Top 6 iPhone Food Apps

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There are hundreds of food applications available for the iphone. These are my 6 most useful and favorite apps. Learn to choose more sustainable and healthier food and tips and techniques to make you a better cook all from your iPhone. The only thing these apps can’t do is cook for you!

If you don’t have an iphone you can benefit from visiting the source websites or books for these resources.

1. Ratio

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The Ratio iPhone application is based on Michael Ruhlman’s unprecedented book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. The book is amazing, but the app is even better. The 28 culinary ratios explored in the book are broken down into 7 categories; doughs, batters, custards, fat-based sauces, stocks and thickeners, meat related ratios, and dessert sauces.

Let’s say you want to make a pasta dough.  You look for the dough category, select pasta dough and discover a core ratio of 3 parts flour to 2 part eggs. With the calculator you decrease or increase the ingredients based on how many servings you want to prepare. The details tab gives you instructions and variations. Ruhlman’s goal is to teach you these ratios to create thousands of recipes and not be tied to specific ones.

The app includes an ounces to grams converter, and a way to store your own recipes and notes. It’s useful to have a kitchen scale since the proportions are measured by weight not volume (though he does include guidance if you don’t own a scale).

2. Epicurious

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Epicurious.com is a remarkable food site with professionally tested recipes like those from Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines. This is one of my favorite sites to search for recipes and ideas. I love the capability to search their extensive database on my iPhone (over 28,000 recipes).

You can search for recipes by keywords or 20 categories like, “I Can Barely Cook,” or “Decadent Desserts.” Each recipe has an option to add to a favorites list, or email the recipe and/or a shopping list. Some reviewers complained about the ads that pop up before the recipe but it was not an issue for me- I still do most of my recipe searching online but have found times to use the app as well.

3. Jamie Oliver – 20 Minute Meals

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I was surprised not to find more celebrity chef food apps at the itunes store. Martha Stewart, and Mark Bittman both have one, though I couldn’t resist trying out Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals. I liked him style since his Jamie at Home show on food network where he would utilize fresh ingredients from his garden to create his dishes.

20 minute meals is a beautiful app (it received an Apple Design Award this year). The app is broken down into Jamie-esque categories like “simple risottos” and “quick curries.” This is a brilliant app for beginners and those looking for kitchen tips. There is an “essentials” tab that lists Jamie’s recommendations for must have equipment and ingredients.  There are also short videos throughout the app demonstrating kitchen basics like how to chop an onion or use a knife.

Each recipe includes step-by-step photos and voice tips (there is an option to turn that off). You can send yourself a shopping list organized by supermarket aisle, and add your own ingredients as well. There are 60 recipes included in the app. I would have hoped for more, maybe future upgrades would add to the existing database.

4. Seafood Watch – Sustainable Seafood Guide

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Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium hoping to restore our ocean’s diverse ecosystem from decades of overfishing and pollution. Part of this program is the Sustainable Seafood Guide to help individuals make informed choices when consuming fish, choices that make a difference in restoring the health of our oceans.

You may be familiar with the printed regional pocket guides that break down seafood into 3 categories; best choice, good alternatives, or avoid (you can download a pdf at their website). Their “best choices” are seafood fished or farmed in ways that do not harm the environment. What makes this a superb app as opposed to the pocket guide is the in-depth information you get for each species, important consumer notes, and  a summary of how it is caught, farmed, where its found, etc.

5. The Center for Food Safety’s True Food Shoppers Guide

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I found 2 apps informing you how to avoid GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) in foods. Though the source information for the ShopNoGMO and CFS (The Center for Food Safety) apps are the same, the CFS’s True Food Shoppers Guide is a more comprehensive app.

The US does not require that genetically modified (GM) foods be labeled even though 70% of packaged foods in supremarkets contain GM ingredients. A GM food is the outcome of a lab technique that takes desired genes from one species and inserts them into another. There have been warnings from scientists that these foods may not be safe in the diet or the environment. The True Food Shoppers Guide educates you on this important issue and helps you choose safe brands for all food categories.

The “4 simple tips” teaches easy ways to avoid GM ingredients. The “GMO guide” lists safe foods in green and GM foods in red with phone numbers and emails to encourage you to contact companies to tell them you will not buy their product until they stop using GM ingredients. There is also a “Take Action” tab that lists the most current CFS action alerts.

The CFS app takes full advantage of the mobile platform by not only including lists of what to buy/ avoid, but including current news and information to encourage consumer action and empower you with information.

6. EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides

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The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen application is a simple guide to the fruits and vegetables with the most and least pesticide residue. Pesticides and other chemicals can damage our health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. The EWG app lets you prioritize the produce that you should definitely buy organic to avoid the most pesticide residues.

The app is the same as the printed guide available on their website. I would have expected more content in an app as opposed to the printed guide, but I find it convenient to have the list on my phone.

This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop | Real Food Wednesday.

Do you have a favorite food application?

Read about some new food apps; Apps can Help Make Dessert, and Won’t Sneak a Cookie NY Times

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