Sunday, July 14, 2013
CAPER - KAPERN - TSALAF KOZANI
The caper bushes are blooming in abundance and beautifully here now. Capers are the buds of the plants, before the flower opens. Capparis spinosa, the perennial prickly plant is native to the Levant and to parts of Asia. Here they are growing wild, but they are cultivated in many countries. Their name is tsalaf kozani צלף קוצני in Hebrew and al-kabara in Arabic.
There are large and small buds, the smaller buds are considered more delicately tasty. After they are harvested they are pickled in vinegar, which will bring out their tangy pungent intensive flavor. The buds are picked by hand, and I can tell from experience that this is not an easy task, you get pricked quite a lot. This makes the capers you buy quite pricey, although I have read that the cultivated shrubs are less thorny.
Many recipes with caper exist and a lot can be found on the Internet. I remember one (which is not a Jewish dish) that is called "Koenigsberger Klopse". Those are meatballs in a white sauce with caper. They are served with potatoes cooked in salt water. This recipe has its own recognition on Wikipedia.
I love the white flowers with the purple stamen and how the green buds, just before they open have purple tips. Driving home to our village I can see the bushes on the road side. They really make my heart sing, especially now, when the summer is hot and not many flowering plants are left.
Those were photographed by my husband at Mount Avital in the North during our outing last weekend.