This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. As always, all opinions and ideas are entirely my own.
Over the past several months, I’ve written a couple of different posts that have attempted to shine a different light on meal subscription services. I think a lot of people have this idea that meal subscription boxes are a waste of money, but I disagree! The cost of them isn’t the only factor worth considering, because people sign up for meal subscriptions for many different reasons. And there are a lot of potential benefits to them that you may not have considered!
For instance, I truly believe that my experience with Blue Apron has made me a better and more confident cook. So today I want to share with you a few of the specific things I’ve learned from making Blue Apron meals, to help give you a better idea of the value of these boxes, rather than just the cost. My hope is that by the end of this post, you’ll agree that there’s more to meal subscriptions than meets the eye!
10 Cooking Skills I’ve Learned From Using Blue Apron
1. Season At Every Step
The large majority of the Blue Apron meals I’ve made have instructed me to add salt and pepper several times throughout the cooking process. It may seem like overkill, but seasoning your food this way actually helps to develop and deepen the flavors in your dish. You won’t get the same complexity if you add all of your seasonings right at the end!
2. The Importance Of Acids
Many Blue Apron recipes include some sort of vinegar or citrus juice as an ingredient. The reason for this is because acidic ingredients are an important tool in cooking! The tart and tangy flavor of acids can add brightness to a dish that might otherwise be too rich. Acids can also balance out both sweet and salty flavors.
After seeing this concept in action while cooking Blue Apron recipes, I’ve become a true believer in the importance of acids. These days I’ve always got a lemon or my trusty bottle of white wine vinegar at the ready while I’m cooking!
3. Finish With Dairy
Several of the pasta dishes I’ve made from Blue Apron call for a dairy ingredient to be added right at the end of the cooking process. Adding dairy at the end reduces the risk of curdling, and helps to keep its flavor and sweetness intact. Cooking dairy for too long will change the flavor and texture, so it’s best to just add it at the end. (The same principle applies to your crockpot recipes too!)
4. Finish Pasta In The Sauce
Another common feature of Blue Apron’s pasta recipes is that they usually recommend adding the pasta into sauce at the end to finish cooking. The extra bit of starchiness from the pasta and pasta water thickens the sauce, and the whole dish is warmed through uniformly. It’s a simple step, but it can make all the difference in your finished dish!
5. Roast Your Veggies
Sometimes the simplest thing is also the most delicious, and I definitely feel that way about roasted vegetables. Many of the Blue Apron recipes I’ve cooked feature a roasted vegetable as a side dish, and it’s so easy! You generally just chop a veggie, toss it in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven. The outside of the vegetable gets browned and crispy, and the inside gets sweet and tender. There’s nothing better!
6. Egg Preparations
I’ve never considered myself to be particularly good at cooking eggs, but feel much more confident about my egg skills thanks to Blue Apron! In the various Blue Apron recipes I’ve cooked, I’ve made fried eggs, baked eggs, soft-boiled eggs, and quiche. Making great eggs isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems. And they’re not just a breakfast food either – they’re a great addition to all kinds of meals!
7. Knife-Related Terminology
There’s a lot of mysterious lingo associated with cooking, but Blue Apron does a great job of explaining it all. Through making their recipes, I’ve learned the difference between a small, medium, and large dice (that’s dicing things in 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch cubes, respectively) as well as how those dice sizes affect cooking time. That’s one of the best parts of a Blue Apron subscription, in my opinion – you don’t just get delicious meals, you get an education too!
8. Caring For Cast Iron
In addition to providing recipe cards for your meals, Blue Apron also sends out “Extra Helpings” cards that have great cooking tips. One of the Extra Helpings cards I got a while ago was all about cast iron pans, and included step-by-step instructions on how to clean and care for them. Knowing how to care for my cast iron pan correctly definitely made me more confident in using it!
9. Prepping Specific Veggies
When cooking Blue Apron recipes, you get a lot of hands-on experience with all kinds of interesting vegetables. I love that each Blue Apron box delivers all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, in exactly the right proportions. No trips to the grocery store and, even better, no waste from unused ingredients. I can’t tell you how much produce I have been forced to throw away! (And in case you’re worried, the ingredients are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives.)
Certain vegetables, especially if you aren’t familiar with cooking them, can be intimidating. I’ve learned how to slice and clean a leek, how to remove the tough connective fibers from snap peas, and how to peel and chop a large butternut squash. There’s nothing quite like doing it yourself to give you a sense of confidence in the kitchen!
10. Cooking Grains “Pasta-Style”
Cooking grains like you cook pasta is another “trick” that’s often featured in Blue Apron recipes. I always thought that grains had to be cooked like rice – with the perfect amount of water for the perfect amount of time. However, many other grains are less temperamental than rice, so Blue Apron recommends boiling them in a pan of water (just like pasta!)
You can use this technique with quinoa, red rice, freekeh, farro, bulgur, and more! Just boil the grains, cook until perfectly al dente, then drain thoroughly in a colander. Who knew it was so easy?
And I look forward to learning even more over the next months since Blue Apron is always adding new dishes to their menu every week.
I hope I have opened your eyes to the possibilities that Blue Apron can offer! If you would like to give it a try…CLICK HERE. The first 25 readers will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order! And remember…..you can skip or cancel the service at any time!