Reminder – I’m not getting compensated for this post in any manner. I shelled out the money from my own pocket just to try out the Blue Apron service for fun.
My last Blue Apron meal was Moroccan Beef Tagine with Dates and Honey.
I think, of the three meals, this was my least favorite. But I’m not trying to say that it tasted bad or anything like that. If anything, I feel like it could have been better. It might have been the cooking process. It’s still a good dish, but the ground beef was really fatty and the fat dulled the flavors some. On the other hand, the couscous absorbed most of the fat so at least I wasn’t left with a greasy feeling. Too bad I’m not much of a couscous fan. (But Israeli couscous is pretty yum.) If I were to make this dish again, I would cook the ground beef first, then set it aside and tip out the extra fat. The original instructions also say to add the vegetable stock and 1 cup of water but I made the executive decision to leave out the 1c of water. It would have made it way too watery, and probably would have only diluted the flavor some more. (Although, I probably would need the extra moisture if the extra fat were removed.)
It was a sweeter recipe than I expected it to be. With the prunes and dates, I’m not really sure the honey was needed but I guess that’s more of a preference. I tend to think tagines should be highly spiced in flavor. I took a little longer cooking this dish because I wanted my carrots to be soft-ish.
Anyway, my overall impression of Blue Apron is quite favorable.
Pros: It’s a great way to experiment with cooking different dishes. You can select a “meat/seafood” account or a “vegetarian” account. Every dish is pre-measured to be two servings. It’s not cheap, but it’s the cheapest food delivery service I’ve seen so far at $9.99 per serving. Every week, there are three different dishes to make. The recipe card is very easy to read and easy to follow along. The packaging tries to be environmentally friendly. The insulation in the box are ThermoKeeper liners which are biodegradable. The ice packs are Nordic Ice packs, which are reusable and also biodegradable. Plus, Blue Apron tried it’s best to give you quality products that are locally sourced. (Well, locally sourced to them. I don’t live in NYC.)
Cons: If you don’t live in Manhattan, then your box is shipped to you via FedEx. You are at the mercy of FedEx. As sad cat macro from an earlier post indicates, I was not having fun with this. Unfortunately, Blue Apron doesn’t automatically notify you of your FedEx tracking number. Fortunately, Blue Apron does respond to their emails and we were able to track my shipment pretty easily. The only other thing that I don’t like about Blue Apron is that, technically, it’s a subscription service. It will automatically charge and ship me boxes if I don’t opt out of that week. You can cancel your account at any time, but, as a general rule, I don’t think you should have to opt out. I think it’s a better practice to have customers to opt in. And for picky eaters (which is me sometimes), Blue Apron notifies you a week ahead what the next menu is. So, if you don’t like it, you have some wiggle room to opt out (or opt back in if you do like it and you had already scheduled to skip a delivery).
So, I’m going to keep my account for now. It’s not something I’m going to do every week, but maybe once a month? We’ll see. I’m also wondering if I should change my delivery date from Wednesday to Friday, but I’m not sure if that’s any better for my schedule if there’s a late delivery again.