Posted by: cassymuronaka | August 25, 2009

Mother Nature’s hot little artworks

Translucent Hatch Chile

Pardon my obsession, but once I completed my packaging and storing of 30 pounds of New Mexico Hatch chile peppers, I began looking more closely at the peppers I had not chosen not to freeze, but dehydrate.

I had already decided to multitask many of my chiles by photographing the skinned and dried vegetables. These images I would submit to my stock photography agency.

The first thing I noticed about the roasted chiles was that by leaving them hot and steaming in a plastic bag overnight, many of them had begun to “ripen,” meaning that they started to go from green to red in color. My second observation occurred after I dehydrated about half of them. These chile peppers darkened and lost some of their color saturation, but both the red and green hues still held up in the dehydration process.

Translucent Hatch Chiles, red

The dried Hatch chiles also became paper-thin and translucent, every vein now outlined. In order to highlight all transformations in photographs, I dragged out my old film negative light table so I could back-light the chiles and show them to their best advantage.

Actually, a nice big pot of my friend Manny Vasquez’s chile verde recipe is probably going to be where the peppers will be shown to their best advantage. However, I’ve been so fascinated by Mother Nature’s hot little artworks that I haven’t yet gotten around to cooking anything with them.



  1. […] Since I am part of a three-person nuclear unit, I still have chiles left over from last year, despite the many batches of Chile Verde I produced during the last year. I’ve almost depleted my supply of frozen Hatch chiles, but I still have a lot of the thin, almost translucent chiles I dehydrated, which, when dried, turned into spectacular edible art. […]

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