Capering in Crete

How lovely is this time of the year!  One of the nicer jobs – wandering through the groves finding stray caper bushes, laying low to the ground, protecting themselves with spikes, but careful handling allows us to gather their fruit, the unopened flower buds. Brined or pickled, a tasty and healthy addition to any salad, cooked in dishes, or pestos and sauces!

Typical location of the caper plant
Typical location of the caper plant

You will find them on road sides, but these may be either trampled by cars or goats, or may have been exposed to exhaust fumes.  Search further into the groves, into less inhabited areas to harvest.

Capering (4) (Small)
The flower and the unopened bud

Some people prefer the smaller ones, others the larger, whatever, the procedure is the same, avoid the ones which are on the verge of opening.

 

Capering (1) (Small)
Soaking

Leave them for two/three days in water, changing twice a day, to reduce bitterness.

Jarred
Jarred

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Method (Mild)

1/2 cup white vinegar (or cider vinegar)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon salt

Mix ingredients well, dissolving salt.  Put the capers into sterilized jars and pour the brine/vinegar over.  Leave for 10 days or so before use.  Refrigerate once opened.

Second Method (vinegary)

White vinegar

Pinch salt

Pinch sugar

Slightly heat white vinegar, sugar and salt, pop the capers into the jars and pour the vinegar over, cap tightly.  Leave in darkened area for at least 10 days before opening.  Refrigerate once opened.

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