If you’re like me, and you’ve been searching for savory recipes for your green, unripe, end-of-season tomatoes that don’t involve frying or pickling, you’ve probably realized they’re few and far between. And it’s no wonder why: In their immature stage, green tomatoes can be bland or bitter, too dry or too dense. On their own, they aren’t exactly culinary delights.
But once you simmer them in a luscious broth with a handful of aromatics and let the heat take the edge off their tartness, green tomatoes can become a star ingredient in a recipe. (Not to mention… bacon just makes everything better.)
Before we moved out of our home in Southern California, we had a long list of garden chores that included clearing out the “weedy” tomatoes that had volunteered freely in our lower yard (weeds that I’m deeply missing as we’re settling into the Central Oregon climate).
We harvested basketfuls of ripe tomatoes before tossing the plants into a big pile to be broken down and taken to our compost heap. I decided to rescue some of the green unripe tomatoes, as it seemed like such a waste to let them go.
After detailing my move from Southern California to Central Oregon in this post, a slew of emails landed in my inbox, asking how we managed to move all the chickens with us — and how we did it without a livestock trailer.
Well, the beauty of having a small backyard flock (only four hens) is that they all fit in the back of our SUV!
We picked the right time of year to move to Central Oregon!
The last time I moved, it was 2010 and I was merely moving 10 minutes away from my previous home. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I took less than a week to pack up the pugs, a few pieces of furniture, and our respective work studios, and only two weeks to fully unpack in our new house. As I remember it, the process was tiring but far from tedious.
Fast-forward to 2017 where it’s now been a month since our move from Southern California to Central Oregon, and we’re still trying to get our garage and office in order. If you’d seen what we started with, however, it’s rather astonishing what we’ve managed to finish in spite of some setbacks.
We’re knee-deep in boxes, tape, and bubble wrap around here, and though we technically still have a month left of our current lease, our moving pods come in a couple of weeks — so we need to wrap things up, fast.
There’s a whole lot of Craigslisting, eBaying, and Goodwilling going on, and I’m continually amazed at how much stuff can accumulate in our lives in such a short time! I mean, why did we keep all those disposable chopsticks and soy sauce packets but never use them? Why did I hoard double prints of all my pre-2003 pictures (before I bought my first digital camera) and drag those boxes with me through five different moves? (Saying “double prints” really feels like I’m aging myself here! Haha.)
Watching all that clutter exit the house brought such a rush of endorphins that I wish I had the same super-charged motivation to purge at other times of year too.
With good progress being made inside the house, we’ve started to focus on organizing the yard this week: inventorying tools and equipment, cleaning out the chicken coop, trimming trees and mulching beds, and dividing herbs and taking cuttings. (I seriously think the last time the yard looked this neat and manicured was when we first moved in! And um, that was seven years ago.)
The five little things that made my week…
1. If you’re a canner, you know that little pop! of your lids sealing after coming out of their boiling water bath is music to the ears, amiright?!
It’s been insanely hot and humid this week in Southern California, but I’d promised my friend I’d teach her how to can, so I was so thankful that Ball sent me their electric water bath canner to try. Instead of heating up the stovetop (and the rest of the house) with a huge pot of boiling water, I just plugged this canner in — near the door, where we had a cool breeze — and putting up a small batch of balsamic fig jam was totally bearable in this heat wave.
I liked it so much that I ended up donating my old enamel canning pot and will be bringing the new one to Oregon with us. It’s surprisingly lightweight, and the electric base nests neatly inside the pot (along with all my canning tools), so it’s just one tidy package to store. I’m looking forward to canning in my new backyard when it’s nice out!
Climbing at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.
Oh man, so much has happened in the last couple weeks that I’m struggling with where to start on the big news, so I’ll just get straight to the point: We are moving 900 miles north to Bend, Oregon, in October, and we’re beyond thrilled!
This post is in partnership with Gilmour Garden and Watering. All thoughts and words are my own.
It’s here — the dog days of summer. Or should I say, it’s been here, as we’ve been feelin’ the heat for the past few weeks with seemingly no end in sight.
My Southern California garden is accustomed to the sultry weather this time of year, but it’s not any easier on the plants than it is on me. We have a full south-facing garden and September is generally the hottest month for us coastal dwellers, when Santa Ana winds blow in from the desert and bring extremely dry, hot and dusty winds that amplify an already dry season.
Hey all! Today at 12 pm PT, I’ll be broadcasting live on Facebook with Jessica Piper, home canning expert at Ball Canning, to show you how to make Bread and Butter Pickled Beets, Sweet Pickled Radishes, and two extension recipes that put both of those pickles to use!