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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ever tried 'em?  Capers, I mean?  They're a mainstay in many a Mediterranean dish but are really catching on in a number of recipes right here in America, too.  They have a delightfully pungent taste, adding a unique flavor to salads, meat and fish.  Their small, cream-colored buds grow on a low-growing shrub native to Italy, Greece and North Africa.  That's why they're so popular in that part of the world.  But now you can find them in the typical American supermarket, not just in specialty food stores.

Capers are loaded with anti-oxidants and minerals for your body's good health.


They're actually flower buds, used as a spice in other foods and are very low in calories.  But calorie-for-calorie, capers are packed with some very important nutritional benefits for your body.  They're loaded with a number of anti-oxidants and minerals for your body's optimum good health.  They're also rich in flavanoid compounds, you've heard me talk about them before.  They contain a couple of compounds that have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, good news if you happen to suffer from arthritis.  Another of capers' compounds, rutin, have demonstrated their usefulness in preventing clump formation in the body's blood vessels.  It has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol, (the bad kind), in obese individuals.  And I haven't even gotten to the important minerals contained in capers, like calcium, iron and copper.  Gosh, it sounds like those capers belong in your medicine cabinet instead of your pantry, right?  LOL.  But don't laugh!  Capers actually have been used for some medical issues.

Capers are often used as an ingredient in some traditional medicines that help relieve rheumatic pain.
They're often used as an ingredient in some traditional medicines that help relieve rheumatic pain.  And they're also used to help relieve stomachache and even issues with, (are you ready for this), flatulence!  (You may want to remember that one, LOL.)  Okay, now let's talk about the fun part, what those capers can do for some of your recipes.
The immature berries are used in cooking.  Their raw buds have a neutral flavor and a pickling process helps develop their unique, tangy flavor.  Capers can add a special taste to that baked salmon or tuna steak you're planning for dinner.  The pickled buds are excellent in tuna, chicken or, (keeping in mind where they come from), can really liven up a homemade antipasto salad.  They can even be used as a topping on a low-fat pizza you make at home.  (Your guests will have to know where they wonderful flavor came from.)  Capers also render a special taste to your vegetables, meat and, of course, those fish dishes I mentioned.
Pickled capers are available year-round.  You'll find them near the olives in your supermarket and usually come in a narrow, tall glass jar, submerged in their pickling juice.  On my FoodMover, capers count as an Extras selection and you would close one Extras window, per two-tablespoon serving.  Do keep in mind that the pickling process makes capers a higher-sodium Extra.  So look to see if the store has them in a low-sodium variety.  It might also help to give your capers a quick rinse in cool water before using them in your recipes.
Give these caper crusaders a shot in your food plan.
If you haven't tried 'em, why not give these caper crusaders a shot in your food plan?  They're not only uniquely flavorful, but those capers are ready to do your body a whole lotta good.  Hey, why do you think I keep calling them CRUSADERS!