It’s funny how sometimes you see an app and realize that it would be the most useful thing you can imagine. Wow, an app to track the contents of my fridge! How on earth did you survive this long without it? Well, actually, that’s precisely what I’m wondering.
I found a basic fridge-stocking app (My Fridge, No longer available) in my wanderings, then realized that I could go one up on that. What use is it to track your fridge contents if you still let it all go to waste?
So, instead, I’ll introduce you to something a little novel, but not quite as crazy as using QR codes on the fridge. It’s a fridge inventory app linked with a recipe-finding app.
Grocery Hero [No Longer Available]
With Grocery Hero, you start by entering in all of your fridge inventory, either manually or by using the scanner. This will take a little longer the first time, but afterwards you should be able to find things you regularly have in the kitchen more easily. All of the expiry dates and alarm dates should be recorded for the best results, as this leads to the magic of the next steps.
You’ll soon note that this app records all of your food stocks, not just what’s in the fridge. It separates food into Fridge, Freezer and Pantry items, but will track all of them in a similar manner.
Be sure to set sensible alarm dates as you enter items in. The app will then remind you when items are due to expire, prompting you to work out what you’d like to cook using that item. You can also view your food items according to expiry dates to easily see what’s most important to eat.
Now, here’s the really magical part. You select any combination of these food items and search for a recipe idea that uses them all. Yes, we’ve seen this idea in recipe apps before, but they’re not usually linked to an inventory app. This has them bundled up into one. Besides which, once this app has suggested the basic recipe idea to you, you may not even need to use a recipe at all. Or, you might want to switch to your favorite recipe app from there. Personally, I found the recipe choices to be quite varied and interesting, with easy-to-follow recipes ready to use. For instance, my “Tomato, Eggs and Bread” search yielded results like meatballs, baked eggs, vegetarian burgers and all sorts of other interesting things. I won’t be going hungry, that’s for sure.
A similar-ish app to the recipe side of GroceryHero is Dinner Spinner, as it takes information about your current food stocks and lets you know what you could make with it. It doesn’t track the expiry dates of your fridge for you, though. However, Dinner Spinner is an old favorite at MakeUseOf because it really is good. I thought it was worth mentioning here in case you wanted to use it side-by-side with your Grocery Hero app. You may just really love collecting recipe apps for Android.
Another similar web app we’ve covered before is My Fridge Food, where you can search the web for recipes using the ingredients you have. On the web, you’ll find there are many ways to cook with your leftovers.
While we’re on the subject of recipe apps, let’s introduce all you Android people to Paprika. Paprika is an app loved by iOS users for a while now, which has more recently been ported to Android. It will set you back about $5, but it is oh-so-delicious. You’ll love it, for sure. The Paprika app searches any recipe site that uses the hrecipe and microdata specifications, so you can actually get your recipe site included too. What this means for users of the app, though, is that there are millions of recipes on hand. And that’s awesome.
Now, Paprika takes you through to the supermarket. When you’ve chosen a bunch of recipes to make, Paprika will tally up all of the ingredients you’ll need and make a shopping list for you. It even conveniently groups items into the right aisles of a regular supermarket, meaning you will be able to find all of the similar items at once.
Paprika isn’t the only Android app to take you through the supermarket. Recipe app Epicurious also has grocery list features, but Paprika certainly does it well and beautifully.
Mix It Up
If you’re like me, no one food-related app will ever cut it. You’ll be inspired by one thing one day and by something else the next. So, I suggest you mix things up and use whatever app suits your mood or needs at the time. The trick is to have the there waiting for you to use when you need them.
Would you use a fridge inventory recipe app or a recipe app which builds a grocery list for you? Which Android apps do you use for cooking?