Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Managing your Recipe Collection

If you're anything like me and like to idly browse food blogs of an evening, saving anything that looks remotely yummy, it's likely you'll have some kind of method of storing your favourite recipes. Do you bookmark them? Pin them on Pinterest? Print them out and shove them in a forgotten binder?

The most effective and useful way I've found of organising my recipe collection has to be Evernote. Not only can you sort recipes into 'notebooks' and keep them in groups, but you can also sync your notes to the magical cloud and access them from any device (or someone else's computer). It's invaluable for when I'm at someone's house and we can't decide what to cook.

(note: this isn't a sponsored post or anything. I just flipping love Evernote. Although I am using a referral link, so if you'd rather not give me magical internet points, by all means just go to!)
recipe courtesy of my sister the galloping gastronaut
I separate my recipes into categories - including bread, cakes, desserts, mains (divided into veggie and non-veggie), salads and soups. You can also tag your posts (for example, 'dairy free' or 'mexican') which makes it really easy to just bring up a list of all mexican food recipes at the click of a button.

Sorry Thomasina, but this is Mexican food made easy.

You can also share notebooks with friends (and if they join Evernote as a result, you get points! I discovered this after sharing some of my recipe notebooks with friends... added bonus.)

To sweeten the deal, it's super easy to clip recipes to Evernote as well. On your computer you can get the Evernote Web Clipper for your browser, which lets you choose the exact area of the page you want to crop (and guesses for you what notebook you'll want to put it in).  On Android and iOS you can use Sharing options.

So now that you've gone digital, what about those folders full of magazine clippings and shelves of recipe books you've amassed over the years? It would be a huge and possibly foolish project to attempt to digitise every single recipe in every book - unless you're very sure you're going to make all of them at some point! - but it's easy to pick and choose your favourite recipes from books and get them into Evernote. I use my phone or iPad for this - the Evernote app has a very clever thing called Document Camera which takes a picture of a page then adjusts the contrast so it's really easy to read. This is a screenshot of a recipe I imported from a magazine using Document Camera.

Protip: if using Document Camera, be careful where you're holding the page or you'll get a rather strange looking thumb at the bottom of the picture.

So that's Evernote. It's been indispensable, especially when cooking for parties or special occasions - for example, at Christmas you can just tag all the recipes you want to make 'Christmas' then bring up the tag list when the time comes. If you've got an iPad you can use that to display the recipe while you're cooking (or you can print it out if you want to keep it simple, though that kind of defeats the point of scanning in all those magazines and books).

It's also great for keeping other things tidy - I used it while I was teaching to keep all my notes and worksheets in one place, and it's also useful for receipts if you scan those in.

Convinced? Grab it now. Not convinced? Get it anyway, it's free and you might grow to love it.

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