By: Nazli Mohideen
Typically found in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia, capers are small, green flower buds. They grow from the capparis spinosa, otherwise known as the caper bush. Before they have a chance to ripen, the capers are plucked from the bushes and then placed in a brine to bring out more flavor.
It is said that the smaller the caper is, the better, since as they grow in size, they become more acidic in flavor. The capers range from the nonpareils variety to surfines, capucines, capotes, fines, and finally, grusas. The nonpareils kind is usually the best-tasting.
Capers are sold in jars similar to pickles and olives. Before cooking with them, the capers are drained from its brine and dried. Recipes calling for capers include potato salad, pasta, different sauces, and salmon. They’re a staple in Greek and Italian dishes.
Capers also have a bright, but incredibly salty taste. It is recommended to drain and rinse the capers thoroughly before use. Otherwise, there is no need to additionally salt your dish.
The small buds have great nutritional benefits. Not only are they low in cholesterol, but capers are also a source of protein and fiber, various vitamins, calcium, iron, and magnesium.