Capers are the small, green, unopened flower buds of the caper bush (Capparis spinosa), a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region, but widely cultivated in other parts of the world. These edible buds are known for their distinctive, tangy flavor, which adds a zesty, savory element to a variety of dishes. They are commonly used as a garnish, seasoning, or pickled in vinegar or preserved in salt brine to prolong their shelf life.
In culinary applications, capers are often incorporated into Mediterranean cuisine, particularly in Italian, Spanish, and Greek dishes. They are a popular ingredient in sauces, dressings, pasta, and salads, as well as pairing well with fish, poultry, and meat. Capers also offer potential health benefits due to their high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties.
Capers are small spicy and tangy edible buds that are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. Despite their small size, these tiny gems can add an impressive kick of flavor to food. However, using them to their full potential can be a bit tricky, and people often find themselves unsure about how to handle this ingredient. The most common mishaps with capers usually revolve around their saltiness. As most capers are preserved in salt or vinegar brine, they can be incredibly salty. It's crucial to rinse and sometimes soak the capers before use to get rid of the overwhelming saltiness that could overpower your dish. If you're using capers for the first time, add them sparingly and gradually, you can always add more if needed. Before incorporating capers into your meals, slightly crush them to release their flavors. For an added twist, try frying your capers; this will make them less tart and give them a nice crispy texture. Most importantly, capers should be added toward the end of the cooking process to keep their unique flavor intact.
Can capers go bad?
What are the different types of capers?
What do capers taste like?
Do I need to rinse capers before using them?
What can I use capers in?
Can I eat capers out of the jar?
Do you chop capers or leave them whole?
Should I cook capers?
What's a good substitute for capers?
Are capers healthy?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does capers expire?
Commercially packaged capers are usually branded with a 'best before' date, which typically set around 2 to 3 years from packaging. Once opened, they can last up to a year if stored properly in the fridge. However, if they are kept in a pantry after opening, they will only be good for up to a month. For capers that are frozen, they can last up to a year.
How do you tell if capers is bad?
To tell if capers have gone bad, check for changes in color, smell, or texture. Healthy capers should look greenish-grey and have a sharp, tangy scent. If they have turned brown or black, smell unpleasantly sour or moldy, or have become overly soft and mushy, they're likely not safe to eat.
Tips for storing capers to extend shelf life
• Always keep capers in a cool, dry place before opening the jar, like in a pantry or a kitchen cabinet away from the stove and other heat sources.
• Once the jar is opened, always refrigerate to maintain its freshness. Make sure it's sealed tight and no air or water gets in.
• If you plan to freeze capers, rinse them first under cold water to get rid of excess salt or brine. Pat them dry with a paper towel before placing them in a freezer-safe bag.
• When defrosting capers, transfer them from the freezer to the fridge and let them defrost overnight. This will help to retain their flavour and texture.