This content is sponsored by Bosch

Sponsored by Bosch

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's BG BrandLab in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.

These kitchen trends are making modern cooking easier

From meal kits that save you grocery store trips to souped-up appliances that cut down on cleaning time, home cooking has never been more convenient.

Today’s families have access to a growing number of options that make it easier for them to make home-cooked meals without wandering grocery store aisles or spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning up after each meal.

Shoppers can choose to have fresh produce, meat, and ready-to-cook meal kits delivered to their doors. Or they can use apps such as Instacart, Postmates, and Peapod to order grocery store food for easy delivery or pickup. Meanwhile, new appliance technology makes it possible to keep those foods fresh for longer and minimize mess.

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Dinner in a kit

You’ve probably seen ads for meal kits that contain everything you need to get dinner on the table without a trip to the store. Available from companies such as Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Blue Apron, and Home Chef and shipped to your home via delivery services such as FedEx, meal kits contain pre-portioned, ready-to-cook ingredients with recipes.

“This can be great for busy individuals and families who want to cook at home but don’t have the time to plan out meals or get to the store for ingredients,” says registered dietitian Tava Sternberg of Hub Healthy Nutrition Counseling in Boston.

This skip-the-supermarket approach is gaining popularity among consumers who are hungry for time-saving solutions. In fact, meal kits are one of the hottest trends in the food industry, according to market research firm Nielsen Global Connect, which found that the number of meal kits users in the U.S. increased by 36% from 2017 to 2018. The kits are so popular that grocery stores such as Whole Foods are starting to offer them, too.

And if you’re trying to save time, double the size of your meal kit and pack away leftovers, suggests Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. “Why cook dinner every night when you can cook once and eat twice?”

Farm to fridge

Others delivery services, like Billerica-based Walden Local Meat Co. come straight from the farm to your fridge. Walden, whose membership has grown in the last five years to about 15,000 active families in seven states,  provides members with monthly deliveries of 100% grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken, pork, and lamb from small farms in New England and New York.

“With trying to juggle working full time and raising two little kids, the convenience of home delivery is priceless to us,” says Kelly Chandler says, a Plymouth, Mass. resident who is part of Walden’s meat delivery program.

Shoppers who enjoy local, seasonal produce are increasingly turning to farm shares to gather fresh fruits and vegetables in one spot, too, through an approach known as community-sponsored agriculture (CSA).

Newton, Mass. local Linda Hamel has had a farm share at Waltham Fields Community Farm for years. Each week during the growing season, she and her family pick up a box of produce, which they split with another family in their neighborhood.

“The vegetables from the farm introduce us to things we’ve never eaten before, and the recipes have taught us how to cook vegetables differently,” Hamel says. “When it’s farm season we eat more vegetables and a wider variety of vegetables than we do other times of the year.”

Some other farms in Massachusetts that offer farm shares include Allandale Farm in Brookline, Powisset Farm in Dover, and the Cape Cod Organic Farm in Barnstable. To find a CSA farm near you, use the LocalHarvest locator tool.

People who are happy to eat misshapen, scarred, or blemished produce also have the option to receive deliveries from Imperfect Foods, which distributes fruits, vegetables, and other foods that might otherwise end up in landfills after being rejected by grocery stores. Bonus: It’s cheaper than supermarket fruits and veggies. Imperfect Foods says its customers pay up to 30% less for their “ugly” products.

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Extending the life of food

If you’re having fresh produce, meat, or meal kits delivered to your home, you want to be sure your refrigerator and freezer are up to the job of keeping them fresh for as long as possible. That way you’re cutting down on food waste, and there’s no pressure to cook every box of goodies right away.

Food stays fresher longer when stored in Bosch’s new line of refrigerators, which feature the revolutionary FarmFresh System™. The all-new FarmFresh System™ combines four innovative technologies to keep your food fresh for up to three times longer, resulting in less wasted food as compared to a Bosch refrigerator without FarmFresh System™. (Results may vary among different foods).

Bosch’s new line of refrigerators also offers dual-compressor, dual-evaporator technology that maximizes freshness while minimizing food waste by precisely calibrating optimal temperature and humidity.

“What’s cool with dual-compressor refrigerators is they don’t allow air transfer between the freezer and the refrigerator, which means foods stay at a more constant temperature,” says Tony Aitoro, president and CEO of a Connecticut-based Bosch dealer and part of the New England Appliance Group. “Changes in temperature can shorten the life of the food.”

Likewise, dual evaporators keep humidity down in the freezer, where low moisture levels optimize the quality of frozen meat and other foods, and higher in the refrigerator, where moisture helps extend the life of fresh foods like produce.

“It’s frustrating and costly when food from your farm share or the farmer’s market goes bad,” Aitoro says. “You want that farm-fresh food to last as long as possible.”

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Clean up assistance

Another recent boon for home chefs, state-of-the-art appliances are making cleaning up after cooking easier and less time consuming, too.

A new line of dishwashers from Bosch provides features that make it easier to get you out of the kitchen fast. The new-age dishwasher cleans about 25% faster than past models, without sacrificing sparkling clean dishes. And when the dishes are done or you’re running low on detergent tabs, you’ll get a notification sent to your phone.

Bosch’s patented CrystalDry™ feature delivers 60% better drying results by transforming moisture into heat up to 176 degrees to get dishes, including plastics, thoroughly dry. And it does so without adding excess ambient noise to your kitchen—an important asset in homes where the kitchen serves as family room, homework space, and everyone’s favorite space to socialize.

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To bring the latest Bosch appliances into your kitchen, visit a certified independent retailer near you using the locator map below. A variety of Fresh by designfridges, to keep your quality foods fresher for longer, are now available. Learn more at Bosch.com.

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's BG BrandLab in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.

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