Skip Nav
Cooking Basics
The 1 Thing I Learned in Italy That Changed the Way I Cook
Holiday Food
11 Spiked and Spiced Apple Cider Recipes
Cooking Basics
Keep Bread Fresh (Practically) Forever With This Trick

What Are Capers?

Know Your Ingredients: Capers

Like hearts of palm, capers have become a fixture in salad bars, smoked salmon spreads, and meat marinades. But besides their characteristically piquant flavor, what do we know about them? Capers have played a significant role in Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years; early dishes have been traced back to before 3000 BC. These tiny green dots are the immature flower buds of a thorny, prickly bush that's widespread all over the Middle East and Mediterranean.

Processing the buds is labor-intensive, as they must be plucked at a specific point in the maturation process. The bud, which is generally flavorless when fresh, develops an intense, sharp flavor after the blossoms are sun-dried and brined in vinegar, salt, or wine. And while they range in size from 7 mm to the size of a small olive, smaller caper varieties are more aromatic and come with a higher price tag.

Are you astonished to hear that capers have been preserved for thousands of years? What are your favorite ways to enjoy them?


What Is Ube?
What's the Difference Between Club Soda and Sparkling Water?
From Our Partners
Latest Food
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds