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I've really been getting into capers lately - mostly just the ones you buy from the store in the little jars that cured in either brine or lye. I didn't even know what the heck they were for a while until someone told me and I looked it up on the internet - basically flower buds that come from a specific bush.

My question is when frying capers (make them nice and crunchy for some yummy meat dishes) would I fry the picked capers or is there another type and where would I buy that?

Second, are there alternative flower buds that I can pick from my garden and use in place of capers?

  • I've seen recipes for nasturtium capers. – starsplusplus Nov 28 '14 at 13:28
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All capers can be fried crunchy. If you're using capers that have been packed in brine, you should rinse off the brine and thoroughly dry the capers before frying. If you're using the salt packed capers, you can soak and rinse them, just rinse them, or just brush off the excess salt. They are very salty in the package.

The only common substitution for capers that I am aware of is the seed pod of the edible flowering plant, tropaeolum. In a pinch, I have also substituted diced green olives.

EDIT: Tropaeolum is also known as nasturtium, see Wiki link above.

Just for further information for those who might be interested:

Capers are the immature bud of the plant Capparis Spinosa. If the bud is allowed to mature and bear fruit, that fruit is called the caperberry. The berries are much larger than buds, the flavor of the berries varies widely and they're sometimes substituted for olives.

Capers come packed in a brine or packed in salt. They vary widely in size, with the smallest the most commonly seen in American grocery stores. Per Wiki the sizes are known as "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)".

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Just for fun, you might enjoy these articles from Huffington Post Caper Recipes and So What the Hell are Capers?

  • Nice - thanks for the info and the tips :D – jhawes Nov 29 '14 at 22:13
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I have a few jars of home made nasturtium seed pod 'capers'. These are more peppery than capers and offer a nice crunch. I use them as substitute and mixed with capers on pizzas etc for a different tang.
Very easy to make using a recipe from the River Cottage preserve book. I have loads of nasturtim in the garden. The leaves and flowers are also edible and work well where you would use rocket. Well worth growing.

  • Nasturtium and Tropaeolum (what I mentioned above) are the same thing. From Wiki - "Tropaeolum, commonly called nasturtiums" – Jolenealaska Dec 2 '14 at 22:44

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