First, Happy Independence Day! Earlier this week I was preparing my chicken piccata recipe and realized that I had no idea what “capers” actually were. They are usually pickled and even though I’ve been using capers in recipes for years, I had never before been curious enough to wonder “exactly where do these things come from?” So, I’m fixing that today.
Capers are flower buds (generally pickled) that are used as a seasoning and are commonplace across many cuisines. Capers are harvested from a shrub-like bush (Capparis spinosa), long before the buds ever flower. They’re grown in parts of Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southern Europe, Turkey and of course, California.
Here’s the official scientific classification:
Species: C. spinosa