Capers

“Capparis Spinosa” is the latin name for the bush with long thorny shoots which provides the flower buds known as capers. From these flowers will develop the full size caper-berry, the fruit, called in Spanish “alcaparron”. The caper plant is, even today, predominantly wild, and grows all round the Mediterranean basin, producing numerous varieties, depending on the region where it grows.

The plant develops strong and deep roots, which make it resistant to drought and provide an important ecological contribution in that they hold down those soils that are almost always eroded by torrential rains. It grows particularly in the sunniest and most arid regions. Its numerous shoots grow radially and rapidly, reaching lengths up to 2 metres. The caper plant is also known as “the three crop plant”, because it yields: 1) tender shoots 2) capers (flower buds) and 3) berries.

Capers have been around for thousands of years, with mention of them as an ingredient in the ‘Gilgamesh’, possibly the oldest written story known, which was found on ancient Sumarian clay tablets and which date back to c. 2700bc. They are also mentioned by Apicus, a Roman who is said to have written the first cookery book in the 1st Century and by Dioscorides (c. 40-90ad) a pharmacologist who served as a surgeon in Nero’s armies.

The ancient Greeks not only used Capers as an ingredient in cooking, but also used the roots and leaves of the plant for medicinal purposes.
Delicias capers are packed by the largest producer in the world and range in size from that of a tiny peppercorn (nonpareilles) to some as large as the tip of your little finger (Fines). They can be grown from seed or cuttings and whilst the plants last 20-30 years, a full yield can only be expected in 3-4 years. Pruning is essential to achieve high production, as the flower buds only develop on one year old branches.
Capers are handpicked on a daily basis. The picker will harvest any size of caper on the plant, from the smallest to the largest grade. The Capers and Caperberries are weighed and sold to the packer each and every day during the picking season.

The freshly picked capers are then put into large drums and immersed in brine for the fermentation process to begin. This process takes up to 2 months depending on the temperature and the brine.
Once fermentation is concluded the capers are thoroughly washed and then graded. Capers are normally packed in glass jars and immersed in wine vinegar, brine or dry in salt.

Use chopped or whole to add piquancy to many sauces, fish and seafood dishes, salads, canapés, pizza, tartar sauce and many Mediterranean dishes