I’ve long had a thing for zombie-knowledge. That is, things that would be useful to know (perhaps) in case of a zombie invasion or the outbreak of a third world war, such as mending your clothes, collecting rainwater efficiently, or making your own capers. But I have a long way to go for the last skill. I got the idea of making capers with dandelion buds from the Wild Plant Forager blog, and set out in the forest with my friend Johanna in May to gather some, in true Swedish spirit. As all Swedes ought to know, dandelion doesn’t really grow in the forest, so our yield was pretty poor.
Nevertheless, we pickled our trove in salt and vinegar, and let them sit for two weeks. We tested the result on a group of four, out of whom three almost had to spit them out. (It shall be noted here, however, that person no. 4 claimed to kind of enjoy them).
After this failure, we tried following a Finish recipe for pickled dandelion buds and bedded them in layers of salt, where they were supposed to rest for three months. We tried them after one month, at which point they tasted of hay and salt. Not as bad as before, but not by any means a decent substitute for capers. The test group results this time were 2 for(ish), 1 against, and 1 abstention. They are still sitting on a shelf in the kitchen waiting for something magical to happen in the next two months.
This long wait took me to round number three: capucine capers. I happen to have capucine growing everywhere on the terrace, so gathering their seed-pods was easy enough. I followed the steps laid out on various Swedish blogs on how to pickle them, which entailed covering them in boiling brine (salt and water) and leaving them for three days, after which they should be rinsed, then soaked in boiling vinegar, salt and bay leaf. After three days in the fridge, I must say, of the three batches I tried, these ones were the best. They have a strong taste of vinegar and are very salty. I suppose they could tenuously be compared to the pickled cabbage served at Turkish restaurants. But I will perhaps manage without capers should a zombie outbreak occur.