Recipes @ Cooking with Capers and Mushrooms

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cooking with Capers and Mushrooms

Clues About Capers

You see them in jars in the supermarket, but do you know what capers are and how to use them? Capers are the flower buds of the caper bush, which is native to the Mediterranean region of the world. The unopened caper buds are picked before they open and are considered a culinary delicacy. Sprinkle them lightly over salads for a tasty garnish. Capers are sold either pickled in vinegar, brine, or wine. Smaller capers are more expensive than the large varieties; they have a more subtle flavor and are more aromatic than larger capers. When purchasing capers in the supermarket, be careful about your selection: The buds of nasturtiums and marigold flowers are often sold as capers! How can you tell the difference? These flower buds are up to six times as large as the larger varieties of capers.

Mushroom Facts

Pennsylvania is actually ranked first in the production of mushrooms. With over 350 million pounds of mushrooms harvested each year. In fact, almost half of the entire American mushroom crop comes from Pennsylvania, making it the state's top agricultural product. Chester County, Pennsylvania, celebrates mushrooms in a big way. They hold an annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square during September. During the weekend-long festival, visitors can watch chefs compete in cook-offs, see an old-fashioned parade, purchase gifts at the arts and crafts fair, and sample a variety of delectable mushroom dishes. Here are tips for selecting mushrooms:

Mushroom Tips
  • Do not harvest wild mushrooms from woodland areas.
  • Buy mushrooms that are firm and intact.
  • Avoid mushrooms that are spotted or slimy.
  • Steer clear of discolored mushrooms with split caps and brittle, dry stems.
  • Store mushrooms up to one week in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator.

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