Strawberry-Lemonade Cocktail with Flower Ice Cubes

Strawberry Cocktail Lead

We’re cheers-ing to spring with our favorite festive, seasonal cocktail. This take on strawberry-lemonade features three DIY components – homemade strawberry jam, pink simple syrup, and flower ice cubes – that are all delicious and beautiful on their own, but even better when served together (especially when you add vodka!)  We’re sharing the recipe for each component below so you can make this refreshing drink right in your own kitchen.

Short on time? We have a trick or two up our sleeves, so stay-tuned to the end to see a few ways to shortcut the recipe.

Strawberry-Lemonade Cocktail with Flower Ice Cubes

Strawberry Cocktail Set Up

6 Oz. Strawberries
1 Cup Sugar
½ lemon
8 Oz. Vodka
1 Cup Sugar
4 Lemons
2 Cans Soda Water
Edible Flowers


1 Cocktail shaker (or Mason Jar)
1 Ice Cube Tray


Make the Flower Ice Cubes:

In a large ice cube tray, insert 1 edible flower per space and top with hot tap water. Transfer to the freezer and freeze overnight. (Believe it or not, hot water freezes faster—weird, right?—so it yields quicker ice cubes that are more clear!)

Make the Strawberry Jam:

In a medium pot, combine 6 oz. cored and chopped strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and one pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and syrupy. Transfer the strawberry jam to a plate and spread out with a rubber spatula to cool. Transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator until ready to build your cocktail.

Make the Simple Syrup:

In the same pot used to make the strawberry jam, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to build your cocktail.

Mix Your Drink

In a tall glass, add 1 tablespoon homemade strawberry jam and top with several ice cubes. In a shaker filled with regular ice, combine 1 teaspoon homemade strawberry jam2 oz. vodka1 oz. fresh lemon juice and 1/2 oz. simple syrup. Shake until the shaker is too cold to handle. Strain into the tall glass and top off with as much soda water as you’d like.

Cheers, chefs!

Strawberry Cocktail Icecubes Final

Strawberry Cocktail Icecubes

Strawberry Cocktail Jam

Short on time? Try these tricks for a quicker strawberry-lemonade experience 

1. Pick up a jar of strawberry jam at your local market. The fewer the ingredients, the better! While we prefer homemade, we don’t always have the time.

2.  Boil water for your flower ice cubes. When it has cooled enough so that it will not to melt the plastic, add it to your ice cube tray. Submerge the flowers with a spoon. Put the tray in the freezer.

3. Don’t have time to hunt down edible flowers? You can use herbs or a bouquet of regular flowers as it is unlikely that your ice cube will melt all the way through. Just make sure to thoroughly wash everything before putting it in the ice cube tray.

Embrace the Fruitcake

For some reason, fruitcake has become a common punchline in the U.S. The idea that fruitcake is dry and bland is a misconception—not to mention a cheap joke. There are dozens of varieties of fruitcake enjoyed around the globe, all the way from the Bahamas to India. Some dense and boozy, while others are fluffy and delicately flavored. Even if you think you know everything about this seasonal dessert, we’re urging you to give it another chance. 

fruitcake recipe

Types of fruitcake 

You can find different versions of fruitcake recipes all around the world. In Germany, stollen is popular. Italy has both airy panettone and dense, sticky panforte. Most recipes rely on candied, preserved fruit. Many include brandy or rum, which keeps the cake moist and acts as a preservative. If it’s thoroughly soaked and properly wrapped, a fruit cake can last for years. 

Make a fruit cake at home with our fragrant recipe, spiked with Chai.

Holiday Fruit Cake Recipe 

holiday fruitcake ingredients

Makes one 9×5 loaf cake


  • 3 ¾ cups dried fruit*
  • 3 cups brewed Chai**
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Chai Simple Syrup (see recipe below)


Soak the dried fruit:

If necessary, roughly chop the dried fruit*. Place the chopped dried fruit in a medium nonreactive bowl. Pour the chai tea over the fruit and stir to combine. The tea should fully cover the fruit. If necessary, add more tea until fully covered. If the tea was warm, let cool to room temperature. Cover and let soak at room temperature overnight or up to 12 hours. 

Prepare the batter:

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Stir to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a separate large bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed, 2 to 3 minutes, or until fully combined. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just combined. Using a slotted spoon, add the soaked fruit to the batter***, discarding the remaining liquid. Add the pecans. Using a spatula, fold the soaked fruit and pecans into the batter. 

Bake the cake: 

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth until evenly distributed. Bake 1 hour and 25 minutes to 1 hour and 35 minutes, or until a toothpick (or cake tester) inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for about 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Place a wire rack on top of parchment paper or foil on a work surface. Run a butter knife or an offset spatula around the edges of the cake to make sure it isn’t sticking, then transfer the cake to the prepared wire rack. 

Brush & cool the cake:

Generously brush the tops and side of the warm cake with the chai simple syrup. (This will help keep it moist.) Let cool completely. Slice and enjoy. 

*Chef Tip: The kind of dried fruit you use is totally up to you! Mix and match as you’d like to result in a cake made with your favorites. This recipe was tested with ¾ cup dried cranberries, ¾ cup raisins, 1 cup dried apricots, 1 cup pitted dates, and ¼ cup crystalized ginger. You could also use dried pineapple, dried apple, dried peaches, dried figs, or dried currants. Just make sure the resulting mixture yields 3 ¾ cups dried fruit. Small fruits like cranberries and raisins don’t need chopped, but larger pieces of dried fruit like apricots or dates should be chopped down to about to the same size. 

**Chef Tip: The soaking step of fruit cake can be done with many liquids. Traditionally brandy is used. Here we used chai tea, but other options are whiskey, apple cider, apple juice, or cranberry juice. 

***Chef Tip: Do not press any of the liquid out of the fruit. It’s okay if some of the soaking liquid goes into the batter. That’s what you want, so no need to be a perfectionist here. Use the slotted spoon to help drain as you go. 

Chai Simple Syrup

Makes 1 cup syrup

  • 1 cup brewed chai tea
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

In a small pot, combine the tea and sugar. Heat on medium-high, stirring frequently, until thoroughly combined and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool. 

Note: This will make much more simple syrup than you need for just this cake, but it lasts a long time. Save the extra and use it to make cocktails or mocktails, flavor your coffee, drizzle on pancakes or waffles, or save for another baked good recipe.

For more holiday dessert ideas, check out some of our favorite cookie recipes.

Vegan Tahini Ice Cream Recipe 

vegan ice cream with tahini

Make vegan ice cream at home without an ice cream maker. This no-churn dairy-free ice cream gets its creamy texture from one of our favorite ingredients: tahini. 

Soom was founded by three sisters with the mission to share the childhood flavors that they loved with the world. As they grew up, they realized the tahini available in American grocery stores paled in comparison to the selection abroad. They decided to take matters into their own hands, and Soom was born. Today, Soom supplies all of the tahini for Blue Apron meal kids. 

Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are filled with protein and have a naturally rich flavor. A tablespoon of Soom tahini has 6 grams of protein, all from plants. 

Creamy, luscious sesame seed tahini makes a perfect base for vegan ice cream. This recipe combines tahini with coconut milk for body and swirls of sweet date syrup. It tastes a bit like traditional butter pecan ice cream, but it’s 100% vegan. Top off your bowl with pecans or chocolate chips (or both!) for an added crunch. 

No-churn vegan ice cream with tahini and date syrup 


  • 2 14 oz. cans coconut cream (if you can’t find it, you can sub full-fat coconut milk for a less creamy result)
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Soom Premium Tahini
  • 4 Tbsp Soom Silan Date Syrup, divided
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca flour (can sub cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Chopped toasted pecans and/or chocolate chips for serving, optional


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream, sugar, tahini, 2 tablespoons of the silan date syrup, tapioca flour, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, whisking frequently as the mixture comes together. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and pour in the cooled ice cream mixture. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Freeze for 3-4 hours, or until the ice cream is semi-frozen, enough to still be able to stir it around to swirl in the remaining silan date syrup. Remove from the freezer and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons silan date syrup over the ice cream. Using a knife, swirl the silan date syrup into the ice cream.
  3. Press the piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and let freeze for an additional 4-6 hours, or overnight. Once ready to eat, remove from the freezer 30 minutes or so before you want to consume, so that it’s easier to scoop. Garnish with chopped pecans and chocolate chips, if desired. Serve.

Find more dessert inspiration here.

Strawberry Garnish Ideas: 9 Ways To Decorate

fresh summer strawberries

You don’t need to be an artist to make a beautiful dessert. Try fuss-free dessert-decorating with the classic strawberry. No time to aim for a perfectly frosted and smooth cake? Don’t even worry about it. Instead, beautify your treats with already-gorgeous berries that make the sweetest part of your meal look professional and pretty – with barely any effort.

Read on for ways to decorate with strawberries. Try these strawberry-adorned dessert recipes to get started.

1. Panna Cotta with Strawberry Roses

Top creamy desserts with an elegant strawberry “rose.” Creating these edible flowers is much easier than it looks; here, a dairy-free panna cotta recipe that tastes just as rich as the classic dairy-version gets the great-looking garnish.

2. Strawberry Trifle

trifle decorated with strawberries
Decorate with strawberries for a beautiful trifle

The trifle, or a cassata, is a beautiful way to decorate with berries. The version about is made of variegated layers of halved strawberries, fluffy whipped cream, and airy angel food cake. This dessert looks decadent, but it’s light and refreshing too.

3. Chilled Strawberry Soup

Is it soup or is it dessert? Either way, this lively and smooth light pink soup can double as lunch and an after-meal treat. A floating stemmed strawberry in the center adds a touch of simple embellishment. Just blend together five ingredients and your soup is table ready.

4. Lemon Pound Cake with Mint, Berries and Cream

For a gorgeously “undone” treat, pile on the strawberries and let them fall where they may. And, the combination of flavors works too: buttery-rich lemon pound cake gets even zestier with a dollop of lemon curd, a bunch of fresh mint leaves, and those berries.

5. Yogurt Covered Strawberries

The beauty to this two-ingredient recipe is inside: Slice frozen strawberries dipped in thick vanilla Greek yogurt in half to reveal a striking color contrast.

6. Fresh Strawberry Tart

Classic tarts completely covered in strawberries provide a mouthwatering view for the eyes that just screams summer. Instead of hiding vibrant berries in a crust overlay like pies do, let your juicy fresh fruit shine on top of a bed of rich vanilla pastry cream.

7. Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Everything is better with Nutella – and we mean everything. Smear chocolate hazelnut spread on buttery pie dough with strawberry jelly and craft a cute pop-out strawberry heart for an adult “pop tart.”

8. Brownie Cupcakes with Strawberry Santa Hats

Keep this recipe bookmarked for when the most wonderful time of year rolls around. Top rich brownie cupcakes with a jaunty strawberry Santa hat trimmed with white chocolate frosting for an easy and festive dessert decoration.

9. Sugar Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza

Pizza: not just for lunch and dinner any more, not now that you know about this beautiful, geometric fruit-bejeweled sugar cookie pizza.

An Orange-Ade Shandy Recipe for Summer

shandy recipe ingredients

Hello summer! We’ve got our sunglasses on and our SPF ready. If we’re not on the beach or at the pool, we’re certainly dreaming of it. To keep cool, we created a seriously refreshing orange-ade shandy recipe that fits right into our summer schedule.

A classic shandy is made with a mixture of half beer and half lemonade. If you’re not a fan of sweet beverages, you adjust the balance. Add more beer to create a more subtle cocktail. No matter the ratio, a shandy is a great hot weather cocktail. This refreshing cocktail is also low-alcohol, so feel free to have more than one.

homemade beer shandy

We wanted to try a new twist on this summer classic. We concocted a recipe using homemade orangeade instead of lemonade to brighten up our drinks, and as a nod to the orange wedge often served with wheat beer. The result is an easy shandy recipe that’s perfect for beach days, pool days and even Father’s Day!

Orange-ade shandy recipe

5 Oranges
2 Lemons
Wheat Beer (such as Blue Moon)
½ Cup Sugar

Make the Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar. Heat to a simmer on medium-low, stirring frequently until all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make the Orange-Ade:

In a large pitcher, combine the juice of 4 oranges and 2 lemonsthe cooled simple syrup4 cups water and ice. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Orangeade Oranges

Mix Your Drink:

In a chilled pint glass, pour all but a bit of a wheat beer (such as Blue Moon) and top with orange-ade. Garnish with an orange wheel.

finished shandy recipe

Simple as that! Now, you have a delicious and refreshing 4-ingredient cocktail to cool you down this summer. Orange you glad you have this recipe in your back pocket?

Cheers to staying cool this summer, chefs!

8 Types of Peaches to Love this Summer

The platonic ideal of a peach, enhanced by nostalgia, comes enormous, round, and bursting with juice that tastes of summer sunshine. But while all types of peaches are good peaches, that image leaves out the many other equally delightful forms the fuzzy fruit takes on: crisp enough to add that cherished sweetness to a salad or palm-sized and perfect for snacking. 

When Are Peaches in Season?

What the stereotype gets right, though, is the timing: peaches are a quintessential summer fruit, coming into season starting in May and peaking around the country in June, July, and August, before tapering out through the fall and ending in October. 

How Can You Tell a Peach is Ripe?

The color of a peach is a great indicator of its ripeness, but not in the way most people think: though the attractive red blushing looks nice, it only indicates if your peach got a mild sunburn or not. The real key to finding a ripe peach is looking around the stem and making sure no green tinge remains. While you check that area, look for the first hints of wrinkles on the skin near the stem—that indicates it is perfectly ripe. 

Pick up the peach gently to check the texture. It should have a little give—or a lot, if you want that dripping-down-the-chin level of ripeness. Finally, use the best tool for the job: sniff your peach. It should smell just like that wonderful syrupy flavor you hope to find inside. 

How to Remove a Peach Pit

The best way to remove a peach pit is to eat around the pit until none of the flesh remains. But that works less well if you plan to cut or slice it for salads, sauces, or sweet desserts. In those cases, the secret to cutting a peach comes in cutting it around its equator. Slice through the flesh to the pit all the way around the middle, then hold the top half with the stem in one hand and the bottom half in the other and twist them in opposite directions. Then repeat the process with the half in which the pit remains. The pit will pull out easily from the quartered peach—and you’ll be ready to start dicing or chopping.


As the name implies, freestone peaches are less attached to their pits, which makes them useful in sliced preparations, like Fontina and Peach Grilled Cheese. They also tend to be larger than clingstone varieties, and less juicy, which makes them terrific for baking.


Clingstone peaches are smaller, juicier, and more difficult to get the pit out of, so rarely end up looking as nice once you do. But plenty of great peach dishes end up cooking the peach anyway, like in Seared Chicken in Coconut-Peach Broth, so nobody can even tell—and the added sweetness of these peaches makes it worth the grapple-factor.

Semi Freestone 

This hybrid of the two main types of peaches aims to bring the best of both varieties into a single peach: big, juicy, and easy to separate from the pit. With this versatility, it can easily be used in any type of dish, in nice large wedges for a Cherry Tomato and Peach Panzanella or diced small for a Peach Salsa to go with Spice Rubbed Pork Medallions

Melting Peaches 

Melting flesh peaches ripen quickly into super-soft, buttery smooth fruit that, as the trope goes, need to be eaten over the sink. Messy and delightful, they tend to work best eaten out of hand or used in a sauce that doesn’t depend on the peach for texture, like Chicken and Honey-Glazed Peach.

Non-Melting Peaches

Non-melting peaches retain their structure as they ripen, gradually becoming less firm but holding their shape. All non-melting peaches are clingstone peaches, though all clingstone peaches are not non-melting. Use a non-melting peach for the types of dishes where the peach shape draws the eye, like Peach and Arugula Salad to go with Seared Trout.

grilling types of peaches
Learn how to grill peaches

Types of peaches

Donut Peaches

These hybridized descendants of a very old type of peach look just like their namesakes, only with a small pit in place of the hole. The petite size and lack of acid—which makes them seem sweeter—make these a great snacking peach. This is one of our favorite types of peaches.


Most people think of nectarines as a whole different fruit, but nectarines are simply a type of peach with a genetic mutation that keeps them fuzz-free. That makes them nice for eating directly and allows bakers to leave the skin on, and they can stand in for a peach in any recipe.

Arctic Supreme 

A large creamy white and red-skinned peach with white flesh, this clingstone’s big flavor is worth the mess it takes to pry it from the pit, especially showcased in a dish like Seared Chicken with Ginger-Peach Sauce.


This semi-freestone peach with smooth skin is on the small side and is also one of the less sweet options. It has a little tartness to it, which can work well in savory preparations, like a Peach and Snap Pea Grain Bowl.

Belle of Georgia

A white freestone that grows into a big, red-blushing fruit with firm flesh, this peach makes an easy one to cut or slice for salads or use in Peach Salsa to go over Seared Chicken.

Desert Goldstone 

This medium-sized yellow clingstone peach boasts great flavor lurking below its red-blushed skin. It’s a clinger, but once it’s in your Peach Pan Sauce for Pork Chops, nobody will notice if it got a bit mangled as you pulled the pit.

Early Amber

A bright yellow-fleshed peach with medium firmness and a strong blush to the skin, this looks and tastes the part of the classic peach and holds up well as wedges, like in a Peach Caprese Salad.


Super sweet, compact, and freestone, this baseball-sized peach ripens to a rich yellow and tends to be low in acid and high in juice – great for eating whole with plenty of napkins or as the base of a grilled peach cobbler.

Learn more about other seasonal stone fruit here.

No-Bake Cheesecake with Peach and White Wine Compote

no-bake cheesecake with peach

A no-bake cheesecake is perfect for warm days when you just can’t imagine turning on your oven. Just chill this peachy dessert for 2-3 hours and you’ll have the perfect sweet treat for summer. Our version tops a sweet creamy base with a peach and white wine compote. Peaches bring in summery seasonality, and white wine adds just the right amount of complexity. Try this no-fuss recipe for any casual summer get together.

Peach Compote Ingredients
  • 8 oz peeled, pitted and thinly sliced peaches (fresh or thawed frozen)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white wine (such as riesling or moscato)
Cheesecake Ingredients
  • 2  8-oz packages cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsps vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 9 to 10-inch store bought graham cracker pie crust
Make the peach compote:

In a small pot, combine the sliced peaches, sugar, wine, and a pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently so the peaches don’t stick to the bottom, 10 to 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off and the peaches are tender enough to mash. Transfer to a bowl. Using a potato masher, mash until mostly smooth or to your desired consistency.* Cover the bowl and put in the freezer to cool, about 15 minutes.

Make the cheesecake filling:

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and a thick paste has formed. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat, 2 to 4 minutes, or until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream. Continue to beat, 2 to 4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. 

Assemble the no-bake cheesecake & serve your dish:

Transfer the filling to the graham cracker crust. Use a spatula to spread into an even layer (you may have extra depending on the size of your pie crust). Top with the cooled peach compote and spread into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours. You can also make it a day ahead and chill overnight. Cut into slices and enjoy!

*Chef Tip: If you want the compote to be completely smooth, use a food processor or blender to achieve your desired consistency.

Introducing: The Jam Stand x Blue Apron

Jam has been a beloved way to preserve fragile fruits for centuries. With inventive flavors like blueberry bourbon and banana with a splash of rum, Brooklyn-based jam company The Jam Stand is putting a modern twist on this classic food preservation technique. 

The Jam Stand co-founders Sabrina and Jessica first met while studying at the University of Florida. Their shared passion for crafting and learning new things quickly sparked a lifelong friendship. 

Years later, the idea for a modern jam company was born. Jessica and Sabrina started testing unique flavors in an apartment kitchen in 2011. Today, The Jam Stand produces hundreds of thousands of pounds of jam a year.

Although their business has changed, their mission remains the same. The Jam Stand aims to create fun and innovative flavors made with quality ingredients. Two of these exciting flavors, Blueberry Bourbon and Raspberry Jalapeño, are coming to the Blue Apron menu. 

The Jam Stand’s jams are designed to work with sweet or savory recipes. Try serving their inventive preserves alongside your next cheese plate, spooned over ice cream, or incorporated into dinner. Check out the recipe below to see how we used their Blueberry Bourbon preserves to create a sophisticated duck dinner. 

Duck & Blueberry-Thyme Pan Sauce with Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Rich, savory duck breasts pair perfectly with a delicately fruity sauce like the one we’re making here with fresh thyme, shallot, butter, and our new blueberry bourbon spread.

duck breast with blueberry jam

For recipes like these delivered to your door, sign up for a Blue Apron box here. 

How To Poach Pears

A poached pear is a pear that has been cooked in a gently simmering liquid. Poached pears can be eaten on their own, or incorporated into dessert or dinner. This is a classic dish to serve in the fall and winter, when most pears are at their best. 

Pick your poaching liquid 

The poaching liquid is the liquid in which the pear is simmered. Depending on what liquid you choose, you can use this to add flavor to your pear. Pears can be poached in wine, or in water that has been spiked with flavorings like spices, honey, or liqueur. 

Prepare the pear

Pear skin has tannins, which could impart a bitter flavor if left on during poaching. To prep your pear for poaching, peel the skin of the pear away with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the pear in half vertically and remove the seeds with a melon baller or small spoon. 

Watch carefully 

During poaching, the pear should be mostly submerged in liquid. If too much liquid boils away, you’ll need to add more. The pear is done when it is soft and a knife can easily pierce all the way through. Depending on the size of the pear, this could take 16 to 18 minutes. After the fruit is tender all the way through, allow it to cool in the poaching liquid if time allows. 

Watch a Blue Apron chef demonstrate our favorite method for poaching pears below.

Now that you’ve learned the basics, try this recipe for Poached Pear & Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Escarole & Walnuts. For this recipe, we flavor our poaching liquid with verjus, honey, juniper berries, mustard seeds and tarragon stems. The result is a slightly sweet fruit with plenty of warm spice. It’s a perfect complement to tanging goat cheese and crisp lettuce. 

Learn more about types of pears here.

How-To: Cut an Apple into Matchsticks

A matchstick cut is a lot what it sounds like–it refers slicing your produce into thin rectangular sticks. It’s often referred to as a julienne cut. Matchsticked apples can be a great addition to a salad, or a fun crunchy topping for a savory dish. The cut may look delicate, but if you know how to do it, it’s not challenging at all. Watch the video below to learn how to cut an apple into matchsticks.

To cut an apple into matchsticks, start by removing the core. With the apple standing upright, make four straight slices to separate each side of the apple from the core. You should end up with four slices of apple, and one rectangular portion containing the core. Discard the core and work with one apple portion at a time.

To form matchsticks, lay the apple portion cut side down on a board. Make vertical cuts from top to bottom to form thin slices all the way across the apple.

Keeping these slices lined up and stand them on their side to form a stack. One side of the stack should be straight, and the other will be the natural round shape of the apple. Start at the flat edge of this stack and make thin cuts all the way across to form thin stick-shaped slices.

Now that you know how to cut apples into matchsticks, try some of our favorite apple recipes.

Recipes with Matchsticked Apples

Pork Chops with Pan Sauce & Apple-Kohlrabi Slaw

 Bright apple, tangy lime, and creamy sesame tahini make a flavorful complement to a seared pork chop.

Center-Cut Pork Chops with Pan Sauce & Apple-Kohlrabi Slaw

Roast Pork with Green Apple & Endive Salad

A crisp apple, mint and raw endive side salad and a garnish of aromatic fennel pollen complete this well-balanced feast.

Roast Pork & Braised Endive with Green Apple & Endive Salad

Sweet Potato & Fontina Pizza with Apple, Celeriac & Arugula Salad

Pair this hearty fall pizza with a seasonal salad topped with matchsticked apples.

How to cut an apple into matchsticks for a salad

Chicken Schnitzel with Watercress, Apple, Beet & Red Walnut Salad

Thinly pounded chicken cutlets paired with a refreshing salad of baby red beets, watercress and tart apple make a delicious dinner.

Chicken Schnitzel with Watercress, Matchstick Apple, Beet & Red Walnut Salad

Find more easy how-to videos on Blue Apron’s YouTube channel.

The Best Squash for Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie
Butternut squash, or pumpkin?

In the U.S., fall is synonymous with big, orange pumpkins. We carve pumpkins at Halloween, and they grace our tables as pumpkin pie Thanksgiving. It’s always the same type of pumpkin: round and orange, with a thick green stem. It’s time to shake that image up. Emotional ties aside—there’s nothing sacred about that particular gourd. 

There are hundreds of varieties of squash and pumpkin. In fact, many of the pumpkin pies and pumpkin ravioli you’ve eaten over the years have been filled with another variety of sweet, orange, winter squash. You never would have noticed the difference. 

What’s the difference between pumpkin and squash?

pumpkin and squash puree
Top: pumpkin puree, bottom: butternut squash puree

Technically speaking, there isn’t much of a difference. Any hard-shelled squash could be called a pumpkin. 

What is canned pumpkin? 

Canned pumpkin puree can be a variety of winter squash. It could be a sugar pumpkin or a butternut squash, but it also could be a lesser known variety, like the hubbard squash. Make sure you read the labels, some canned pumpkin will be marked as pumpkin pie filling, that means it already has spices and sweeteners mixed in. If you want to know exactly what type of pumpkin is in your pie, you can always make your own pumpkin puree at home.

When it comes to pumpkin pie, what’s the best squash? 

pumpkin and butternut squash pie
Top: butternut squash, bottom: pumpkin

Any winter squash can make a pretty good pie. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re adding cinnamon and topping with whipped cream. If you’re making pumpkin pie from scratch, try swapping in butternut squash for a sweeter, smoother pie. Sugar pumpkin tends to have stringy fibers. These are broken up when it’s pureed, but pumpkin will never get as silky smooth and butternut squash.

Ready to get baking? Try one of our variations on classic pumpkin pie.

5 Variations on Pumpkin Pie


Let’s face it: for most of us, pumpkin pie only comes around once a year. So why not make the most of its fleeting, deliciously custardy presence? Below, Test Kitchen Manager Claire King shows us five ways to enhance and decorate a pumpkin pie that will make your holiday dessert memorable.

Use a Cookie or Shortbread Crust

Update the traditional graham cracker crust simply by swapping in the same amount of Speculoos or chocolate wafer cookies called for in your favorite recipe.

Swirl Your Filling with Chocolate or Crème Fraîche

Just before transferring the pie to the oven, place 2 ounces crème fraîche or melted chocolate in a piping bag. (If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off.) Pipe the topping over the top of the pie, then use a toothpick to create swirls, for a “marbled finish.” These pumpkin pie variations are delicious and beautiful.

Top Your Pie with Pumpkin Seeds

For a pumpkin pie variation with a little more texture, try adding a crunchy topping. Put some pumpkin seeds to use by preheating the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, stir together 1 cup pepitas, 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 beaten egg white and a pinch each of salt, ground allspice and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes, or until the pepitas are golden brown and slightly puffy. Immediately season with salt and gently stir, keeping some clumps together. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely before sprinkling atop your pie.

Garnish with Extra Pie Crust

If you have leftover pie dough, use the scraps to cut out fun shapes, like leaves or acorns. Bake them separately from your pie, then simply arrange on top of the baked pie.

Make Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Whip on high until soft peaks form, then spread or dollop on top of the pie