Posts I Wish I'd Written in 2010

This is a picture of an elaborate dehydrated apple experiment I conducted back in October. It’s also exactly the kind of geeky post that I know you guys love, and that I mostly didn’t get around to doing this year. It’s got that combo of science (control groups! recordkeeping! cellulose levels!), slight obsessiveness (soooo many apples), and utility (surely you need to know which apples dehydrate best?) that I like to think make this blog distinctive from the other food preservation blogs.

And yet…I found it nearly impossible to write this kind of post this year. Between my terrible photography, short attention span, scholarly book contract, and editorial clients, these kinds of posts mostly feel through the cracks. Instead, perhaps because I got swept up in the excitement of the canning media frenzy this past year, I think I tried to make Doris and Jilly into something it’s not: a trendy canning blog. Which means that I neglected to tell you about my slightly deranged kitchen experiments, like this episode of fermented kale:

It’s sort of smoky, sort of weird, and sort of delicious.

Nor did I ever get around to blogging about my attempts at homemade booze production. The rhubarb liqueur was a smash hit; I have yet to decant the plum liqueur, pictured here alongside its rather terrifying main ingredient, Everclear:

I even neglected the really useful canning posts, like the one I had planned to write for the Canvolution folks on why Ball lids don’t always fit Kerr jars. This time, I blame bad photography. No matter how many different ways I set this up, I couldn’t figure out how to show that the lids just don’t quite fit. You can’t see it here, right?

And I know the question of hollow pickles has been keeping you up at night.

So there you have it. My New Year’s Resolution for Doris and Jilly is to return to our scrappy, kitchen-hack, mad-scientist roots. I can’t promise decent photography, but I can promise a gung-ho attitude and lots of instructions. Let’s face it: we’re not a great recipe blog. Too much of what we do involves taking someone else’s recipe and figuring out how to make it work with what you happen to have lying around in your freezer. A useful service, yes, but not ultimately that interesting. At heart, we’re a how-to blog for people who want to learn how to incorporate food preservation and local produce into their regular routines, whether that means freezing peas in May, stocking up on berries in July, dehydrating apples in October, or making venison stew in January.

After all, no matter how many posts I write on jams and jellies and chutneys, I know (because Google Analytics tells me such things) that what you really want to know is how to freeze beet greens. Or beet tops. Or beet leaves. Or beat leaves. However you spell your food preservation questions, we’ll try to do a better job anticipating them. Look for more Ask the Goats, more discussions of the pros and cons of freezing vs. dehydrating vs. canning, more fermentation, and—just to keep it interesting—our first attempts at charcuterie production. Please feel free to make suggestions in the comments!

And about those dehydrated apples? For eating, you want Macs. For cooking, you want something really hard, like Gravenstein or York.

See you in 2011!

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7 comments to Posts I Wish I’d Written in 2010

  • Oh yes, those things we wanted to write but didn’t. BTW, I think your smoky, weird fermented kale sounds like something I’d love to eat.

    I enjoyed what you wrote about during the year but especially look forward to reading more about your mad-scientist experiments in the kitchen! I’m an experimenter without the scientific training which can be scary. Bring on those instructions!

  • OK, well now I’m super excited to see what science-y stuff you get up to in the kitchen this year. I’m also very much looking forward to hearing about your charcuterie project.

  • Love some of your ideas! Wish they were real posts, Happy New Year!

  • I’m planning to experiment more with fermentation and dehydration in 2011, so I’m very much looking forward to your future posts for further inspiration.

  • I blame the CanJam- so many bloggers with all those creative recipes and beautiful photos, it was hard not to want to show off a bit sometimes. Or at least look like we put some effort into it! That said, I loved participating and I love that I found new blogs like yours because of it!

  • I say eff the photos and eff the recipes! As you say, it’s not what we want, anyways! Here’s to more of the real D&JC in the new year!

  • Macs are also perfect for applesauce for the same reason they’re bad for pies – they turn to mush REALLY quickly!