How to Preserve Your Family Recipes

Are your favorite recipes in good enough shape to be handed down to your grandchildren? 

As good as your intentions are, you know you’re probably never going to get around to writing or rewriting all those recipes into a fresh new book.  So how in the world will you ever get them scanned and archived?
Glad you asked…
Most people have hundreds of recipes sitting around the house.  Some are in the kitchen in the recipe box where they probably belong; some may be stuck in a back drawer, while others are in musty basements or up in the attic.
How to Preserve Your Family Recipes | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.comSo what is it that makes recipes so hard to manage?  We think it’s probably the fact that they come in so many different shapes and sizes.  Although that’s one of the things that makes them great, it’s also what makes them so hard to organize, let alone archive for safekeeping.  There are the recipes that you tear out of a magazine because they sound good but you rarely get around to trying.  There are recipes that you love but never make, because they’re mixed in the drawer among the magazine clippings you’ve never tried.    Then there are the ones that you’ve actually managed to copy neatly onto an index card and then jammed into yet another recipe box.  And then there are the ones that you really treasure, written in your grandmother or great grandmother’s handwriting.  Finally, there are the recipes you keep in a very special place and only take out once or twice a year, after covering them with plastic while you turn on the mixer, just to make sure you don’t ruin them with batter or vanilla stains.  You see where we’re going with this.  Before you can archive your recipes, you’ve got to decide which ones are the most important to you.
Take Action! 
1. Time To Make All Your Treasured Recipes Safe
Our goal is to make all of your treasured recipes completely safe and secure during a disaster, emergency evacuation, computer or Internet meltdown.
Just follow the steps below to locate all of your important recipes, scan or copy them and store them in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.
2. First Though You’ve Got To Find Them…
Grab a pencil and paper and jot down the types of recipes you want to secure and their current location.
Using the list you just compiled, locate and gather all of the printed recipes that you want to secure and set those aside for a moment.
3. Let’s Start With The Ones On Your Computer
If you have recipes you’ve already typed or scanned to your computer…
  • Create a new folder on your computer desktop and name it “Backup Recipes (dd/mm/yy)” with today’s date.
  • Locate all of the digital recipe files that you want to keep safe.  Leave the original files where they are, copying each one to your new Backup folder.
  • Don’t waste time right now picking which recipes you want to keep safe and which you don’t care about.  Just copy them all for now and sort through them when you have some extra time.
4. Now For All The Recipe Cards, Clippings, Notes…
If you’re like most people you have tons of recipes.  Recipe cards from your Great Grandma, your hastily written family favorites, favorites from a magazine still on the magazine page and those you haven’t got around to trying yet.  Put them all on your kitchen table and do a quick sort.
  • Pile 1:  Treasured recipes, handed down to you.
  • Pile 2:  Your own favorite recipes that you also want to hand down to your children/grandkids.
  • Pile 3:  Your own recipes that you like but aren’t “hand it down “material.
  • Pile 4:  Favorites from other media like articles that you want to scan and keep.
  • Pile 5:  Everything else.
5. Time To Warm Up The Scanner!
Throw the recipes in Pile 5 into a big box or bin and sort through them some time when you have a few minutes.  I have a feeling they’re going to end up in the trash!
Scan all of the recipes in Pile 1 and Pile 2 into two separate folders inside your new Backup folder. Those are the most crucial recipes to back up and archive.
Once those are done, scan the recipes in Pile 3 and 4, saving them into two separate folders within the Backup folder.
6. Store Them For Safe Keeping
If you don’t have a scanner, have a relative or friend do it for you, or just print them out.
Then store your backup files in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.   That way if one or two of the locations are inaccessible, you’ll still be able to keep your treasured recipes safe and secure.
7. Don’t Forget To Share The Wealth
And if you really want a cool way to share your favorite recipes with your whole family, how about making a recipe book?  Stores like CVS, copy shops or printing services like CreateSpace  or Lulu have incredibly easy to use services where you can turn your favorite recipes into your very own photo book.  Depending on how many pages it is and the type of binding, it can be pricey, but what a great way to archive your favorite recipes or share them with a newly married child.
Since we’re talking about keeping memories alive not only for ourselves but for the people we love, while you’re going through your treasured recipes, grab a piece of paper and jot down all the details you can remember about the recipe.  Include the memories that dish brings back, special tips, when and where you used to make that recipe or funny anecdotes about it, then type them up and save them on your computer along with the recipe.  Then when you share the recipes with those you love, you’re not just sharing a great recipe, you’re passing down a memory.
If you’re feeling extra creative, go get your video camera and have someone tape you as you make your family’s favorite dishes.  Even better – if you have a grandma or aunt who makes a family favorite – go over to her house and tape them making that special cake or world-class spaghetti.  Maybe she’ll even throw in some juicy family stories!
If you’d like a copy of these instructions to use later on, click here to download the PDF Version to your computer.  And while you’re here, be sure to visit our blog post How To Preserve Your Family History.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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