Ancient Greeks preferred it plain or served on a slice of bread with olive oil and vinegar.We are talking about capers, the wild flower called “Mediterranean Rose”.
It’s a tender prickly bush, with many different varieties growing almost everywhere in the world.
In the Greek Aegean islands, especially in Cyclades, we see capers growing in the most unexpected places. Hanging on steep rocks, breaking the cement or the stones in streets and yards, or popping up in dry stone walls and ruins.
Capers blossoms in May and its flowers live on one day – they wither in the night.
Usually its sprout, leaves and buds are picked from April to August in different stages of their growth. The buds are picked before they open, and for one week, are unbittered in water, which should be changed regularly. Their preservation is done in brine or vinegar.
Capers is consumed basically pickled, because the brine creates the “capric acid” that brings out its characteristic taste. The leaves are consumed pickled or boiled with olive oil and vinegar or lemon added.
The capers buds are an excellent garnish for Santorini fava beans, salads and meat or fish dishes. They can also be cooked with tomatoes and olive oil.
In Greece, we eat not only the capers buds, but also its olive shaped fruits.Those who know how to pick them, also eat its tender sprouts.