You’ve probably seen a caper before. But chances are you also just probably mistook it for olives. You’re not alone. Capers can confuse some since they do look like small olives from afar.
But taste-wise, they’re not entirely the same.
Capers are not fruits nor are they considered vegetables. They are sometimes called berries although the more appropriate term for capers is buds of a flower. They’re tiny and green and used in pasta, pizza, and other Italian dishes to add flavor to them.
What do capers taste like? For first-timers, they may taste strange. It’ll be awhile before your taste buds can adjust to the uniqueness of the flavor of capers. But once you do, you’ll find that it complements well with Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Below is a brief breakdown of what to expect what capers taste like and how to use these buds in your dishes.
What Do Capers Taste Like?
Capers are simply salty. This is because of how capers are preserved for us to consume. Capers are stored in brine, vinegar, oil, or with water and sea salt. Where to buy capers? They are bottled and sold in most supermarkets, so they’re not rare. They’re very popular and used in many dishes to make it taste exotic.
But if you’ve ever had capers that haven’t been preserved yet, they still taste salty. It just won’t be as salty as the ones we’re used to eating since the bottled ones have already been sitting around brine for so long.
As for the caper’s texture, it’s like a tiny, slim, and tender blueberry. They can easily be squished. They’re also green and oval. They’re not to be confused with olives that are much larger and firm in texture.
What Are Capers?
Is a caper a vegetable? It’s not. Capers are from the buds of flowers known as Capparis Spinosa. Before these flowers grow into their beautiful full form, the buds are picked and sold as capers.
The smaller the buds, the pricier the capers are. This is because tiny capers pack more flavor than the larger ones. When capers grow, they lose some of that salty flavor it’s known to have. The smallest capers are called nonpareils and are the ones usually found in dishes.
Another reason why they’re quite expensive is that they’re handpicked one by one. Capers are delicate and cannot be harvested by a machine that might crush them accidentally.
What are capers used for? They’re known to add that salty taste rather than use actual salt. Capers are considered to be a more natural ingredient and can turn meals flavorful.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Capers?
Capers can last 6 months to a year. Lucky for us, capers are already preserved and bottled up with an expiration date for reference, so you don’t need to worry about it getting spoiled so soon. But it is still recommended to refrigerate your capers once you’ve opened up a bottle of it.
Capers Health Benefits
There aren’t enough studies to fully determine capers’ health benefits. But capers are believed to help people with diabetes. Some also apply capers on their skin to treat dryness.
The important thing you must remember is that capers may have high sodium content due to them being soaked in saltwater. You can look for bottled ones that contain sea salt only for a healthier option. But you may also rinse the capers lightly before cooking it into your dishes to remove the strong taste of vinegar or brine.
How To Use Capers
Capers usage comes from a lot of Italian, French and Spanish cuisines. They’re also found in several Mediterranean meals. They’re useful whenever you want to season your dishes without adding too much salt.
Here are just a few examples where you can use capers:
Capers on pasta are a great way to add flavor to the dish. Pasta Puttanesca is one perfect example. You’ll have the anchovies, tomatoes, olives, and capers complement each other. Puttanesca won’t taste as authentic and delicious without capers added to it.
Adding capers to a salad like Niçoise Salad turns it even more refreshing. Niçoise Salad is filled with protein such as salmon or tuna and eggs. Along with potatoes and greens, Niçoise Salad is a filling meal. To season the salad lightly, add vinaigrette and top it off with some capers. Aside from making the salad more refreshing, capers also make it even yummier.
3. Chicken or Fish
Chicken Piccata is a great example of how a dish like this isn’t complete without capers. Having your chicken drenched in that lemon butter sauce with capers tastes so delicious. You can pair it with spaghetti or a glass of your favorite white wine.
You can also do a fish version of this Piccata too. Or if you’d like to try out a different recipe, you may bake fish with tomato sauce cooked with capers for a Mediterranean flavor.
Make a refreshing salad dressing out of capers, lemon, olive oil, and garlic. This can be used for a light Caesar’s salad without any egg yolk or mayo involved. Add in some grated parmesan cheese too for that extra salty flavor.
Capers also go well with anchovies and garlic in olive oil along with grilled bell peppers. Mix them and you‘ll have a grilled bell pepper spread perfect on French baguettes. It might even be your next favorite snack.
Creamy soups such as cauliflower or mushroom soup pairs well with capers topped on it. It adds a natural salty taste, so your soups won’t be bland.
Chilled tomato soups for a quick dinner are also perfect with capers.
Don’t be afraid to try capers the next time you see a bottle of it in grocery stores or capers as an ingredient on a certain dish in a menu. They’re delicious with a salty taste to it that is used as a seasoning in most food.
What do capers taste like for you? Let us know and share with us your favorite recipes that have capers in them.