Smart Food

By Kristi Willis

Looking for a farmers market? Need a recipe for kohlrabi? Wondering what produce is in season this week? There’s an app for that.

iphoneappsCooks Illustrated: Featuring painstakingly tested recipes from America’s Test Kitchen, this app allows you to search for just the right dish, save favorites and create shopping lists. But it’s the database of taste-test reviews—from canned tomatoes to sandwich bread—that really sets this app apart. Cost: Free for limited access; $34.95 annual online membership for unlimited access.

Harvest—Select the Best Produce: Harvest offers information and tips on selecting the best produce and storing your bounty, as well as pesticide-residue risk for nonorganic items. Cost: $1.99.

Seafood Guide: From the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Guide provides a comprehensive seafood- and sushi-buying guide based on the official Seafood Watch recommendations. Using a simple color-coded system—green (best choice), yellow (good alternative) and red (avoid)—this app makes it easy to order fish that’s not endangered or overfished. Cost: Free.

How to Cook Everything: Based on Mark Bittman’s best-selling cookbook, this app includes 2,000 recipes that are easily searchable by a variety of criteria, including quick dinners and featured recipes from the author himself. But it’s the extra features like the detailed explanations of basic cooking techniques and the well-organized grocery lists that make this app dazzle. Cost: $4.99.

LocalEats: LocalEats provides a helping hand with a list of the top 100 locally owned restaurants in 50 metropolitan areas, including Austin, and allows users to upload comments and photos to help build and enlighten the local foodie community. Cost: $.99.

Zagat to Go: The legendary restaurant guide has gone mobile with an app that includes 45 major metro areas, including Austin/Hill Country, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The robust search engine locates restaurants by advanced search criteria like takeout, child-friendly and outdoor seating. The off-line-search feature, for use when Wi-Fi access isn’t available, makes the higher price worth it. Cost: $9.99.

GoodGuide: Use GoodGuide to look up more than 5,000 food products by name or bar code to determine their health, environmental and social impact, as well as nutritional information. Cost: Free.

Locavore: The ultimate app for the farmers market shopper, Locavore lists what’s in season based on your location, and helps locate farmers markets nearby. It even links to the Foodista food encyclopedia website ( so you can look up recipes using seasonal produce. Cost: $2.99.

Pickin' Chicken: Chicken aficionados can select chicken breeds with ease using this just-released, Austin-developed app. Looking for a docile breed that lays blue-green eggs and can stand the Texas heat? Pickin’ Chicken quickly narrows the search using a variety of detailed criteria. Comprehensive breed descriptions, photos and chicken-care tips make this app an invaluable tool for yard-bird lovers. Cost: $3.99.

ShopNoGMO: This app sheds light on non-GMO (genetically modified organism) products and brands. The app includes helpful articles on how to avoid GMOs, and lets you make a list of your favorite non-GMO items to make shopping easier. Cost: Free.

All apps are available for the iPhone; all apps except for
GoodGuide are available for the iPad.
The following apps are compatible with the
Android and BlackBerry: LocalEats, Zagat to Go.