Keeping digital copies of all of your hand-written recipes, favourite recipes from cookbooks, and other dishes you find on the web can be a difficult task, but there are plenty of tools to help you do it. We asked you which tools you used to manage your collection of hand-me-down recipes and favourite recent finds. Here's a look at the top five, based on your nominations, many of which can handle more than just recipes.Photo by Robert Couse-Baker.
Springpad doesn't just clip items from the web. It also lets you quickly and easily add almost anything to your Springpad account, including hand-written notes, scanned documents, photos, entire web sites and more. Plus, it organises all of your items for you, and lets you quickly save a web version of a recipe on it and automatically add it to a collection of recipes you already have, complete with useful links and reference information that can help you when it comes time to start cooking. Springpad is available via webapp or mobile app on iOS and Android.
Google Docs isn't really built to organise anything, but for many of you, it gets the job done when it comes to keeping your recipes together. Entering new recipes is as easy as starting a new document and typing it in, and saving recipes from the web is a copy/paste operation. Save them all in Collections based on dish, ingredient, source, or any other criteria you choose. Since Google Docs is a webapp, you can get to it anywhere, on any device, whether you're in the kitchen with your tablet or sitting at your desktop computer. Plus, it's completely free.
The only actual recipe management app in the top five, Paprika is available for Mac OS, iPad, and iPhone, and will set you back $US19.99 for the Mac app, and $5.49 for the iOS app. Paprika is built to handle recipes, so the application has multiple views to help you see all of the recipes at once while you scroll through the steps, view large photos of the dish you're making, and a built-in web browser to scrub recipes from your favourite cooking and food sites. The app also helps you manage your shopping list, and can turn your recipes into a shopping list so you can pick up what you need to cook the meal you're planning. Plus, the app makes it easy to add and edit recipes, and will sync your recipes to the cloud so you can access them on other devices.
Evernote is the quintessential "save it from the web for easy reference" utility, and a number of you mentioned you also use Evernote for recipes. It makes sense: Evernote is easy to use, available for free on almost every platform including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, and the Evernote webapp, in case you don't want to install anything. All of your devices are kept in sync, and while Evernote doesn't have any tools specifically to help you organise recipes, it does let you create notebooks based on categories you choose, makes it easy to clip and save anything from the web, including recipes, and can share those items with friends easily.
Dropbox is a great file syncing and storage solution, but a few of you said that it's great for managing and sharing recipes as well. All you have to do is create a directory in your Dropbox public folder and create as many documents in that folder as you choose. Copy/paste any recipes you find on the web to documents and store them there, Create new documents with recipes you want access to in multiple places, and as long as they're all in your public folder, you can access them anywhere, whether you log in to Dropbox or not. Otherwise, you can just leave them all in a folder and get at them from any internet connected device, or your smartphone or tablet with the Dropbox app installed. Plus, it's free, and you likely already have an account.
Honourable mentions this week go out to YummySoup, a feature-rich and customisable recipe manager for Mac that lets you organise your recipes, add them easily and import them from the web, share them with friends, and create categories and lists to organise them. Also worth mentioning is the previously mentioned KeepRecipes, a great webapp that makes it easy to import recipes from other web sites, connect with other food lovers who are busy posting and sharing their own recipes, and even offers an iOS app so you can access them on the go or in the kitchen.
It's interesting that with so many recipe apps and utilities on the market that most of the top five are tools that do more than just manage recipes. Have another you'd like to mention, or something about one of the contenders you want to say? Let's hear it in the comments below.