California Capers

Story, recipes, and photos by Kristen Rasmussen de Vasquez

If you find the “capers” too pungent, submerge them in a brine of 1 part salt to 8 parts water for a few days to mellow out the flavor.

CA-CapersMakes 2 half pints

11/3 cups young nasturtium seedpods
2 bay leaves
About 11/3 cups distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
2 half-pint canning jars with lids, sterilized

Separate any seedpods that are still stuck together. (They are often joined in groups of three.) Soak seedpods in water to remove any dirt or debris, then drain and place in the sterilized half-pint jars along with 1 bay leaf per jar.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar and salt to a simmer and stir until salt is dissolved. Pour hot vinegar mixture over seedpods, covering them completely.

Let the jars cool to room temperature before capping and refrigerating. The capers are best if you let them sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating, and they will keep there for up to a year. (Note: To can and make stable outside of refrigeration, please follow reputable instructions for that process.)