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A string on which foodstuffs, such as chilies, onions, or garlic, are threaded or tied for storage.
[Spanish, from Old Spanish riestra, variant of riesta, rieste, from Latin restis, rope, cord, ristra.]
Word History: A ristra not only can be used to decorate bare kitchen walls, it is a good way of preserving foodstuffs that keep best in the open air. Dried chilies are likely to get musty if stored in a dark or damp place where there is no movement of air, and garlic and onions may begin to sprout. The Spanish word ristra descends from the Latin word restis, meaning not only "rope" but also "ristra." Ristras of garlic and onions have probably adorned Mediterranean kitchens since ancient times.
(Cookery) cookery a string of dried chilli peppers, sometimes used as decoration