Object of the Month
By Amanda Mather
Throughout the course of human history, one thing we needed to figure out, and quick, was how to preserve food. With the advent of agriculture, that need became even more intense, to put it mildly. Here in the desert, this is shocking I know — people came up with drying. Crazy right?
In the desert we dried everything: meat (carne seca, anyone?), pumpkins, chile (ristra, anyone?), squash, peas, all manner of fruit, literally everything. We cut stuff into manageable pieces, laid it on a rooftop or out in the courtyard and waited for the desert sun to work its magic. And work its magic it did, allowing people to save their summer and fall harvests into the winter months so they would not starve to death.
Pueblo people had long since figured out this method of food preservation and when the Spanish arrived, they took quick notice and adopted the technique with gusto. This brings us to our object of the month: rueditas.
Reuditas, or small wheels, are thin cut, round pieces of summer squash dried in the sun and then strung up and hung to be rehydrated later during the long, cold winter. In researching this humble artifact, I found reference to rueditas well into the 20th century in New Mexico homes.
I have not tried them personally, but word on the street is that they are pretty good just on their own, like a crunchy zucchini chip. Here at Las Golondrinas you can see rueditas hanging in most of our early kitchens, just waiting for the winter, to be tossed into a stew, or soup, or munched on like the kale chip of the 1700’s. Million dollar idea you guys…just saying!