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Mobile Apps

Zest: so much more than Pinterest for your recipes

Zest, created by a Sydney-based developer, is the best recipe management app we've seen to date.

Zest, created by a Sydney-based developer, is the best recipe management app we've seen to date.

(Credit: Plenty of Zest)

The internet is a wonderful playground for the home kitchen adventurer: full of experiments and recipes to try — and combined with the iPad, makes trying new things in the kitchen easier than ever. Of course, there are a number of cooking-oriented iPad apps available out there — some cooking websites, such as Allrecipes and Epicurious have their own, but it can be pretty annoying to remember where all your favourite recipes are kept or to have to Google them every time hoping they're still online.

Cue Zest, a free recipe management app for iPad. It works a little like Pinterest (sans the social network part) in that you find and import content from around the web to be kept in your own recipe box. But it's a lot better than a simple picture uploader. Using an in-app browser, you can navigate to any web page you like to import pretty much any recipe you like.

But it's clever. It automatically crawls the page and sorts out the recipe summary, ingredients list, step-by-step instructions, cooking times and photos and organises it into an easy-to-read recipe card layout in your app. You also have the option to add tags, such as meal or ingredient tags, and notes; for example, if you find that altering a quantity of a spice or adding a new ingredient improves the flavour, you can note that down for future reference.

Steps view. (Credit: Plenty of Zest)

You can also edit the recipes themselves (useful for converting measurements), add your own photos (handy when you find a recipe with photos not included), share recipes via Message or Mail and enter "Cook" view, which enlarges the ingredients and recipe directions in a single, simple view. We particularly like the "Steps" view, which enlarges each step of the recipe for quick-view accessibility; a single tap of the screen scrolls up or down to the previous or next step, making it easier to tap on the screen with a knuckle if you have messy fingertips.

It's an app that's clearly been made by someone who has thought about what would make the iPad the ultimate cooking companion — we don't think we'll be using any other app or browser in the kitchen ever again.

You can grab Zest for free from the iTunes App Store.