What is capers and what do they taste like?

If you like seasonings, then surely at least once heard about capers. And yet, not everyone knows what it is, and with what they eat.

What are capers?

What are capers? These are swollen but not yet blossoming buds of the plant of the same name, which belongs to the family of capers. It is a growing shrub with spines and small leaves, reaching two meters in height. Kapersnik grows in Central Asia, North Africa, as well as in some southern regions of Europe.

His buds are harvested by hand, they are used for culinary purposes. Fresh capers are almost inedible, so they are usually canned with vinegar or marinated with salt. Sometimes, before cooking, the buds are soaked in water to remove excess salt (contains a large amount of sodium).

What do capers look like? As small green peas, on which, upon closer inspection, you can find some beginning to develop petals. The sizes may be different, they depend on the degree of maturation.But the bigger the buds, the more valuable, tasty and healthy they are. Of course, large capers will cost much more, but they are very convenient to use.

The history of capers as a culinary supplement has its roots in the distant past. It is known that they are actively used for over a thousand years. In addition, there is evidence that they were traded by the ancient Greeks.

What are they?

Capers have a rather pronounced taste due to the presence of a large amount of essential oils. It can be described as quite piquant and tart, a little sour. You can also distinguish the taste of mustard, as the plant stems contain mustard oil. Lovers of spicy and some spicy seasonings will surely like capers.

Composition and use

Despite the fact that capers are so small and, in general, are not intended for human consumption, they are very, very useful. They contain saponins, sugars, glycosides, essential oils, fiber, starch, iodine, rutin, pectin, ascorbic acid, calcium, niacin, vitamins K and P, copper, sodium, iron and other useful substances.

Useful properties of capers:

  • This spice strengthens the walls of blood vessels and protects against certain diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as atherosclerosis.
  • Capers normalize blood clotting and prevent hemorrhages.
  • Ascorbic acid, which is part of, helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • Virtually all parts of the plant have antiseptic, wound-healing, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing to accelerate wound healing and eliminate inflammation.
  • Capers have an analgesic effect.
  • Pectin and fiber, contained in the buds, normalize digestion, stimulate intestinal peristalsis and cleanse the body of toxins and slags.
  • This is an excellent antioxidant agent, which, firstly, slows the aging process, and secondly, prevents cancer associated with the negative effects of free radicals.
  • Capers contribute to weight loss, as, first, they contain only 20 calories, and secondly, they speed up the metabolic processes.

What can you use them with?

Capers can be a wonderful seasoning, combined with a wide variety of dishes from meat, fish, seafood, vegetables. These buds are added to soups, side dishes, hot and main dishes, various salads, sauces and even cocktails and pastries.In general, this is a true universal spice.

What can be made of capers?

What to cook from capers? We offer several recipes.

The recipe is the first

You can make a delicious fish sauce. For preparation it will be required:

  • half a glass of olive oil;
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard;
  • three teaspoons of sugar;
  • three tablespoons of lemon juice;
  • 50-70 grams of capers;
  • a teaspoon of lemon zest;
  • Dill greens.

Cooking:

  1. Mix the mustard, lemon zest and juice into the olive oil, mash everything thoroughly with a mortar.
  2. Next, add sugar, capers and chopped dill.
  3. Whisk everything well and use as a sauce.

Second recipe

Make a savory and delicious salad. Here's what you need:

  • one can of tuna;
  • several bunches of arugula;
  • 100 grams of hard cheese;
  • three tablespoons of capers;
  • red onion;
  • two tablespoons of olive oil;
  • a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar;
  • salt to taste

Cooking:

  1. Peel and chop the onion.
  2. Slices tuna with a fork.
  3. Cheese grate.
  4. Arugula tear hands.
  5. Mix all ingredients, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.

Third recipe

Prepare the sauce for pasta and spaghetti. This will require:

  • 2 tablespoons capers;
  • Bulgarian pepper;
  • tablespoon of olive oil;
  • tablespoon of green basil;
  • 3 cloves of garlic.

Cooking:

  1. Pepper cut into strips and fry in olive oil with chopped garlic.
  2. Add capers and basil, mix everything.

What to use instead of capers?

How to replace capers? If the sharpness is unprincipled, and the dish should be added only sour, then instead of exotic buds you can use green olives or marinated gherkins.

If you need to get spice as close as possible to the taste of capers, then you can use the ovary of the nasturtium fruit. This plant is more common and affordable, and its buds taste almost the same as capers.

To prepare the seasoning from nasturtium, you will need:

  • 100 grams of collected fresh unblown buds of nasturtium;
  • three tablespoons of salt.

For preparation of marinade it is necessary:

  • 2 cups of water;
  • a tablespoon of vinegar (6%);
  • two or three tablespoons of granulated sugar;
  • two teaspoons of salt;
  • a few currant leaves.

Cooking:

  1. Collect the buds well washed and dried, laying on a paper napkin.
  2. Now mix the buds with salt and leave overnight in a closed container.
  3. Cook the marinade. To do this, boil the water, add vinegar, salt, sugar and currant leaves to it. Pour marinade buds of nasturtium and roll on cans.

Be sure to purchase and try capers. This is delicious!

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