Capers are pickled flower buds, and they’re an ingredient common to many different types of cuisine. The buds are picked from a bush before they flower. Then they’re dried in the sun, and are then brined in vinegar or packed in salt. Occasionally, they mature to a fruit which is roughly the same size as an olive. These are called caper berries, and are eaten like pickles. Capers must be harvested by hand individually. They’re usually a little expensive, because the process of harvesting is so labor intensive. They can be added as a topping to different foods, made into a pesto, or tapenade, or served as part of an antipasti platter. But are capers low FODMAP?
Salted capers are harvested, dried, and then packed in salt. They have a more flowery flavor than those preserved in vinegar. When you’re buying capers in salt, make sure that the capers themselves look plump and moist, and that the salt is white. The salt will yellow with age, so avoid any where the salt looks yellowish. You’ll need to wash the salt away, and then soak the capers for 15 minutes. The longer you leave them to soak, the more of the salt and caper flavor is taken away from them.
Salted capers have been tested by the Monash University, and are low FODMAP in a single serve of one tablespoon.
Capers In Vinegar
Capers in vinegar, or brine, have a bit of different flavor than those in salt. You need to rinse the preservative to get the true flavor of the caper, otherwise you may only be able to taste the vinegar. They are also low FODMAP in a serve of one tablespoon.
Caperberries are the fruit from the caper bush. They’re larger than capers, and are eaten like olives. They’re preserved in brine, so they need to be rinsed before serving. They can be used for cooking in place of capers, but they have a milder flavor, and a very different texture.
They don’t seem to have been tested by either the Monash University, or the FODMAP Friendly team, so it can’t be said with any certainty if they are low FODMAP or not. However, most experts would guess that they are low FODMAP.
What To Do With Capers
If you have a low FODMAP recipe that calls for capers, then you may notice that they’re either added after the dish has cooked as a topping, or they’re added towards the end of the cooking process.
You can add them to salads, pizza, potatoes, and meats like lamb, and chicken, as well as fish like salmon and halibut. However you decide to serve your capers, you do need to remember that because of the curing process, they do have a high sodium content, so they should only be eating in moderation.