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Kitchen Helpers – 5 essential apps for the kitchen

Make things easier for yourself in the kitchen with these superb iPhone apps

Your iPhone can be a great help in all areas of your life – including in the kitchen. We’ve explored recipe apps before, and remain big fans of Kitchen Stories, Tasty, Yummly and Green Kitchen; but this round-up looks into apps that can help you make better use of your time when it comes to finding recipes, managing fresh food, and helping you cook.

So from timers to tracking aids, these are the apps you need to make sure your time preparing for and making meals goes without a hitch.

Mela ($4.99/£4.49)

Best for tracking food blogs

If you want a recipe manager for iPhone, chances are you’ll turn to Paprika ($4.99/£4.49) – and it is a great app. But Mela makes a play for this space by doing something unique and genuinely useful: letting you subscribe to your favorite recipe websites.

Add a few sources and you’ll get a scrolling feed of tempting photos and no-nonsense synopses. A tap takes you through to a full recipe, and pressing + then begins the import process, during which you can make edits. Smartly, Mela is flexible enough to provide alternatives: you can also add recipes by using a built-in browser, scanning documents, importing from Files, or writing them manually from scratch.

Other nice-to-haves include a grocery list and lists for favorites and recipes you want to cook. In all, Mela is the perfect mix of recipe manager and RSS client, with an elegant, usable interface rivals would do well to study closely.

Get Mela

Timer+ (free + IAP)

Best for not burning your dinner

For reasons that escape us – and basic logic – Apple persists in only allowing a single timer on iPhone. Fortunately, third-party timer apps fill that particular void. Timer+ gets the nod for this feature, because its no-fuss nature makes it an ideal fit for the kitchen.

At any point, you can add and trigger a new timer. Each timer can have its own sound assigned and be set to repeat, for example if you’re baking batches of cookies. Need a timer you don’t want to store? There’s an ad-hoc Quick Timer feature and a stopwatch. Usefully, the main interface also lets you switch between your collection of stashed timers and just those that are active.

For free, the app places an unobtrusive advertising bar at the bottom of the screen. Should you find the app useful, you can remove the ads for a one-off $4.99/£4.49 payment.

Get Timer+

Morpho Converter (free + IAP)

Best for storing conversions

The world doesn’t all use the same units. Metric prevails in most countries, but the USA has long stuck with imperial units. (The UK, wanting a foot in both camps, confusingly uses both.) This means when you chance upon an amazing recipe, you might have to convert cups to liters or grams to ounces.

Apple’s own Calculator app lets you do ad-hoc conversions of this type, but Morpho is a better bet if you regularly have to perform such tasks. You can store favorite conversions on its main screen, and trigger a new conversion with the calculator pad. Tap a conversion and a screen usefully outlines related conversions.

For free, Morpho restricts how many conversions you can pin. You can remove this limitation for $0.49/49p per month,$3.99/£3.99 per year, or a one-off $14.99/£12.99 purchase.

Get Morpho Converter

Kiff ($3.99/£3.49)

Best for expiration tracking

Terrifyingly, the USA alone is estimated to waste tens of millions of tons of food annually – which amounts to roughly a third of the entire US food supply. Often, perfectly fresh food is discarded because of ‘use by’ label fear, but people also regularly discard fresh produce they forget was in their fridge in the first place.

Kiff offers a solution. When you buy a fresh item, add it to the app (manually or by way of a quick barcode scan), along with an expiration date. You can then dip into Kiff at any time, to see what next needs using.

The bright and bold interface makes Kiff fun to use. It also offers great clarity, making it far easier to track items that need using and minimize waste. You can even put Kiff on your Home Screen as a widget, to ensure it won’t be ignored.

Get Kiff

SuperCook (free)

Best for cleverly using up food

So when Kiff is quietly urging you to use a dozen ingredients that are about to spoil, but nothing seems to align with what you’ve saved in Mela or Paprika, what should you do? We’d suggest trying SuperCook.

The idea behind this app is to make best use of the food you have. Rather than laboriously add items by way of search, you use your voice to outline what ingredients you have to hand. If you miss something, you can prod a button to instantly add it to your list.

You’ll then be presented with a range of recipes that best suit your ingredients – and suggestions that could work if you’ve another ingredient or two. Bar the minor flub of an interface that doesn’t seem to realize the Home indicator exists, this is a top-notch app, and one that along with Kiff should help you do your bit in reducing food waste.

Get SuperCook