Fermentation of Caper Products

Authored by: Rubén Pérez Pulido , Nabil Benomar , Magdalena Martínez Cañamero , Hikmate Abriouel , Antonio Gálvez

Handbook of Plant-Based Fermented Food and Beverage Technology

Print publication date:  May  2012
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439849040
eBook ISBN: 9781439870693
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b12055-12

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Abstract

The vegetable caperbush, Capparis spp. (Capparidaceae), is a Mediterranean periannual shrub that grows wild in semiarid regions. It is a plant that has medicinal and aromatic properties and is mainly cultivated for its flower buds (or caper) and fruits (or caper berries). These products are very popular in Mediterranean countries for their flavor and digestive properties. The annual production is approximately 10,000 tons, and the main producer and exporter countries are Spain, Morocco, Turkey, and Italy. Capers buds and, to a lesser extent, caper berries have gained importance in the food industry and international trade, but manufacturing processes are expensive due to the lack of extensive farming of Capparis spp. (production often relies on wild-growing plants), the seasonal availability of the raw materials, and the absence of large enough processing industries. Although capers are fermented in brine, caper berries can be either pickled or fermented in brine or in water, usually on a small-scale production or at home. Fermentation of caper and caper berries relies on the spontaneous growth of naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and there is always a risk for stuck fermentations and economic losses.

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