Monday, October 3

What are capers actually?

We all have capers located, they are those little salty flavor bombs that when found in any dish undoubtedly cause an explosion of flavor and in a certain way participate in creating a perfectly balanced bite. Although, it is a fact that we have all consumed them in numerous dishes; they are also the kind of food we tend not to ask questions about. Until one day, for no reason at all, we suddenly realize that we have no idea what capers are. And that’s where the questions arise Are they fruits? Vegetables? Something completely different? Without a doubt, it is the type of question that makes us look desperate for the answer on Google. So taking advantage of this curious terrain, we have set out to learn more about these little green treasures.

What are capers?

Capers are small flower buds that grow on the thorny bush which receives the scientific name of capparis spinosa, also known as the caper bush. It grows in places where most plants cannot: cliffs, rocky slopes, sandy or gravelly soils. These shrubs can be found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, from the Middle East to the Himalayas, through the Pacific islands and in the northern interior of Australia. They adapt to all factors, therefore: if growing conditions are harsh, caper bushes find a way.

So historically, wherever the soil is inhospitable to crops, people have needed to figure out how to make everything that grows in the area edible. This includes foods that were once poisonous, like almonds. An important fact about capers: is that when they are obtained directly from the bush they are so painfully bitter that they are practically inedible. Sure, eating them like this will not kill you and in fact this was a huge advantage for our first human ancestors. The rest of that story, since at some point, someone discovered that soaking capers in a very salty brine makes them stop being so bitter and begin to be incredible.

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The truth is that capers have been famous for too many years. Appear in The Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian narrative written on clay tablets in Sumer around 2700 BC. C. TThey can also be found in De materia medica, which confirmed that capers were prized in Ancient Greece as food and medicine, and in Apicius, an ancient “Cook Book” Latin compiled in the 1st century AD

What are the main types of capers?

Currently, capers are usually sold in jars that can be pickled in brine or cured in salt. Brined capers can be eaten straight from the jar. While salty capers are unpleasant until the salt is rinsed off, and even then, they may need a short soak to extract even more salt. After rinsing the capers, it is always advisable to try one. If they are still too salty, place the capers in a bowl and cover them with cold water, let them rest for five minutes and try another.

Now, capers are classified by size. There are the smallest ones, which are about 1/4 “wide, and since they come mainly from the south of France, you may see them as” French nonpareils. “ This means capers, “without equal” and refers to a small but powerful variant, with a delicate texture and an intense and concentrated flavor.

Following on the caper size scale, there are: surfines (7-8 mm), capuchinas (8-9 mm), condones (9-11 mm), finos (11-13 mm) y grusas (14 + mm). For obvious reasons, larger capers tend to be more acidic, as they can absorb more brine. They are all delicious and can be used more or less interchangeably; just remember to taste the food for seasoning while cooking.

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When capers are not plucked from their infancy, and allowed to continue growing, they become a plump, round caper, reaching the dimensions of a small olive. This type of capers They are called capers and are generally harvested for that purpose, and then put in brine with its stem included (which is perfectly edible) attached, and they have small seeds inside, like a kiwi. Although they are equally delicious, in many cases these types of capers are not interchangeable with the smaller capers that are used in many recipes, since they have a milder flavor and a softer texture.

The truth is that capers are a Mediterranean treasure that fill many dishes with flavor and personality. About the most popular and exquisite ways to integrate them into the kitchen, they are widely used in: pastas, risottos, salads, ceviches, carpaccios, stuffed peppers, a great addition to salmon, fish, seafood and poultry and in bagels.

They are related to various health benefits, among which the following stand out (backed by science:

They are beneficial for people with diabetes. They are a good ally to reduce high levels of glucose and cholesterol in the blood. And they correct liver function in diabetic people.

Perfect for regulating weight. Due to their powerful combination of fiber and very low caloric intake, they provide a lot of flavor and also benefit digestion.

– They strengthen the bones. They stand out for their high vitamin K content that improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.

– They protect against possible allergies. Among the benefits supported by science on capers, it has been shown that they have great antihistamine and antiallergic properties.

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– They improve immunity. Another of its great qualities is its antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which protect us from diseases and infections.

– They are good for the skin. Capers are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that have the peculiarity of protecting the skin, providing moisture and hydration. They are also a good ally to combat all kinds of inflammatory conditions.

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