Today we’re talking about capers from Pantelleria, tiny but very rich in flavour. But there’s more, we’ll also discover caper berries, caper leaves and the caper production farm that brings Pantelleria’s tradition to the world. Ready to go?
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How is goodness preserved?
If we are talking about food preservation, we need to be very clear about one thing. Making food last longer, overcoming the problem of perishability, finding ways to have a supply for difficult times are all crucial moments of human evolution.
When the caveman discovered that the flesh hanging over the flame would last longer than the flesh hanging next to it, when 10,000 years ago for the first time in history fishes of the Nile were salted, when the Vikings learned to make the stokkfisk…Humanity made a leap forward.
Because it’s not just about the fortunate creation of foods that enrich our tables to this day, it’s also the intelligence applied in times of need, the intuition that - literally - saves you from hunger. As they say, "necessity makes a handy man" and, more importantly, a smart one.
From the same necessity all cured meats and sausages, pickles, smoked, dried and salted foods, just to name a few, were born. Today we’ll talk about some more exceptional preserved goods, those from our friends at the Radici farm.
Preserves, a world in a jar
One of the most common ways of storing food is the vacuum packing in jar. Fruits, vegetables, ready-made preparations: everything can be put in glass as long as hygienic standards are respected.
To avoid the risk of botulinum, it is essential to sterilize the containers before use and, once filled and sealed, put them in boiling water to kill all potentially dangerous microorganisms. Doing it at home is a hard job and the result is not necessarily 100% safe in terms of hygiene.
Only a professional non-domestic production offers all the necessary guarantees. And don’t think that the result would be less genuine than what you would have done at home, just know how to choose the best producers.
Radici farm: to cultivate and preserve
For our jars, we chose Radici, a "widespread" Tuscan farm, which starts at the foot of the Pratomagno mountain range and reaches 1300 meters above sea level.
This is a great plus in terms of production, because it allows for a simply incredible variety. In the valley products of Mediterranean climates are grown, such as tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, further up it’s potatoes and beans which can survive a cooler weather, high above it’s berries and chestnuts.
They cultivate and transform, because they know perfectly well that people have less time to cook but are still looking for good and genuine products, even better if used in healthy and traditional preparations.
Organic farming, what does it really mean?
Each product from the Radici farm is organic. As the European Commission says,organic farming is “an agricultural method that aims to produce food using natural substances and processes. This means that organic farming tends to have a limited environmental impact as it encourages:
- responsible use of energy and natural resources
- maintenance of biodiversity
- preservation of regional ecological balances
- enhancement of soil fertility
- maintenance of water quality.”
Choosing organic food is good for us and for the planet. GMOs, chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are banned, while pest antagonist insects are safeguarded and organic fertilizers are used.
You can literally taste the difference! Beyond the issue of health and environment, only organic farming allows us to enjoy the true taste of the earth’s products grown naturally, differently from fruits and vegetables that taste like nothing!
To each season its cultivation
Another thing that is often forgotten is seasonality. The times of nature are sacred and to overturn them means to subvert a perfect order and find yourself with a - horrid - bell pepper in January or some - equally horrendous - black cabbage in July.
But why should we? Don’t we deserve to wait for the right season to enjoy each flavour at its best? This is exactly what happens at the Radici farm, they wait for the right time to collect fruits and vegetables at the perfect stage of maturation.
In short, organic fruits and vegetables, harvested only at the right time. But not just that, because you can also choose to bring home healthy and genuine goodness, in a ready-made dish.
Radici farm cultivates, transforms and cooks some of the signature dishes of the territory, such as Acquacotta, Ribollita and Etruscan soup, a delicacy based on chickpeas and chestnuts.
People often think that a proper dish takes a lot of time and ready-made meals are seen as some sort of shortcut, second-rate alternatives that may not have the same quality as the homemade ones.
But who says so? It all really depends on which ready meals you buy. Of course, if you enter a supermarket and grab the first ready-made dish you find, you will probably end up having comfort and convenience, but not quality and taste.
Thanks to Radici farm, however, you can count on the highest quality, without the need to cook. And we’re talking about products with a very long shelf life, in short, the best for those who want goodness and comfort.
The same goes for jams. In the jars you find in large-scale retail trade, sugar easily reaches 45 grams per 100 grams of product.
The one from Radici, on the contrary, is real fruit to spread.No thickeners or dyes – although it seems obvious, try reading the labels of the most known brands and then we’ll talk - and sugar is replaced with fragrant grape juice.
From the cavemen to Radici farm’s jars, passing through improvised smokehouses, Vikings and hams, I’d say that the road to food preservation has given us many satisfactions!
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