By Carie Birkmeier EBS Staff
1610_ebs_blueaproncosting_print

I will do absolutely anything to avoid grocery shopping. While attending college in Marquette, Michigan, I used to frequent the 24-hour grocery store around midnight just to avoid the aisle hoggers, sluggish walkers and whining children. I’ve even been known to order non-perishables via Amazon Prime.

When I do go grocery shopping, it’s an in-and-out process. I even write my shopping list in the order that the grocery store is organized so I don’t have to backtrack. There is no browsing involved.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I graduated from culinary school and cooked professionally for a short time, before realizing that the fast-paced environment of a restaurant kitchen was not for me. Coming from a kitchen with countless ingredients to a sparsely stocked home pantry has taken a toll on my culinary creativity—not to mention my wallet.

Living in Big Sky is a blessing, but it comes at a premium price, whether it’s cost of living or groceries. When it comes to purchasing food, what makes more sense: driving an hour each way to save money shopping in Bozeman, or saving time by shopping at a local grocer? Regardless of where I shop, without proper planning, some of the food I buy will likely be wasted.

I was almost to a point where I thought ordering or eating out a few times a week would be easier and more cost and time efficient than making the drive to Bozeman.

Until I heard about Blue Apron.

Each week, this grocery and meal service delivers portioned ingredients and recipes straight to your doorstep, with free shipping. I started this plan the third week of September, and love the freshness and quality of the service.

Meals come with a protein, vegetable, starch, and sauce or garnish. On average, the meals take about 30 minutes to prepare, each incorporating a surprising featured ingredient, like freekeh. This ancient grain is a type of wheat that is harvested by drying and then burning off the chaff and stalks, leaving behind a toasted collection of freekeh seeds.

I boiled and strained this unusual grain, which was accompanied by Basque-style cod and a sweet pepper-tomato sauce, and topped with a relish of chopped almonds, parsley and garlic.

Other meals I’ve tried include pork chops with spicy chow-chow, seared chicken with caramelized vegetables and mashed potatoes, and crispy salmon with orzo, green beans and cucumber salad. Each meal is accompanied by a thorough recipe sheet that provides detailed photography, tools needed and tips on technique.

The ingredients come portioned appropriately so that there is no waste—part of Blue Apron’s initiative to contribute to a more sustainable food system. According to their website, a striking 40 percent of food in America is wasted. By supporting producers practicing regenerative farming and sustainable fishing processes, the company is making strides towards reducing the large carbon footprint of the food industry.

Blue Apron is a convenient, affordable way to eat healthy and interesting meals at home, while learning about ingredients and trying new recipes. I plan on continuing this service for the foreseeable future, and can’t wait to see the next shipment arrive at my doorstep.

Blueapron.com $60/week, free shipping (Three meals for two equals $10/serving)