Caper

“Caper diem” and win in flavor

Caper is a plant native of the Greek land and it grows mainly in rocky soils near the sea. Apart from being cultivated, it can also grow spontaneously in cracks and crevices of rocks and stone walls.

Caper’s dark green buds which are sun-dried and then usually packed in a vinegar brine, are available year-round, have a sharp piquant flavor and add pungency, a peculiar aroma and saltiness when used in cooking. The flavor of caper may be described as being similar to that of mustard and black pepper. In fact, the caper strong flavor comes from mustard oil.

Capers range in size from tiny nonpareils, favored for their delicate texture and more pronounced taste to larger sizes, which are stronger in flavor and less aromatic.

Capers are said to reduce flatulence and to be anti-rheumatic in effect. In ayurvedeic medicine capers (Capers=Himsra) are recorded as hepatic stimulants and protectors, improving liver function. Capers have reported uses for arteriosclerosis, as diuretics, kidney disinfectants, vermifuges and tonics. Infusions and decoctions from caper root bark have been traditionally used for dropsy, anemia, arthritis and gout. Capers contain considerable amounts of the anti-oxidant bioflavinoid rutin.

Caper and its relatives in several European tongues can be traced back to Classical Latin capparis “caper”, which in turn, was borrowed from Greek kapparis (κάππαρις). The caper was used in ancient Greece as a carminative. It is represented in archaeological levels in the form of carbonised seeds and rarely as flower buds and fruits from archaic and Classical antiquity contexts.

The caper is mainly used in cooking and gives a strong taste. Also can be used raw in salads. Finally can also be used to give aroma to different agricultural products such as oil, vinegar, cheese and gives special flavor to pickles.

MLGFB Tip:

How to make pickled capers

Ingredients: fresh caper buds, 1 liter of red vinegar, 2 tablespoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper grains

Preparation:

• Wash and soak the capers from the previous night in a large bowl with cold water

• The next morning, drain the capers

• In a large pot, boil the vinegar, with the salt and the black pepper grains

• Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Then take the pot off the heat and leave to cool.

• Put the drained capers in a clay jar and pour the boiled vinegar

• Seal the jar and leave it unopened for at least 3 months before using the caper buds

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