Organizing Recipes with Evernote – Online, Offline & iPhone

I’ve been busy as a bee, organized the mountain of recipe web pages that I’ve been saving during the last year or so.

Back a few months ago, I originally tried saving each recipe page as a pdf file on my hard drive in a categorized folder. It was very cumbersome, and although I could search for recipes on my laptop hard drive (albeit clumsily), it could be difficult to make my recipes mobile, to find and search on any other mode like the web or my iPhone.

I’d all but given up on the process, until the other day when I re-discovered Evernote.

It just so happened that I was clipping an unrelated web page into the cool Mac app Evernote, and for some reason, I started reading the Evernote tips on my iPhone app, and it suggested organizing recipes using Evernote. YES! What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that!?

So, I started experimenting, and it worked just beautifully!

Evernote Makes it Easy to Save, Access, Search and Find Recipes

My recipes are saved to my computer hard drive, then synced online to my Evernote web account, and then to my iPhone. I can also save notes on my iPhone or any web browser, and all three will sync!

Besides the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, there are mobile apps for Android, Blackberry, Palm, Windows phones – check their downloads page for details.

Using the iPhone app, I can easily search for “giada pasta” and just my captured pasta recipes written by Giada De Laurentiis will pop up; so I can easily read them while in my kitchen, grocery store, camping, etc.

iphone screenshot - searching on evernote

This also means that anywhere I have internet, say at my mom’s house, I can log into my web account and access all of my recipes. Very helpful if I need to find her favorite oat bran muffin recipe!

Using the Evernote app installed on my hard drive, I can narrow the search even further. If I need to find only my soup recipes using chicken, I can search in my “soup” tagged recipes for the keyword “chicken” – I just love this!

It’s up to you how you want to organize your recipes. You don’t have to use tags, you can just create a new notebook for recipes, and start clipping. Searching will be just as easy, since Evernote scours through all the text content.

And it’s not just for recipes. Today, I captured a Meat & Seafood cooking chart, so I can easily check the cooked temperature for my turkey on Thanksgiving!

So, What is Evernote?

So, what exactly is Evernote?

It’s a Mac and Windows app that can “capture” and organize everything like web pages, images, screen shots, etc. It’s fantastic! Well, it’s fantastic for the Mac. I’ve tried using it on the Windows computer at work, and it’s a bit clunky and hinky, but it’s worth a try. Perhaps a better Windows solution would be the highly recommended Windows app called OneNote that I think has an iPhone app as well.

I have to say the best part of Evernote is it’s FREE, provided you stay within your monthly allotted file usage of 40mb 60mb. And as long as you refrain from capturing lots of photos or images, there should be no problem sticking to the monthly allowance. This month, I’ve captured almost 400 recipes and have used about half my space. I’m careful to edit out all the extra text, links, and images to save.

I’m not going to delve into the details on how to specifically use Evernote, as there is a great “get started” tutorial online, but there are a couple of little tips to mention.

For Firefox browser users, the Evernote add-on makes capturing from Firefox super easy. Once the add-on is installed, a little button is added to the toolbar. Just click the button and the current page is clipped and added to the Evernote software on your hard drive.

Don’t fret if you aren’t a Firefox user, check their web clipper downloads page to find the generic web clipper (bottom of the page). Just drag it to your browser link bar and when you want to capture a page, click it to save it to Evernote.

Once the web page is captured, you can then edit the page similarly as you would in any word processing app. Remove or add text, change formatting, etc.

After you’ve installed and set up Evernote, take a minute to click the “Trunk” button link on the top toolbar and download the Epicurious notebook which includes 10 delicious burger recipes to add to your account.

Evernote logo

I highly recommend Evernote for organizing anything, but for compiling recipes and cooking tips, it’s absolutely indispensable, and I think I’m going to love it more than any iPhone cooking app, because it’s customizable for my needs and includes only the recipes and cooking tips that I am interested in! And IT’S FREE!!!!

UPDATE December 19, 2010: I am loving Evernote even more! I have clipped all of my own recipes into the program, and it’s been wonderful to search for keyword(s) and I can easily find the recipe I want! And bravo to the folks at Evernote! They just increased the allotted monthly file space from 40mb to 60mb! I had no problem keeping under the 40mb, but this will be even better!

And keep in mind, you can also use Evernote for other interests and subjects as well. I keep a lot of my health topics in a separate notebook. Trip planning, Christmas gift lists, doctor’s notes, etc. The options are endless!