A most interesting flower

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Capers, little dried flowers found in Southern California, have a long history as a popular ingredient in many delicious salsas, juices, sauces and candies. They are also sometimes used as an alternative to onions in soups and stews for their milder flavor and lack of pungent taste. History reveals that the Spanish introduced the dried flower in 1512, probably as a cure for haemorrhoids. They soon became a favorite ingredient in all salsas and juices and were considered a gourmet ingredient.

Capers can be eaten just as they are: fresh or preserved in brine, a salty solution made with fish or saltwater. Brine is often mixed with vinegar and tomatoes to make a light, tasty salad dressing. It can also be served on its own, with some added liquid such as white vinegar or olive oil, or as a delicious accompaniment to a white fish dish or grainy meat. Capers go well with roasted vegetables, chicken, turkey and tuna as well as with grilled fish, rice or risotto. Their high nutrition level makes them a great addition to vegetarian/vegan diets.

Today’s market offers a wide variety of dried capers including the more exotic species like the purple Caper or the scarlet Frisee. Many of these come from tropical South America and the Caribbean, where the plant is a natural species. In the United States, production has been primarily confined to a small number of vineyards in the northeast and on the west coast. Much of the remainder is shipped abroad. Like many other exotic imported fruits and vegetables, we are continuing to learn more about the nutritional and culinary history of this versatile plant.

Author: T Ross

I spent the first part of my life playing piano and composing music. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in music composition and cognitive science. Then I became a User Interface Engineer for four years. I moved home to Raleigh, NC to be closer to my family and began to freelance. On the side, I created a company called Elemental Nutrition & Wellness that uses interactive resource calculators to give people the tools they need to lose weight and boost nutrition. Now I have my own practice as a holistic nutritionist. I help people meet their weight loss goals by fostering self-motivation. You can reach me at

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