Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 8 Tasty Pickling Recipes

    Making pickles is fun--and easy. Capture crispy, tart, and spicy flavors in a jar with our tasty recipes. If it's your first time making pickles, though, read our canning instructions first. You might want to check our our canning overview, as well.

    Bread and butter picklesBread and butter pickles
    Bread-and-Butter Pickles

    Prep and Cook Time: about 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 12 hours to brine vegetables. Notes: Stephanie Baldwin has fond memories of making these pickles growing up in New Zealand. She uses a mix of vegetables, incorporating 2 cups each of the following: pickling cucumbers sliced 1/4 inch thick; celery sliced 1/4 inch thick; green beans cut into 1/2-inch lengths; coarsely chopped bell peppers; coarsely chopped cauliflower; and shredded cabbage.

    Yield: Makes 5 to 7 pints

    3 quarts sliced or chopped vegetables (a mix, or all pickling cucumbers)
    2 1/4 pounds onions (about 4), peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise
    1/2 cup salt

    1 quart distilled white vinegar
    2 1/2 cups sugar

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  • Top 20 Road Food Spots

    Start the car, and bring your appetite. Here are the absolutely best places to eat along Western highways.


    Buckhorn TavernBuckhorn Tavern
    Buckhorn Tavern, San Antonio, NM (pictured). The best roadside burgers are big and brawny and take-no-prisoners. Exhibit A: the green-chile burger at Buckhorn--a patty as big as a big rig's hubcap, sizzled on the griddle, then appliquéd with onions, cheese, pickles, and more. But it's the finishing touch of chopped New Mexico green chiles that lifts Buckhorn into the burger pantheon. 68 U.S. 380; 575/835-4423.

    More New Mexico travel tips

    Diablo Burger, Flagstaff, AZ. Like Flagstaff itself, this stylish burger joint with a pretty patio combines sustainable and cowboy in one package. Local, open range-raised and antibiotic-free ground beef is charbroiled medium rare, then joined by homemade pesto and fried egg, or bacon, beet, and blue cheese. 120 N. Leroux St.; 928/774-3274.

    Burgerville, Kelso, WA. This Northwest chain specializes in great fast food--nothing

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  • 22 Vegetable Harvesting Tips

    Use our no-fail guide to harvesting your crops when they're in their prime

    Snip while still plump and tightSnip while still plump and tight

    The artichoke we eat is the flower bud of a giant thistle. Snip the buds, with 1 1/2 inches of stem, while they are still plump and tight. They're inedible after they flower, but you can cut the purple blooms for bouquets, or leave them for the bees.

    Artichokes require shears for harvesting--learn more about must-have garden tools.

    Cure on dry ground for a few daysCure on dry ground for a few days
    Bulb onions

    When their green tops begin to die on their own (usually in early summer), stop watering. Lift the onions when the tops are mostly dead, leaving them to cure on dry ground for a few days. When the tops are totally dry, pull them off. Then brush the dirt off the bulbs and store them in a dark, cool, airy place.

    Pinch the flowers as soon as you see themPinch the flowers as soon as you see them

    Pick and use it as needed. You can keep basil fresh by placing the stems in water. Pinch the flowers as soon as you see them developing--this will encourage the plant to keep growing bushy leaves instead of seeds.

    Basil is just the

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  • 7 Favorite Popsicle Recipes

    Give in to decadence with these irresistible desserts worthy of special occasions or just a treat.

    Just a flowery hintJust a flowery hint
    Nectarine Creamsicles with Rose Water
    Yield: Makes 8 or 9
    Total: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

    1 1/2 pounds soft-ripe yellow nectarines or peeled peaches
    1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    2 teaspoons rose water
    1/3 cup whipping cream
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Pit fruit, cut into chunks, and put in a large saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon juice. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until pulp mashes easily with a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.

    2. Transfer fruit with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Whirl until only tiny pieces of skin remain. Return to liquid in pan, stir in rose water, and chill in a bowl of ice water until very cold, stirring occasionally.

    3. Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-in. pan, cover, and freeze until it's firm but still shows a fingerprint when pressed, about 2 1/2 hours.

    4. Beat cream, remaining 2 Read More »from 7 Favorite Popsicle Recipes
  • 24 Surprising Plant Combos

    What happens when a plant biologist and a landscape artist team up to create a garden on a California hillside? Surprising plant combinations at every turn.

    Landscape architect Jarrod Baumann practically skips down the steps of the sprawling hillside garden, pointing out a vibrant mix of flowers near the pool. "That's our little nursery," he says. The plants are extras, parked here until he dreams up a home for them elsewhere on the grounds. Baumann looks every bit the young artist--an apt comparison. "When you love plants as much as I do, you pull them out like paints, and paint the garden with them."

    Luckily, for this project he got to work with someone equally passionate. Carol Giannandrea, the property's owner (with her husband, John), is a plant biologist with a weakness for cactus, succulents, and citrus. She hired Baumann four years ago to convert her country-style garden in Los Gatos, California, into a more modern landscape.

    Find the perfect plants for your climate

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  • Top 14 Beach Towns

    From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you.

    Quintessential Oregon beach townQuintessential Oregon beach town
    Bandon, OR

    As any upstanding Oregonian knows, the real old school Oregon coast lies down south, in quintessential Oregon beach towns like Bandon. You expect festivity: seaside carnival barkers, maybe a roller coaster. But actually … nothing is happening in Bandon. Tourists schlump down the street sipping coffee at the mouth of the Coquille River, at the town's edge. Seagulls squawk on the Boardwalk, and a few sprightly old ladies sample the gratis cranberry candies at the Chamber of Commerce. The world slows down, and you notice things. Like the vibrant green algae growing on the rocks in the tidal flats south of town. Stroll out toward those rocks and look down, for Bandon's best beachcombing is here. Bandon's beaches can seem otherworldly, like a backdrop to a Maurice Sendak story. Stairs lead you down to the sand. Here is a little cave

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  • 8 Easy No-cook Meals

    These low-cal, no-cook salads, appetizers, and entrées make quick solutions for summer meals, ready in 30 minutes or less.

    A hint of peanut satisfiesA hint of peanut satisfies
    Spicy Peanut, Carrot, and Snap Pea Wraps
    Store-bought or home-made, wraps work well as road food: Unlike sandwiches, they don't leak their fillings out the sides.

    1/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
    1 teaspoon Asian chili paste
    1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
    2 whole-wheat tortillas (9 in.)
    1 cup coarsely shredded carrots
    1 cup snap peas sliced diagonally

    In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter, chili paste, soy sauce, and 2 tbsp. water to blend. Evenly divide mixture between tortillas and spread in a rectangle down the middle of each, leaving a small border. Evenly top rectangles with carrots and snap peas, then roll-up burrito-style.

    Make ahead: Up to 4 hours, wrapped in plastic or foil.
    Note: Nutritional analysis is per wrap.

    Prep time: 15 Minutes

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving

    Calories: 396
    Calories from

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  • 15 Ways to Add Bold Color to Your Home

    A Pasadena couple reveals how to live with a daring palette.

    The no-fear guide to color

    One look at the electric blue and gray hexagonal tile in Jon Leaver and Tyke O'Brien's kitchen, and you wouldn't think they went with the safe choice. But in the couple's 1940s Pasadena bungalow, "safe" is a relative term. "For us, it's a bigger risk to do something boring," says O'Brien.

    The whole house reflects that spirit of brio. Inspired by photos of rooms with dark walls, the couple--both teachers who moonlight as interior designers--painted the kitchen cabinets and walls charcoal gray and covered the floor in the colorful geometric tile. Their living room palette? Teal and hot yellow. Even the front door didn't escape without a graphic motif.

    To make room for all this color and pattern, the couple left most walls pale gray or white. "Light dove gray is the best canvas to set artwork against," O'Brien says. "We love how color pops against it." When a space has one big gesture, such as

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  • 9 Easy Summer Flowers

    These garden beauties thrive in summer heat and bloom nearly nonstop into fall. (You've got a shady yard? No worries; read about shade-loving gardens here.)

    Daisylike and toughDaisylike and tough

    These daisylike flowers are available in lavender, pink, or white. Three varieties we like: A. cordifolius Cape Cod (climate zones 1-10, 14-21), A. c. Little Carlow (zones 1-10, 14-21), and A. novi-belgii Melody (zones 1-24).

    Not sure what zone you live in? Find out here.

    Once you know your zone, find out what will grow best in your area.

    Gold and chocolateGold and chocolate
    Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta)

    Deep golden petals radiate from chocolate centers on 2- to 4-inch-wide flowers.

    Plants reach 3 to 4 feet tall and 1 ½ feet wide. Shorter varieties such as Goldilocks and Toto top out at 10 inches tall.

    Double and semi-doubleDouble and semi-double
    Coreopsis (C. grandiflora)

    Fluffy, golden yellow blooms atop tall stems. "Sunray" is a dense, compact selection with double and semidouble flowers. Zones 2-24, H1, H2.

    More on Coreopsis

    Might need some shadeMight need some shade

    Bold blooms in a range of vibrant colors grow

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  • National Park Secrets: How to Avoid the Crowds

    Get outdoors and skip the lines during the high season.

    Utah's second-largest national parkUtah's second-largest national park
    Capitol Reef, UT

    Annual attendance: 700,000

    Why it's awesome: It's Utah's second-largest national park, with slot canyons, arches, cliffs, and 31 miles of well-marked trails--yet only one-fifth the number of Zion's visitors. Throw in ancient petroglyphs, a river running through a lush valley of 2,000 fruit trees, crazy geology like the 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold, and the knockout 8-mile Scenic Drive (sans traffic).

    Trail to yourself: It's a steep 2 miles up the Golden Throne Trail, ​but the views will do their mightiest ​to distract you.

    OMG moment: Walking the Hickman Bridge Trail, a 133-foot-long natural stone bridge, with the Fremont River rushing nearby.

    Where to pitch a tent: With a free wilderness permit from the visitor center, you can pitch a tent in the backcountry. Or choose one of the 71 shaded sites along the river at Fruita Campground ($10).

    Where to book a room: Head to the funky town of Torrey, 10 miles

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