Now that Blue Apron is struggling mightily and likely to fail, it’s probably time to tell you about our brief experience with this meal kit delivery service. I really had no interest, but a friend at work offered me one of her free trials so, hey, free food. We gave it a spin, taking the free kit and (spoiler) cancelling after being suitably unimpressed.I’ll say two things about the packaging. First, they do a pretty good job with it. We got our kit (2 meals sized for a family of four) in summer and everything was decently cool when I got home from work and brought it in. I opened the cardboard box, and inside was an insulated package. Two large freezer packs, like GIANT freezer packs, were mostly melted but had done their job. I whipped out my trusty laser thermometer and took some readings, especially of the one item I was most worried about, the chicken, and it was all well within acceptable limits. I wouldn’t have wanted it to sit out much longer, but the chicken was still as cool as if it were in our fridge, so it was fine. Unlike what some have reported, everything was in good shape, including our “heirloom tomato” in its own special little container that would make any high school science class ‘egg drop’ contestant proud (you can see it in the lower right of the photo below). They forgot something, an herb or something, but it wasn’t a big deal. I kept the box, insulation, and one of the freezer packs as they can easily be reused to make a decent makeshift cooler. Sadly one of the freezer packs sprung a leak, it would have been nice to keep.
The veggies were all in quite good shape. The first of the two meals we got were chicken souvlaki pitas. Very straightforward, so I knew we’d like them. The roasted potato wedges were OK as a side, but I was merely reminded that I prefer cubes, they cook better. The second was an intriguing choice – summer squash and cheese empanadas with a corn and pepper salad. These turned out really good, although there was quite a lot of prep work. The hour they said it would take took at least 90 minutes, maybe closer to 120. And it’s not like I’m a novice in the kitchen. There was just a LOT of prep work. The actual assembly and cooking wasn’t bad.Obviously I dug in before I took a picture, but, oh well. The salad was OK (but I’ll likely never be a big fan of cold corn), but colorfully lacking only because they substituted a yellow pepper for the red. Didn’t have a negative impact on the flavor. The empanadas were a big hit, so much so that I bought some empanada wrappers to try them again (although maybe not with squash until next year when they’re back in season). The crema topping with finger limes was a little twee but fun, especially since I’ve never been exposed to finger limes before, they’re kind of hilarious to work with.
Anyway, I felt no desire to continue with Blue Apron. I’m not one to get all worked up over excessive packaging, but there was certainly a lot of it. The recipes seem decent, but a lot of work, a lot more work than I would think a lot of people are interested in who are pursuing food kits. I don’t mind the work, but only when I’m making something I’m sure I’ll like. So, again, back to just cooking from scratch for myself. I just can’t find a way to justify it. Their recipes, though, are pretty good and online, so I will admit to grabbing a few of those for future use, although I’ll likely edit them to match our tastes…which means using my own ingredients, not the specific ones shipped to us. If you are relying on a box of food, that’s pretty much all you can make.