What exactly is a caper?

What exactly is a caper?

What exactly is a caper? I've heard of the elusive caper and I've seen them at the grocery store, but I honestly had no idea what they were. I also never gave them much thought until last week.

I was reading a recent issue of Real Simple magazine and I became intrigued with a layout they did on how to mix-and-match ingredients to make healthy bowls of food. I thought this would be perfect because I love combining my foods, many of the options were tasty and this would work with the kids.

My kids don't always like to eat exactly what I'm having (shocking), but I still want them to try things and I don't want to make a whole other meal for them. In other words, I'm not a short order cook and you're trying some new vegetables.

You can find a shorter version of the Real Simple layout by clicking here, though this does include the list of suggested mix-and-match ingredients. I added some of these items to my own grocery list and I included capers. Might as well try something new, right?

Turns out, capers are the unopened flower buds of the prickly caper plant Capparis spinosa and they are native to the Mediterranean region. Capers are normally pickled or salted. Most of the jars you see at the grocery store are pickled capers.

I finally cracked open the jar today and added some to my pasta with vegetables. They were briny, salty and delicious. A little bit goes a long way with capers and I was surprised that there are only two calories per tablespoon. You could get away with half that amount and still get a lot of flavor.

Take capers straight out of the jar and toss them with pasta or salad, or check out these other websites for more recipe ideas.

Capers recipes: 22 ways to cook with the buds

How to use capers (and four favorite recipes)

Bon appetit!

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