Capers are unopened flower buds from the prickly capparis spinosa shrub that grows like a weed in Mediterranean regions. Preserved with salt or vinegar, capers add a piquant zing to a variety
of dishes—from salads and sandwiches to meat and fish.
How to Choose Capers
Preserved in either salt or a vinegar brine, capers range in size from ¼-inch nonpareilles to cocktail-olive-size caperberries. Most supermarket varieties are brined and make good all-purpose condiments to keep on hand. Salt-cured capers are sold in jars or in bulk in specialty markets and may cost more; their more delicate flavor makes for a nice splurge in simple recipes that feature capers prominently.
How to Store Capers
Once opened, keep jarred capers in the refrigerator for up to a year. If brined, make sure they are completely submerged.
How to Prepare Capers
Regardless of how they’re cured, rinse capers several times in water or soak in cool water for one hour to remove excess salt. Pat dry.
How to Use Capers
Capers are a classic garnish for Mediteranean-style salads, meats and fish. Use them to liven up pasta sauces, tapenades, potato salads, and egg dishes. Try whipping chopped capers into butter or mayonnaise to spread on sandwiches, or even deep-fry for a crunchy treat.
—Stephanie Southworth Geary
Real Simple Caper Recipes:
- Cavatappi With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Capers
- Halibut with Citrusy Tomatoes and Capers
- Parsley, Capers, and Lemon Tuna Sandwiches
- Pork Cutlets With Sautéed Spinach and Capers
- Pork Loin With Sautéed Cauliflower and Capers
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.