Hearing the word caper almost inevitably conjures up a question mark, but for cooks, a delicious topping for pizza or fish comes to mind.
Ever wonder what a caper actually is?
The commonly known “caper” is the bud of the caper bush harvested prior to flowering. If left to flower, the bud produces a fruit known as a “caper berry”, which is larger and harvested with the stem. The fruit is harvested prior to full maturity to prevent the caper berries from being too seedy. . Both are always pickled or brined as, like olives, you don’t want to eat them raw…way way too bitter!
And check this out…
While the buds and fruit are mostly used in the kitchen, the flower, roots, seeds, and leaves can all be used as medicine, and have been for a long, long time.
In the ancient and modern cultures of Asia, Africa, Iran, the Middle East, Italy, and Greece–among others, the caper plant has been used for its flavor, nutrition, and ability to support digestion, heart health, and thyroid function.
It is chock full of compounds that together can help ease irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, anxiety, epilepsy, and erectile dysfunction…to name only a few of its healing powers.
Caper is referenced in the Bible as a symbol of the shortness of human life because the flowers only last for a few hours and very soon after it blossoms the fruit scatters its seeds and the plant withers.
You might want to find out more about this pasta topping, maybe even try it if you haven’t yet, they’re delicious. And now that you know it’s a medicine, you can consider sipping it as a tea.
(And, one tablespoon of capers contains only two calories…just sayin’)
Don’t miss out on capers and the caper plant…there is a lot more you can be doing with this beautiful drought-tolerant, culinary and medicinal herb.
Discover Caper (Ci Shan Gan) and other herbs by visiting our Herb Directory.