Capers: what is it?
Capers were known in ancient Rome and were used there as a spice. In addition, they were considered a very strong aphrodisiac. In Russia, they still remain exotic, and many are still interested in what capers are, in what form they are used, what they taste like.
Let's talk about this in more detail.
Capers - what is it?
Capers are unblown flower buds of the plant Caper (Capparis spinosa). Used in pickled or canned form in vinegar with salt. They belong to the Mediterranean cuisine. During flowering, the entire bush is covered with white and pink flowers, from which oblong and fleshy fruits later grow. All parts of the caper bush have analgesic and antiseptic properties.
In ancient times, decoctions of fruits, roots and leaves were used to heal wounds, to relieve pain in the head, toothache, and to prevent heart and thyroid diseases. As medications, capers began to be used in the times of Avicenna. In the regions of the Caucasus, this plant still treats rheumatism.
Also capers is one of the main ingredients of the original �Olivier� salad, but we have replaced capers with pickled cucumbers.
In what form are capers used?
The fruits of caper plant themselves are not used for food, only unblown flower buds are used. Capers up to one centimeter in size are considered exquisite seasoning. There are rules for the preparation of capers: they are mixed with a certain amount of salt. To remove excess salt, capers are scalded before use. This most fully preserves the burning taste of capers and develops their delicate savory aroma. Salted capers are fully ready in a couple of months. It is not recommended to use capers in large quantities, as they can cause nausea.
What taste have capers?
To taste capers can be compared with mustard or bitter pepper. Capers have a strong flavor due to mustard oil, which appears when the plant is rubbed. Modern methods of preparation in the marinade with vinegar give the capers a sour-salty, tangy, pungent taste. These capers enhance the taste of the dish. The taste of caper without marinade is very tart and bitter, it is not used in its raw form.
Served before meals capers awaken the appetite.The capers of the French Provence are considered the best, and capers from the Maltese island of Gozo are also highly valued.
Where to add capers?
Capers are an important element of Italian, Moroccan, Greek and Turkish cuisine. The slight hotness of capers is only noticeable when cold. Therefore, they are served to cold snacks, vegetables, fish and meat. Also, capers are added to pizza, salads, sauces and pickles.
In addition, capers are part of the sauce "Tartar". You can learn more about the preparation of the sauce in our article How to Prepare a Tartar Sauce.
Often pickled capers are used as decoration - instead of olives in a martini glass. They are served with pasta, smoked fish, often served with olives. In Cyprus, the berries themselves are served as a snack. In addition, in the Greek cuisine are used and the leaves of kapernik. They are boiled, marinated, used in salads and fish dishes.
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