Capers are the preserved flower buds of the Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa - Thorny Caper Shrub) which is native to the Mediterranean. Since ancient times, Capers have been used as a piquant cooking ingredient, but also as a remedy and an aphrodisiac.
The closed buds are harvested by hand in Spring, and are inedible in their raw form. They are then withered for a day, and preserved in sea salt, brine, vinegar or oil. This produces capric acid and mustard oil glycoside, which give the capers their spicy-piquant flavour.
As some of the constituents may evaporate when heated, capers are usually added to dishes at the end. The most well-known dishes with capers are the German Königsberger meatballs, the Italian Vitello Tonnato and Spaghetti alla puttanesca, and Steak Tartare. Due to their intense and special flavour, you should use other spices sparingly.
Capers should be closed, olive green to blue-ish green, and as small as possible. They taste finer than the larger ones, and are also more expensive due to their lower harvest yield.
They are classified according to size as "Nonpareilles" (small, the finest and most expensive), "Surfines", "Fines", "Mifines", "Capucines", "Capottes" and "Communes" (large).
Total weight: 100g, drained net weight 60g.
Shelf Life / StorageSpices lose some of their flavour through incorrect storage. Spices should be stored in a cool, dry, dark and airtight place.