How to Dry Peppers: Make a Mexican Rista

This year one of my faithful readers named our garden “The Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes”  because we have 45 tomato plants.  But in all this tomato craze, our peppers tend to get ignored.  We have several varieties, including cayenne peppers.

Why Doug planted cayenne peppers, I will never know.   I decided to dry them since we don’t, well, eat cayenne peppers on a regular basis.

You can dry peppers several ways but I chose to make a Mexican rista because I decided it was the prettiest option.

Image found here.

To make your own Mexican rista, you’ll need:

  • peppers
  • cotton string
  • wire

Wrap the string around the stems of three peppers several times.

Bring the string up between two of the peppers and pull it tight.

This should give you a semi-firm hold on your peppers.

Then, tie a knot to completely secure the string.  This was pretty difficult for me because I couldn’t figure out where the loop was supposed to go.  After much confusion, I finally started laying a loop flat on the table and inserting the whole bunch of peppers inside the loop.

Continue these steps every few inches.  (By the way, I went way too far between bunches and it caused havoc.  Keep reading.)

Now it’s time to use your wire.  (I used floral wire because cayenne peppers are so small – if you’re using larger peppers I’d try something heavier.  Next time I might even consider using rope.)

The wire is the base for your peppers so you’ll need to make a loop or tie a knot in the end to make sure your peppers don’t fall off.  Jack actually caught a  fallen pepper and his reaction to that spicy pepper was thoroughly entertaining.

Next, braid your string of peppers around the wire.  Rista makers say to do it this way:

“The process is like braiding hair-the wire serves as one strand and stems of two chiles in the cluster are the other two strands.” (See here.)

See here.

Even with the diagram, I could not figure out how to braid something with only two strands.  Tell me I’m not the only one.   It didn’t help that I had so much string between my pepper clumps.  I would have been braiding for days!

So I took the path of least resistance.  I cut each pepper clump from the string and left enough string on either side so that I could tie the clump onto the wire.   I made sure to tie the clumps so they faced opposite directions.

My rista isn’t perfect – you can see the string – but it still is pretty and it might just work!  Stay tuned for the end result!

What do you dry?

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9 Comments

Filed under DIY, Garden

9 responses to “How to Dry Peppers: Make a Mexican Rista

  1. Mom

    What? No footage of Jack enjoying that pepper? I would of loved to have witnessed that! He is a hoot. But, about your rista thingy I think it turned out quite well. So when the peppers are dry to you crush them to make cayenne pepper? That is pretty cool, way to research what to do with a plethora of peppers. How long does it take to dry? And to answer your ? what do I dry? ….. things that get wet silly.

  2. Lauren

    Wow Tash! I’m excited to see the final result. I used to dry all of the corsages Joey would give me from dances in high school – such a sap, I know :) But, I’ve always loved dry pressed flowers because then you can laminate them and make bookmarks!

    Have a great day!!

  3. Mom

    Hey, are they drying out?

  4. Charlie Ozanich

    Good evening,

    For an authentic rista, I like to weave my chilis into three braided strands of raffia grass. You can make the rista as long as you desire, simply by weaving in more strands of raffia. As I braid the raffia, I insert chilis, alternating left and right. I tie off the end with three braids and a knot. Sorry, no pics. Limitations of a novice.

  5. Ghost Pepper Man

    Your first year of growing peppers and this makes you an expert? Give me a break! Don’t post something unless you have some knowledge!

    • vg

      ghostpooperman: don’t be an ass. if youre looking for info from an accredited rista expert, maybe you should look elsewhere. no need to gum up an otherwise great space with your hat[e]orade.

      post author: thanks for the direction. making ristas for holiday gifts and just need a little guidance

  6. Micha

    I am about to plant my first pepper seeds, thanks for giving directions on the rista .
    Micha ( Netherlands)

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