Most of us are only barely familiar with capers, the salty, tangy little green flower buds from the caper bush. However, you might come across non-pareil capers and be even more confused as to what the difference is.
Before you think that it is just a fancy name giving to normal capers, you should probably know that not using non-pareil capers in a dish that calls for them could actually ruin the dish!
So, what does non-pareil capers mean? Non-pareil capers, as the name suggests, are a type of caper, but are smaller in size. These tiny capers are considered to have the best flavor and texture, even though they are the smallest type of caper around!
Read on to find out a little bit more about non-pareil capers, and why you should use them more!
What Are Capers?
Capers are the unripened, small pickled flower buds from the caper bush. They have a distinctively salty taste and can add quite a dimension to a dish.
Capers are most commonly used in Mediterranean dishes and are a popular addition to pizza and pasta.
There are a few ways to preserve capers, either in salt, wine vinegar, olive oil, or brine. Most commonly used are the brine-pickled capers, as these have the sharpest taste.
Caperberries are often confused for capers. While it is from the same bush, caperberries, as the name suggests, are the berries of the fruit of the caper bush.
These have a sweeter and milder flavor than capers and are often enjoyed similar to how olives are consumed.
What Are Non-Pareil Capers?
Non-pareil capers are considered the golden tier, the capers that have the best quality, flavor, and texture. More simply, capers are sold by their size, and the smaller and more delicate the caper, the better the taste and quality.
Capers that measure under 7mm small are considered to be non-pareil. Non-pareil, when translated from French, means “has no equal”.
This alone shows how highly regarded the tiniest of capers are, and that they are a must if you are using capers to cook a flavorful meal.
This doesn’t mean that other capers are not also good to use in meals. The large capers just tend to be slightly tougher and without such a delicate flavor. When using these large capers in a meal, it is best to chop them up first before adding them in.
What Can I Use Non-Pareil Capers For?
Non-pareil capers should not go to waste, and there are some amazing dishes you can make using them.
Here are some ideas:
- Place non-pareil capers in a pan with lemon juice, hot butter, and white wine to make a classic chicken picatta
- Use non-pareil capers as a garnish on bagels with cream cheese and lox
- Make a Puttanesca pasta sauce using non-pareil capers, sautéed onion and garlic, tomatoes, anchovy fillets, and Kalamata olives. Add some red pepper flakes and basil for some extra flavor and freshness
- Bring a simple pizza to life with fresh tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and a few non-pareil capers sprinkled on top
- Make an easy yet flavorful salad with anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, green beans, olives, sliced potatoes, non-pareil capers, and a Dijon dressing
There is so much that you can make with these precious non-pareil capers, they are a must-have in any kitchen for a kick of delicate flavor.
Are Non-Pareil Capers Healthy?
Non-pareil capers, or capers generally, contain quite a range of antioxidants, which are always great to include in your diet.
They are also a great source of vitamin E and vitamin A. They are also low in calories and are packed with calcium, magnesium, fiber, and vitamin C.
Can I Eat Capers Out Of The Jar?
You can technically eat capers out of the jar, but many people find them to be incredibly salty and prefer either rinsing them first or adding them to a meal before being cooked.
However, they are perfectly safe to eat raw or cooked.
Are Caperberries A Fruit Or Vegetable?
Caperberries grow on the caper bush once the plant has already flowered. They are considered fruit and are different from capers, which are the small buds of the flowers.
What Do Capers Actually Taste Like?
Capers have a very distinct taste. The initial taste is sharp and tangy, and very salty, with a herbal, and slightly lemon flavor.
If the capers are salt-packed, they will have a more salty flavor. If they are brined, then they will take on more flavor from the actual brine.
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