sauce, mince the garlic clove, slice the hamburger buns, and prepare the salmon to pan fry.
The patty just has a bit of salt and pepper; the pan is lightly oiled with olive oil. I heated the filet for a few minutes/side (not enough to thoroughly cook, but enough to prepare it into hamburger patties.)
The next steps are simple: flake the fish, mix with remaining ingredients, and form into 2 patties. Then, just pan fry them. By now the potatoes are done and the meal is ready to assemble.
And voila! A complete meal for 2, prepared from “scratch” in 30 minutes.
I had no idea I could create salmon burgers from a fresh filet, complete with sauce and seasoned potatoes, in that amount of time! The easy-to-follow instructions and pre-measured ingredients made this a breeze.
A Few More Comments
- Blue Apron has a unique option which allows you to subscribe to wine deliveries, too. They pair each recipe with a perfect wine, or give a bit of guidance for creating your own pairing (eg the above recipe was to be paired with something “zesty & tropical.”) I thought the wine delivery was too expensive but it’s a nice feature that stands out for this company.
- Many people are concerned with recycling. There is some waste, but the company also provides instructions to recycle their packaging.
- As stated previously, the instructions are simple. If you’re struggling, though, Blue Apron has handy videos online and on their app. They also have a section called “Tips From Our Customers” where you can join social media discussions with others who have made the same recipe.
- We thought the meal size was perfect but we generally don’t eat large portions. You may want to supplement your meal with a side salad or some dessert.
So what was the verdict?
My husband and I agreed the meal was delicious (albeit a bit bland for his taste, but perfect for my anti-spice Norwegian palette.) We will definitely create this meal again. It will most certainly be cheaper to buy the ingredients ourselves.
We also agreed that we enjoyed the boxed delivery. It’s not an everyday solution for us, due to cost, but seemed like a fun date-night idea and a simple way to learn something new in the kitchen.
Overall, we were impressed with Blue Apron and will likely order from them in the future.
So, what do you think? Have you ordered from Blue Apron? What was your experience? Let me know your thoughts below.