Do you have an ever-increasing collection of loose recipes gathered from websites, magazines, recipe cards, emails and your mum’s recipe collection? If you would like a Better Organised recipe set up, here are some simple suggestions for regaining control and streamlining your kitchen!
• Gather all your loose recipes in one place and have a good look to check for duplicates/overlaps – you might discover that you have seven different chilli con carne recipes!
• Consider which recipes you will really be likely to make. It’s worth checking whether a recipe needs a lot of expensive ingredients that you won’t use again. Also, think about whether everyone in the family will be likely to eat it.
• If you are unsure about whether or not to keep a recipe, ask yourself how easy it would be to replace it if you ever choose to make it again.
• Identify those that you want to keep, sorting into broad categories as you go, and recycle the rest.
Before organising the recipes you’re keeping, decide whether you would prefer to keep hard copies or digital versions. There are a few options for each…
• An expanding file, with recipes divided into general categories i.e. soups and starters, main courses (depending on how many you have, consider sub-dividing into chicken, fish, beef etc.)
• A ring binder of poly-pockets (or a display book with plastic pockets) is inexpensive and easy to assemble, keeping everything neat and close to hand for easy retrieval
• Plastic or patterned storage boxes — nice and simple!
• A shop-bought recipe book with a mix of punched blank pages for handwritten recipes and slots for recipe cards
Digital Copies – take photos of your recipes then pick and choose from the following;
• A digital library on your computer (backed up to the cloud or an external device). Simple folders (i.e. chicken, fish, beef etc.) and recipe titles means filing and searching the images couldn’t be easier
• Create a Pinterest board (you can make it secret) with photos of the recipes — doing it via the app ensures it is quick, easily updated and readily accessible. Not to mention it takes up no physical room, it is free and it can be easily shared
• Set up a recipe album in your smartphone’s Photos app. Again, keep categories very general – have as many as you need but as few as possible i.e. Italian, Indian etc.
• Use a dedicated recipe storage app, such as CookBook, KeepRecipes or RecipeBox
• If you do family yearbooks, perhaps also intersperse a few recipe photos throughout the year, particularly if they are family favourites or seasonal dishes
• Whichever method you choose, I recommend keeping a digital back-up of your absolute favourites in case the original copies get damaged or destroyed. This is particularly important for handwritten recipes that have sentimental value.
It can also be worth doing a purge of recipes once or twice a year to keep it from getting out of hand.
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