Saturday, July 22, 2006

Capers - WHB #42

Since I used capers in tonight's dinner, I thought I'd use them for this weekend's Weekend Herb Blogging. Paz is hosting this time, over at The Cooking Adventures of Chez Paz.


Capers are the unopened green flower buds of the Capparis spinosa (Capparidaceae - caper family - closely related to the cabbage family), a wild and cultivated bush that is grown mainly in Mediterranean countries (southern France, Italy, and Algeria) and also in California.

Manual labor is required to gather capers, for the buds must be picked each morning just as they reach the proper size. After the buds are picked, they are usually sun-dried, then pickled in a vinegar brine.

Capers can range in size from that of a tiny peppercorn (the petite variety from southern France, considered the finest) to some as large as the tip of your little finger (from Italy).

Capers generally come in brine but can also be found salted and sold in bulk. Either way, rinse before using to flush away as much salt as possible.

The taste is slightly astringent and pungent, and they can lend piquancy to many sauces and condiments; they can also be used as a garnish for meat and vegetable dishes.

Visit The Cooking Adventures of Chez Paz after the weekend's over for the roundup!


Paz said...

Hi Cindy!

It's great to learn more about capers!


Kalyn said...

I love capers, both the big and small ones. Last summer I had a fantastic Greek Salad on Cape Cod and it had tons of capers on top. New use of them for me, but it was great.

Ruth said...

I was wondering how they got harvested - thanks for the info.

I recently bought a jar of caper berries (they're rather large in size) and I've been trying to figure out what to do with them...I had seen a recipe, I just can't remember whether it was in a magazine, a book or on some blogger site.