Some things you might not know about capers:

  • native to the Mediterranean basin
  • are the pickled or salted flower buds of the plant Capparis spinosa L.
  • caperberries are semi-mature fruit that have been pickled
  • the strong flavour is largely due to the presence of mustard oil.
  • capers have been known for thousands of years and were mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder.

Botanical Information

Family: Capparidaceae (or Capparaceae) related to the Brassicaceae
Scientific Name: Capparis spinosa L.

Etymology: From the Latin for caper (from the Greek, but origin unknown)

Uses: The flower buds are pickled in vinegar or salted when very young. These have been used in cooking since Roman times for their mustard like taste.

Sometimes confused with Nasturtium fruits due to the similarity in appearance and the fact that Nasturtiums can also be pickled (known as poor man’s capers).



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