Why You Should Always Keep Capers In Your Pantry

That jar of capers in the back of the fridge — you know the one, you dig it out when you're making chicken piccata or spaghetti puttanesca — well, those tiny, salty delights really need to be front and center of your panty.

If you are an avid fan of traditional Greek, Italian, or Spanish cuisine, capers are probably a permanent fixture in your recipes already. Each bud acts as a salty and tangy powerhouse, and by adding just a few capers into your pasta dinner or vegetable roast they naturally intensify the nuances of almost any meal. According to Food Network Kitchen, capers bring briny, bright zest to seafood. Smoked salmon, seared halibut, swordfish steaks, or scallops all pair beautifully with those little green flowers. As a general rule, capers and citrus on white or delicate meat tend to be a match made in heaven. Capers can also bring levity to an otherwise heavy or creamy meal. 

Even the origin of the name caper alludes to how lively the flower's flavor is. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the root meaning of "caper" is "to leap, skip, prance," which is exactly what the caper does across your tongue, zipping around and awakening all your taste buds! But what are some unexpected ways to use capers?

Put them on everything

Honestly, capers are perfect to heighten almost any breakfast food. Have a heavy omelet you want to put more salt on? Try adding some capers instead! Do you have a bagel with cream cheese begging for more of a flourish? Add some smoked salmon and capers for a truly fulfilling breakfast experience. Basically, anywhere you want a touch of saltiness try them! Their natural acidity even lends itself to being mixed in with tuna or chicken salad, working to cut through the overly rich nature of mayonnaise (via Food52).

But the list of things capers can pair with doesn't end there. Capparis spinosa buds can go on a pizza or even bring a satisfying saltiness to buttery popcorn. Use them to impress your family and friends too! If you've ever needed a secret ingredient to push a soup or salad over the top, or want to be famous for your amazing salsa recipe, sprinkle on some capers (via My Recipes). 

Essentially, capers really could –and should– go onto any meal. Whether you're looking for breakfast, a midday snack, or a three-course dinner, these cured flowers are the perfect way to enhance your food. So, dig that old jar out of the pantry or refrigerator drawer and ask yourself: What couldn't use a few capers?