This is a wonderful time of year to be in New Mexico. It is the time that the farmers are harvesting their Green and Red Chili Peppers. They set up large chili roasters on street corners all over town, and you can stop and have them roast you up a big bag of chilies. You can take them home, put them in smaller bags and freeze them. Then all year long you can enjoy Green Chili Soup, Chili Rellenos, Green Chili Hamburgers and home made Salsa. We would always buy at least a 50 pound bag. With all this chili roasting going on, the whole city was filled with the rich aroma of roasting chilis.
While the Green Chilies were roasted, the Red Chilies were woven together like in the picture above to make Chili Ristras. The red chilies were dried in the sun, and then the ristras were sold. Originally this was a method to preserve the peppers and allow you to use them year round. After they were dried, people would buy them, and then put in the kitchen or pantry as a source of peppers for the year. The thing is, they are such a beautiful color of red, it became a tradition to use them as decorations, and not just for eating.
Green and Red Chilies bring back wonderful memories and New Mexico!