I love poring through cookbooks, especially when they have color photos and richly descriptive text.

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Photo by Emma Smith

But when it comes down to it, about 75 percent of the recipes I use on a regular basis come from the internet. Betty Crockers of the post-modern world have a plethora of recipes at their disposal, and if you’re also trying to declutter, it’s helpful to have them bookmarked on your computer, instead of printed out.

I used to bookmark my recipes in my Firefox bookmarks. It was helpful, because I organized them in files by meal. But it didn’t take long for that to get messy, because it would take me a long time to find anything, and sometimes, recipes just didn’t fit in any one file. Where do you put banana bread? Desserts? Bread?

I’ve heard of other people opening a Gmail account exclusively for their recipe finds, and I thought that was a good idea. You can email the recipe (or just its URL link) to yourself and use the brilliant tagging system within Gmail to create labels for each recipe. So if you want to make chicken fettucine alfredo, you can use the tags chicken, or pasta, or easy, or whatever you decide.

That was a step better. But I decided to go ahead and put my recipes somewhere else – in del.icio.us – for one main reason:

It’s social bookmarking.

I hope to demystify social media in the near future (not at all that I’m an expert!), but for now, I’ll just tell you two main reasons I’d recommend bookmarking your recipes with a social media tool like del.icio.us:

  1. Other people can find your recipes, so you’re able to easily share your favorites.
  2. You’re promoting other people’s good stuff they’ve posted on the internet, which more than likely took them time and work.

I truly appreciate it when people submit my stuff to media sites (like del.icio.us, or Stumble Upon, or Kirtsy) because it has broadened my audience like I never imagined. I’m amazed how well it works.

I think it’s worthwhile for me to do the same for other people, because if I were in their shoes, I’d want it bookmarked. Plus, for me it’s an added bonus when it’s a mom sharing her talent online – I make no secret to have a soft spot for moms who run small businesses from home, be it on Etsy or their own online shop, or simply by blogging).

Fellow moms, let’s support each other’s wares and talents by using influential tools that promote our sites and multiply our visitors.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now.

So yes, I bookmark my recipes in del.icio.us, and I think you should, too. It’s quite easy, which is why I think del.icio.us works well here. It’s a simple interface, so it shouldn’t overwhelm even the novice internet user.

How to store your recipes in del.icio.us:

1. Open an account.

2. Download their toolbar button (again, another reason to have Firefox).
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3. When you’re on a recipe page you’d like to save, click on the “tag” button.

4. A pop-up window will show up, and you simply enter whatever info you’d like stored here. The most important part here is the tags. Tag your recipes however you’d like, but do it in a way that’s helpful for you to find them later. I typically tag recipes by category and by ingredient – such as breakfast, pumpkin, pancakes.
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5. To organize the recipes in your account, use bundles. On the right-hand side, click on “create a bundle.” Here, name a new bundle something like “recipe box” or “cookbook.”
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6. Highlight all the tags you want inserted into this bundle.
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7. Now, whenever you want to find a recipe, you can go to your del.icio.us account, click on your recipe box, and choose the tags you’re looking for. The reason I like tagging by both category and ingredient is because sometimes I’m generically looking for a dessert recipe, and sometimes I’m looking for a recipe with chocolate. I can choose whatever tag I need, and go from there.

I’m still in the process of transferring my recipes from Firefox bookmarks into del.icio.us, but here’s what I have so far. Lets put the beauty of social bookmarking into practice, and share!

If you have a del.icio.us account already, let me know, and I’ll gladly save it to my network. If you open an account and have questions, let me know as well, and I’d be glad to help.

I hope it doesn’t sound too complicated, because it’s truly not. You better believe that I’m all about simple around here. I wouldn’t advocate something here if it wasn’t.

What do you do for online recipe storage? I’m curious.

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