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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When The Capers Bloom

From mid-June to early July you will see people picking the caper buds that grow on wild bushes in the countryside. If you have never eaten capers, it is very hard to describe what they taste like. When first picked from the bushes they have a bland taste but after they are pickled in brine or vinegar (or a mixture of both) they will develop a sharp, tangy taste.

Capers

Photo source 

When I was a young girl I often used to go and cut capers with my parents, but especially with my father. Even as I write this I can feel the heat of the sun drenched rocks and the silence enveloping everything – broken only by the shrill screech of some lonely cicada (some years they start their ‘singing’ early depending on how hot the weather is). The grass would be dry beneath our feet but, in the fields, we would discern the blush of peaches and plums through the leaves. It always felt good to be out there in the valleys, enjoying a glimpse of some shy lizard that happened to cross our path and delighting in the sight of butterflies and dragonflies dancing and dipping over our heads.

securedownload

Photo source 

The caper buds do not last very long and soon the buds will bloom into beautiful little flowers. It is then, when the capers bloom, that the heat seems to intensify and summer hits us in full force with its fiery breath.

Howard Gardens 006

The weeks ahead are an endless mesh of scorching hot days and balmy nights as the caper flowers wither and their beauty fades. But every time I add the caper buds to our sauces or our food, their tangy, aromatic taste takes me right back to my childhood, to the parched fields and the butterflies and to the time when the capers bloom.

Howard Gardens 005  

You can go here and here for more information on capers and their use in different recipes.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Loree..such a beautiful poetic post..i can feel myself driftng right within your enchanting words! The shy lizard...oh so sweet! Beautiful post..beautiful memories..thanks for sharing your magic always!
    kiki~

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  2. What fond and vivid memories you have of picking capers with your father. I had never seen a caper blossom before, they look enchanting. :)

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  3. Such a nice memory and scene you depicted! I've never seen fresh capers or ever thought of capers as unbloomed flowers.

    Lovely post Loree!
    ♥...Wanda

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  4. Gorgeous caper flowers, Loree, and I haven't seen one before!

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  5. How interesting ! I didn't know that capers grow on wild bushes ! I never thought about it, I just buy them in a little jar ! And what beautiful flowers come out of the buds ! I really learned something here !

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  6. I'd never thought about where they come from. Nice to know. What lovely photos and such great memories too.

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  7. I love capers but certainly never knew anything about them. The buds are very colorful, but the ensuing flowers are so exotic and gorgeous!

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  8. Your post has taken me back to my caper-picking times with my family. I used to love accompanying my family to quiet places where the capers used to grow in abundance, like Zurrieq and Cirkewwa. Lovely post.

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  9. What a beautiful tale of childhood memories, and I learned so much about capers reading it! Thank you!

    I love capers, btw. :-)

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  10. Loree, I am thrilled to find your blog with its beautiful photos and amazing stories. I will be back often. Merci.

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  11. This is such a fantastic post! Love the memories your shared and I never imagined (though I wondered) what capers looked liked before they showed up in my cute little jar at the grocery store. Unfortunately, a byproduct of living in the city I guess. I am madly trying to catch up with all of your great posts. (been a crazy time here)

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  12. I love to eat foods prepared with capers.

    'When I was a young girl I often used to go and cut capers with my parents, but especially with my father. Even as I write this I can feel the heat of the sun drenched rocks and the silence enveloping everything – broken only by the shrill screech of some lonely cicada'

    This is beautiful writing.

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