The salted and pickled caper bud (called simply a caper) is often used as a seasoning or garnish. Capers are a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, especially Cypriot, Italian, Aeolian and Maltese. The mature fruit of the caper shrub are prepared similarly and marketed as caper berries.
The buds, when ready to pick, are a dark olive green and about the size of a fresh kernel of corn (Zea mays). They are picked, then pickled in salt, or a salt and vinegar solution, and drained. Intense flavor, sometimes described as being similar to black pepper or mustard, is developed as mustard oil (glucocapparin) is released from each caper bud. This enzymatic reaction leads to the formation of rutin, often seen as crystallized white spots on the surfaces of individual caper buds.
Capers are a distinctive ingredient in Italian cuisine, especially in Sicilian, Aeolian and southern Italian cooking. They are commonly used in salads, pasta salads, meat dishes, and pasta sauces. Examples of uses in Italian cuisine are chicken piccata and spaghetti alla puttanesca.
Capers are one of the ingredients of tartar sauce. They are often served with cold smoked salmon or cured salmon dishes (especially lox and cream cheese). Capers and caper berries are sometimes substituted for olives to garnish a martini.
Capers are categorized and sold by their size, defined as follows, with the smallest sizes being the most desirable: non-pareil (up to 7 mm), surfines (7–8 mm), capucines (8–9 mm), capotes (9–11 mm), fines (11–13 mm), and grusas (14+ mm). If the caper bud is not picked, it flowers and produces a caper berry. The fruit can be pickled and then served as a Greek mezze.
Capers Nutrition Facts: Calories, Carbs, and Health BenefitsTweet
Capers are composed of 83.85% water, 4.89% carbohydrates, 2.36% protein, and 0.86% fat. One tablespoon of capers supplies you with 0.421 grams of carbohydrates, which is 0.32 percent of the minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates you should have daily. That same a 100 gram reference serving of capers provides 23 calories and have a high content of Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), containing 27.33% of the Daily Value (DV) per 100-gram amount (right table of USDA nutrient values). This means if your diet contains capers, it helps your body to stabilise blood clots and heal wounds faster, regulate concentration of calcium in the blood, retent of episodic memory (in older people) and it is effective against excessive bleedingosteoporosis by regulating calcium levelshigh cholesterol level. At the same time they contain a considerable amount of Sodium and Copper attaining 156.53% and 41.56% of the Daily Value in a 100 g (3.5 Oz), respectively.