Recipe Rewind: Out of the Box Ways to Preserve Family Dishes

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We all have it – a box full of scraps of paper and dog-eared index cards with old family recipes scrawled on them. You’re one accident away from wiping out your great grandmother’s mincemeat cookies. Would you like to know how to save everything using your printer and some creativity?

Family Heirloom Dishes

Buy Yourself An Heirloom Recipe Card Box

A recipe box from is probably the simplest way to organize your old recipes. But, you’ll need to do a little prep work before your shoebox recipes are fit for the new canister.

When choosing a box, you’ve got a couple of choices. You can either go with wood, tin, or composite materials. You could also make your own wooden box. It’s not that difficult.

What you choose kind of depends on your preferences and also on the existing feel of your kitchen (or wherever you plan on keeping the recipes stored).


Break Out The Scanner and Printer

Scan all of your old recipes into your computer. If you want to create some memories while you’re at it, arrange the recipes so that a photo of the person whose recipe it is sits at the top. Maybe you have a hodgepodge of recipes from your mother, grandmother, aunt, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

Putting their photo at the top of the recipe will forever remind you of who came up with them in the first place. And, it’s a keepsake you can pass down to your children, and their children.


Get Some Old Photographs

Gather up some of the old photographs, and prepare your printer. Make the decision now whether these will be color recipes or black and white prints. Either way, you’re going to use a lot of ink, because photos do that. So, your best bet is to use a solid online supplier for your ink needs.


Print Everything Out

Print everything and cut the recipes into cards, which you will glue to standard-sized index cards. The index cards will give the recipes some uniformity, without taking away from the originality of each recipe.

If you want to skip this step, you will have to think about how you’re going to protect the recipe cards you just printed. Unless you printed on heavy card stock, it’s likely that they will need some kind of backing, or they will need to be laminated – possibly both.


Laminate and Organize

Once everything is printed out, you can stuff it into your heirloom box. If you want to protect the recipes forever, one trick is to laminate the cards so that they’ll be protected from spills, and other mishaps.

Once they’ve been sealed up, and placed in the wooden or tin box, they can sit on your shelf or placed on a hutch, just waiting to be used.

Another option is to get yourself a 3-hole punch, and some twine. You know where this is going, right? With three holes punched out of the cards, lengthwise, you can make a faux recipe book or binder by threading some twine through each of the holes on the entire stack and tying it off. It’s rustic. It’s beautiful. It will keep forever.

John Sollars always has one eye on the printing industry. When he finds something interesting, he likes to share it by posting online. Look for his informative articles on a variety of websites and blogs.

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Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of Come socialize and connect with me.

4 thoughts on “Recipe Rewind: Out of the Box Ways to Preserve Family Dishes

  • Wow! This is such a great idea. I have been thinking about doing a recipe book to save some special recipes I have been given.Thanks for the inspiration and the site to go to. 🙂

  • I just bought a new printer with a scanner and plan to do some of this with my family recipes.

  • These are some really nice and neat ideas to help in preserving our dishes this year. I thank you for the pointers and tips, it really helps out.

  • Good idea! Laminate my printed ones. I didn’t think about that. Last month I was trying to find a way to reorganize them all.

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