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THE capers are a constant presence in the dishes of Mediterranean cuisine. In fact, they manage to flavor anything, from aperitifs to main courses and ... more. Being an essential ingredient for many preparations, it is no wonder that more and more people are looking for information online about how to grow the caper and how to get great value.
Well, in our in-depth study we will try to share some basic information in order to cultivate the caper in such a way as to obtain the best possible harvest, and quickly!
Where to plant capers
The first thing you need to have in mind when choosing to plant the capers is the positioning on the ground at one's disposal.
In general, it is good to try to find a sheltered position well protected from the winds. And that's why, after all, capers grow very well close to the walls, with the walls that will act as adequate protection against currents.
As for the exposure, however, this should point to the south, in full sun. The soil should also be well-drained, consisting of earth and coarse sand.
How to sow capers
The first thing to do for sow the capers is ... finding seeds. To do this it will be sufficient to take an unripe caper, and wait for it to turn red and split. At that point it will be easy to collect its seeds, which can be immediately planted.
Alternatively, if you want to use a somewhat more hasty method, you can take the seeds already available and place them to air dry, being careful not to place them under full sun exposure. Once dried, they can be placed in a paper bag, from where they can be taken to be used for sowing, with the only care to put them back in water a couple of hours before sowing them.
In the meantime, take a wooden box (such as the fruit ones, so to speak) and put a substrate of a mixture of earth and coarse sand, as already mentioned a few lines ago. In this substratum it will be possible to sow by spreading and ... wait for the plants to start growing.
In this process, take care to select only the most robust plants, because it will be precisely these that you will have to focus on when autumn begins, and you will find yourself in the conditions to transplant them (in principle, the operation will be carried out when the seedlings will have reached at least 10 centimeters in height).
The collection of capers
There harvesting of capers it is certainly one of the easiest operations you can do in your garden, considering that, at the end of the season, when the twigs start to dry out, all you have to do is remove them. The caper plant will not suffer any consequences, and you will have prepared the plant for the following season.
At that point, the capers can be consumed immediately, or placed in vinegar, salt, oil, canned or, again, in the way you prefer, depending on the use you will then have to make of these delicious ingredients.
Capers: characteristics and properties
Now that you know how capers are grown, you probably want to know a little more about the characteristics of this plant and its properties.
Well, capers have a rather low energy value, which is mainly fueled by the presence of complex carbohydrates. On the other hand, there are no fats (but the few lipids present are unsaturated) and even the proteins are not particularly significant. Absent cholesterol, the caper is rich in fiber, with 3.2 dietary fiber per 100 grams of product.
As for its gastronomic uses, it is certainly not a surprise to share with all our readers the fact that capers have such a strong flavor that they can enhance any type of dish, from first to second courses, from sauces to condiments.
In general, in the kitchen it is preferred to use capers preserved in coarse sea salt, because this preservation method guarantees the maintenance of those organoleptic characteristics that make the caper so delicious, but without resorting to additives added to the products in vinegar.
In short, we just have to wish you a good cultivation of this very interesting and tasty plant. A plant that - as we have seen - is quite simple to grow, and which (moreover) can also be cultivated by grounding the cuttings, with a different approach than sowing, and that we advise you to investigate with your trusted expert .
We also remind you that the Mediterranean climate these plants need makes them a favorite especially in central and southern Italy, but even if you are in the north you shouldn't have any problems starting their sowing. The collection of the small buds will take place between the end of May and the beginning of September, depending on your reference area, just before flowering.