When I asked you for tips on recipe organization, you really came through. I received a lot of tips in the comments and even more tips on MNN’s Facebook page. Yesterday, I wrote about a few of the manual ways some readers keep track of all their recipes — in organized binders and notecard boxes.
Today we’re going to look at some of the more high-tech ways that some of you keep track of your recipes.
Tip: Eat Your Books online search engine for cookbooks
"I use eatyourbooks.com. It's a recipe database where you create a bookshelf of the cookbooks you own, and you search for recipes within those books. I've been using my own books instead of printing off more loose sheets of paper from the Internet." (from reader Shelli)
Why I like it: If you have a lot of cookbooks, this can save time. I checked out Eat Your Books, and I’m planning on using it myself. The free version of the search engine allows you to add five of your own cookbooks. If the cookbook is in their search engine, you add it to your bookshelf. Then when you need a recipe for a specific dish, say pound cake, you type pound cake into your cookbook search engine, and you’ll get a list of every book that you own that has a recipe for any kind of pound cake. (Out of the four cookbooks and one blog that I’ve added to my bookshelf, I found six pound cake recipes.) Eat Your Books also allows you to add magazines, and they are starting to index some cooking blogs, too.
To add more than five cookbooks (and really for it to be useful, you’ll need to), you need buy a subscription that costs $2.50 a month or $25 a year. One reader pointed out that if you have a quirky cookbook collection — lots of church or community published books or really old cookbooks for example — it might not be worth the money because the books might not be on there. You can, however, check to see if your books are on there even if you haven’t bought a subscription. You just can’t add more than five until you've subscribed.
Tip: Save online recipes as a .pdf so you don’t have to print them.
"When I find a recipe online that I like, I print it as a .pdf and then save it to my hard drive (so it's not actually printed). The recipe then gets organized in to subtypes — Main Courses (then by protein, Beef, Chicken, Seafood, Vegetarian), Salads (again then organized into Noodle, Meat, Vegetarian, etc)."(from reader Meg)
Why I like it: If you can be diligent about keeping your online files organized, this is a free way to keep track of all your favorite recipes. You could also scan recipes from magazines and cookbooks and save them as .pdf files to have a complete collection of all your favorite recipes right on your computer, laptop or tablet. Just make sure you have a good backup system somewhere off your main hard drive so you don’t lose all your hard work and favorite recipes.
Tip: Evernote (by reader Kelly Nye on Facebook)
"Evernote!!" (that’s all she wrote in the comment section)
Why I like it: Evernote is not specifically a recipe organization system. It’s a system that helps you keep track of notes online and various smart devices. A free plug in allows you to capture web pages, so you can capture the pages of online recipe sites and put them in your files and organize them by tags. One big advantage I see to this is that I can sync Evernote between my laptop and my iPhone, and I’ll have a lot of my favorite recipes on hand when I’m at the store so I can look up ingredients if I want to. The basic version of Evernote is free, and you can purchase an upgrade so you can add more storage space.
I installed Evernote the other day, and I’ve only played around with a little bit. There is more to it than I’ve described here, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.
Are you a proponent of any of these electronic methods of organizing your recipes? Any additional tips for anyone wanting to try organizing recipes using these methods?