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Make a Chili Strand (Ristra) for the Holidays | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Make a Decorative Chili Pepper Strand (Ristra)

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Margo Letourneau
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Hang Colorful Strings of Chili Peppers for the Holidays!

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Create a colorful strand of red and green chili peppers—called a ristra—to hang outdoors for a unique holiday decoration. Here’s how:

Traditionally made in Mexico at harvesttime, chili strands can be made with peppers from your supermarket or leftover peppers from your garden.

Note: How many peppers you will need will depend on the type you use. If using small chili peppers, you may need around 35 to 50; with large chilis, you may need about 15 to 20.

Make a Decorative Chili Ristra

  • Cut a piece of fine wire about 14 inches long.
  • Wrap one end of the wire tightly around a whole head of garlic.
  • Carefully use a large needle to poke a hole through the base of the pepper stems and string them onto the wire starting from the bottom so that they fan out, forming a spiral.
  • Twist the top of the wire into a loop for hanging, and tie on a bright red or green bow.

The chili strand will dry and remain colorful for months. It’s very festive and refreshingly different at the holidays!

chile strands

Illustration by Margo Letourneau

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