Capers are the flower bud of a bush native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Once harvested, the buds are sun-dried and then pickled in vinegar.
While capers range in size, the petite nonpareil variety from southern France is considered the finest.
Capers: A Tiny Condiment with Big Antioxidant Power
The capers that garnish your delectable smoked salmon appetizer and grace your zesty chicken piccatta, may be small in size. But new research shows they’re a big source of antioxidants and show promise in fighting cancer and heart disease.
A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry evaluated the antioxidant benefits of this much-overlooked Mediterranean staple. In the study, the scientists added caper extracts to grilled ground turkey and analyzed the byproducts formed during digestion.
The scientists found that the caper extract helped prevent the formation of certain byproducts of digested meat (including heterocyclic amines) which have been associated with an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. And the good news is that the benefits were seen even with the small amounts of caper typically used in your favorite dishes.
Using Capers in Your Cuisine
Keep capers on hand and add a tasty dose of antioxidants to your food. Toss into sauces and salads and mix into to Mediterranean-inspired meat and fish dishes to enjoy this garnish packed with goodness.
Estimated Glycemic Load: 0
Selecting and Storing Capers
Capers are generally packed in brine but can also be found salted and sold in bulk. Capers should be rinsed before using to remove excess salt.