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Capers from Pantelleria

The most famous capers are certainly the Capers from Pantelleria: they represent one of the symbols of the Italian food tradition. Hand-picked on the island and preserved in salt, they have an intense flavor and a very special fragrance. Capers are excellent as an additional ingredient in the preparation of focaccia, rice salads or summer green salads.

It is possible to make an excellent sauce with capers to season pasta or to spread on bread: simply blend capers and black olives in equal quantities and add extra virgin olive oil to obtain a fluid and homogeneous consistency.

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Capers: characteristics and properties

Capers

The caper, whose scientific name is Capparis spinosa, is a climbing shrub plant found throughout the Mediterranean basin. It grows in arid and stony places and is found both inland and along the sea coasts. It has pinkish white flowers that bloom from May to October and oval leaves. The edible part consists of still closed flower buds, collected in spring, and small elongated and fusiform fruits called cucunci.

Capers: powerful antioxidants

The capers play an important antioxidant action, thanks to the presence of numerous flavonoids, with naturally beneficial effects on cholesterol metabolism. The presence of quercetin in capers has a protective action on the joints.

Another precious substance found in capers, rutin, on the other hand, is a support for the circulatory system,

Furthermore, the presence of kaempferol should not be forgotten, which confers important anticancer properties as well as anti-inflammatory.

Using capers in cooking

Capers in the kitchen

Caper is one of the most used aromatic plants in Mediterranean cuisine: it gives flavor and flavor to dishes. Perfect for dressing even simple pasta, suitable to accompany fish. The still closed bud of this climbing shrub is a real Mediterranean excellence: particularly known are the caper of Pantelleria and the caper of Salina, richer in taste and fragrant .

It is best to avoid large, less tasty buds.

Conservation can also be long-term, if in salt, oil or vinegar.

The caper should preferably be eaten raw, adding it to preparations at the last moment, both whole and chopped, as it loses its aroma and sweetness when cooked and acquires a bitter aftertaste.

Capers in brine and vinegar should be rinsed before use, while those in salt should be soaked for about 20 minutes by changing the water a couple of times, then drained and squeezed.

The Capers of Pantelleria

Known and appreciated since ancient times, the caper plant needs favorable climatic conditions, such as the heat and direct insolation of Pantelleria which, together with the soil of volcanic origin, make this 'isolates the ideal territory for cultivation.

Capers grow on walls or in empty spaces between bricks; or they sneak forcefully among the crumbled rocks. Here we find the varieties Nocellara and Spinoso, Igp since 1996: they stand out for their compactness, aroma, uniformity and the almost total absence of treatments with pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

If until the seventies they occupied marginal and rocky lands, such as the dry stone walls that bordered the vineyards, over time their extinction slowly began, so much so that a few years ago it seemed a product destined to disappear from the island, which in a little while no one would have collected. Instead, thanks to the work of some cappers, it was possible not only to recover, but also to increase the quantity.