Capers: Properties and Benefits

The capers plant, Capparis Spinosa scientific name, belongs to the family of Capparidaceae; its leaves are rounded, while its flowers are white and very fragrant. The edible parts that are used for food, capers, are contained in the flower buds.

Capers are common in the Mediterranean area and grow spontaneously on calcareous soils; capers require very little water to live and grow. Capers have been used in culinary purposes since ancient times so that the greek doctor and pharmacist Dioscorides, in 70 AD, he spoke in his work De Materia Medica in which described the caper as a diuretic and effective food against a toothache .

The harvest of capers takes place in the summer months to coincide with the flowering period of the plant; in particular it is important that the capers are picked as soon as the buds sprout.
Capers: Properties and benefits
The capers are composed of 84 % water, 4.5 % carbohydrates, 2.% protein, 3 % of fibers and the remaining percentage is divided between sugar, fat and ash; we have a discreet presence of minerals such as sodium (in large amounts), calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.

In capers are present vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, vitamin C, E, and vitamin K and J; capers also contain quercetin (compared to its weight is the plant that contains the highest percentage), a substance belonging to the group of flavonoids that possess antioxidant properties that we know to be able to bring benefits to the human body.


Benefits and Curative Properties of Capers

Due to the large amount of quercetin, which we have seen to be a natural antioxidant, capers have an anti-inflammatory property and the same quercetin is now being studied for its hypothetical anticancer properties.

A recent study conducted by the University of Catania and Messina has shown that this plant is in possession of substances with properties able to fight certain types of skin allergy; the idea for the study arose from the observation of the particular characteristics of this plant that can grow in areas particularly hot and dry.

Capers are recognized stimulant properties that explicate their beneficial especially in relation to appetite and digestion; from the roots of the plant is obtained an oily dye that is used for the treatment of hemorrhoids and for inflammations of the mouth.
Capers Curiosity
Capers, as it is very salty, can cause problems for people suffering from hypertension; in this case, to eliminate a good portion of salt, you can soak them in water at least an hour before eating.

Even the young leaves of the caper plant, after being cooked, can be eaten in salads.

The classification of capers is made by the size and it is curious to note that the smaller ones are considered the most valuable.

The capers are grown in large quantities in the territory of the French Riviera; every bush can produce up to 3.000 capers during a season.

The best ones are capers preserved in salt; this method ensures the preservation of the organoleptic properties of the food as it avoids the use of other additives that are often added in canned pickled.

Capers of Pantelleria are very well known and prized, in recent years have received certification IGP; in this area the volcanic soil gives the capers a particular taste that is not found anywhere else in the world.

Preservation of Capers
The capers are prepared for their conservation freshly picked; after a period of 24 hours spent in the shade to dry, capers can be preserved in salt (brine), and even pickled in vinegar.

If capers are purchased in packs of type bag, once opened, you can decant them with the salt in a glass jar with a screw-on lid to keep them much longer.
Capers: Properties and benefits
Capers: Properties and benefits
Chemical Composition
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Capers Calories
Capers are a food with few calories: every 100 grams of capers you have 23 Kcal.
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