Thursday, May 21, 2009
An Ounce of Caper Buds
That was my haul yesterday morning! I foraged through all my plants and came up with just over an ounce of fresh buds of various sizes.
According to the "authorities", the smallest buds are superior and the larger they get the less desirable they become. Hmm, I'm not sure why that should be other than that it takes a lot more time to pick a pound of tiny buds than it does to pick a pound of big buds, so that makes the smaller buds more expensive and we all know that the more expensive something is the better it is. Right? Hmmph.
In the photo below, starting at the top and going around clockwise, my ounce of fresh buds, dried and salted wild capers from Tunisia, my experiment from last year with salting and drying capers, salt preserved capers from Italy. Note the absence of nonpareil capers packed in vinegar. I didn't have any of those on hand because they are my least favorite and I only use them when I can't get salted ones. The vinegar packed capers taste primarily of vinegar to me, cheap yucky vinegar. Salted capers taste like capers. And in my opinion, the biggest salted capers are the tastiest. I like those Tunisian ones straight from the jar, a chewy, salty, capery burst of flavor. Fantastic fried! They are, however, hideously expensive.
So, I'm on a quest to make something like those Tunisian Wild Mountain Capers. My Croatian plants produce big fat buds and that is what makes up the bulk of my first harvest this year. I've put them into a brine solution and will let them sit in that a few days, then I'm going to dry them. I experimented with that process last year. The buds are tasty, but sun drying them too long bleaches the color so I need to experiment with the drying process this year. Last year I had buds mainly from my Tuscan plants, smaller buds that I think will do better simply preserved in salt without the drying step.