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Creating our Ristras and Chiles

Ristras adorn my home year-around. They hang in my kitchen, where I can easily grab a pod to use in cooking and outside

at Christmas. Santa Chile Pods were my daughter Lindsay’s favorite winter craft. With chile pods, paint, glitter, cotton balls, and some glue, we created unique ornaments for our Christmas Tree.

A friend came to visit one winter and fell in love with ristras. She promptly purchased two – and then the dilemma – how to get them home. Ristras are like steaks in the grocery store. They seem to grow exponentially on their way home. Plus, Ristras are not flat, nor do they take well to smushing. Finally, she agreed to go to the packing store, where they carefully packed the Ristras in a plastic bag so the seeds would not drop out of the box, then wrapped and swaddled them to ship home. Then the shock of the shipping

cost! Double the cost of the actual Ristras. Oh, well, worth the Santa Fe memories.

Later that summer, I asked her about her Ristras. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘once winter was over In February and the humidity climbed, that was it. To the garbage they went.’

So, that is why I created our unique Ristras and chile ornaments. They are the perfect size to pack in your suitcase, flat and sturdy. Hang them year around in the heat, humidity, and rain. If you need New Mexico chile for cooking, drop by the Santa Fe School of Cooking to stock up on all the easy-to-pack varieties of chile seasonings!


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