I have finally found the best App for managing recipes: Evernote. It allows me to upload my recipes in whatever format they happen to be in and to easily search them all. I have looked in vain for a long time now to find an app that would allow me to manage all my recipes. There are plenty of recipe apps available but they all seem to be based around capturing recipes that are already on the internet in an electronic format. Some allow you to upload your own recipes but mostly this is in a very prescribed format that makes it extremely laborious to transfer a recipe from another format. I have notebooks with precious old recipes handwritten in them; I have folders with recipes neatly cut out, stuck onto pages and neatly organised; I have boxes full of recipes that I have collected from newspapers and magazines and copied from friends. I have been meaning to sort these all out for several years now, thinking that there must be a way of doing it that will be flexible, expandable and enduring.
Evernote isn’t a recipe app, it is (as its name suggests) an app for taking notes and sharing them across all your devices, and allowing you to search them easily. I am finding it incredibly useful for all sorts of things – maybe a subject for other posts. You can download the app onto your PC, tablet, and phone and have them all connected. Each version has slightly different tools that are appropriate for the particular platform. There is a Webclipper app extension for your PC that allows you to save articles, pages, and screenshots. On your tablet and phone you can ‘send’ any item to Evernote or capture a photo(s) of it. This means that you can capture a recipe easily wherever you are and whatever you are doing and sort things out later if you want or need to. If you are a neat-freak like me you may want to crop the photos so that they look tidy.
You can organise your notes however you want, using Notebooks (folders) or tags. So you could arrange things for example by Main Meals, Desserts, Baking, Soups etc and you could tag recipes with Apples, Potatoes, Berries etc – however you like to organise yourself. But the search engine is so quick and powerful, and uses optical character recognition to identify all legible words even in a photo, that I’m not even bothering to sort beyond putting everything in a Notebook labelled Recipes. I did start tagging any new recipe with Recipe to Try but have since decided that identifying those that are Tried and Tested might be better. You can add your own photo of something once you’ve made it if you want, or add notes about quantities or cooking times etc. If you have a recipe such as the Pear and Almond Tart above that can be made with a whole range of different fruit, then all you have to do is add the names of each of the fruit e.g. apricot, cherry, peach etc to the page and it will automatically come up in any search for that fruit.
I’ve even added all my recipes that I’ve posted on this blog 🙂 so I can quickly search to see what I have posted on.
On your PC all the notes are stored and available to you whether or not you are online. For your other devices the notes are stored ‘in the Cloud’ but you can choose to make some Notebooks available offline. My iPad is almost always in the kitchen area so I have made my Recipes available offline on that device so that I can quickly find a recipe whenever the mood for cooking takes me.
Now I just have to work my way through that box of recipes that is sitting on the dining table waiting to be put into Evernote…