Decorating with chili peppers is easy and can add a spice to your home that goes beyond just taste. Using chili peppers as small accents or even as broader themes fits well into many different styles of decor.
About Chili Peppers
Chilies are from the genus Capsicum. This genus includes the spicier species that immediately come to mind, as well as the mild bell pepper. Chilies come in many hues, ranging from bright green to deep purple. They also vary widely in flavor, ranging from hot to sweet to bland.
Some species of chili pepper have been bred solely for ornamental purposes: these bright, beautiful, decorative chilies are valued for their looks, not their flavor.
Before you start decorating with chili peppers, remember that some ornamentals are still spicy and can irritate your skin. Wear gloves when you handle ornamental chilies and make sure you do not touch your face or eyes until you wash your hands thoroughly.
Ways to Decorate With Chili Peppers
The simplest way to decorate with chili peppers is to grow them in a pot or small container. Ornamental chilies are generally happy indoors as long as they get a lot of light. These easy-to-please plants can be purchased at most gardening stores.
Another way to use chili peppers in decoration is to dry them and use them in wreaths or center pieces. To dry chili peppers, simply follow these easy steps:
- If you are growing chilies at home, pick them when they are at their brightest.
- Place them on cardboard or in a container lined with a paper towel
- Set them in the sun.
- After a few days they will be dried, and can then be used for decoration.
You can also buy dried ornamental chili peppers at specialized grocery stores and craft stores. Here are some dried decorative chili ideas:
- For a party, instead of hanging streamers, hang chili peppers on string from the rafters of your home. This also looks great on Christmas trees – a more daring version of popcorn on a string.
- Go out on a limb and cluster some dried chilies along the brim of a sun hat. What could be better to wear on the beach during a vacation in beautiful, sunny Mexico?
- Pickle brightly colored chili peppers in glass jars and containers. Arrange them in the container and then fill with white vinegar. You can slice some and leave others whole for variation. You can do this with fresh chili peppers as well.
- Purchase a plain grapevine wreath (available at most craft stores) and attach dried chilies to the wreath. Intersperse the chilies with other plants and flowers that dry well, such as Statice and Sea Lavender.
- String the peppers together with raffia to make a vertical wall hanging. When stringing the chilies, cluster different colors for contrast.
Chile Pepper-Themed Parties and Cinco de Mayo Party Decorations
If incorporating decorative chilies into everyday decor is too spicy for your taste, consider decorating for an event with chilies.
Chile peppers are great for Cinco de Mayo party decorations (the 5th of May). This traditional Mexican holiday celebrates the story of Mexican victory over the French in 1862.
For a unique and spicy Cinco de Mayo celebration, string chilies from the ceiling as mentioned above, or arrange them on your tables as centerpieces on top of brightly colored cloth. You may also wants to prepare some traditional delicious chili recipes, such as chile relleno, chipotle chicken, or a colorful bell pepper salad.