Just what is a caper, anyway?

by irene on February 1, 2005

This appears to be a pertinent question. Many of the hits that I get via the search engines come from people who are confused about capers. From “What is a caper”? to “Pictures of capers”, the queries come pouring in.

Here’s a general definition of the sort of caper that these searchers are looking for:

A pickled flower bud of a usually spiny Mediterranean shrub (Capparis spinosa), used as a pungent condiment in sauces, relishes, and various other dishes.

I seldom use capers in day-to-day cooking, however I admit that I often have them on hand, and I use them in exactly the manner mentioned above – used in sauces, relishes, salads, and other dishes that benefit from a little touch of “pickled”.

When we were first searching for a domain name to describe our “foodie” interests, a number of possibilites came to mind. Most, of course, were already taken. After a bit of brainstorming, “Cuisine Capers” became the obvious choice. It rolls off the tongue and has some nice alliteration. As an added bonus, the play on the word “Caper” was too appealing to pass up.

Of course, the meaning of Capers in Cuisine Capers runs more along the following lines:

A frivolous escapade or prank.

Yes, that works for me.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah April 1, 2005 at 6:00 pm

What is the food group for Capers?

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MH June 19, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Thanks – I thought they looked like baby artichokes.

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zita December 22, 2007 at 7:31 pm

very helpful….didnt know where you found them

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anonymous December 26, 2007 at 3:11 pm

ok thankyou i did not know what a caper was!

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Anonymous January 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

where do i look in the shop for them

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Jaime October 4, 2009 at 6:29 pm

You can usually find them in the pickle/pepper aisles of your local grocery store. They come in a small jar for about $3 or less.

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Nowheremama February 16, 2008 at 1:51 am

It was mentioned in “Too Many Cooks” a Nero Wolfe book written
by Rex Stout. I was curious and here it is! THank you SO much!

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Vivian Morgan February 16, 2008 at 6:19 am

Where can i get a bush?

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Sariosa March 7, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I enjoy them in pasta salad with pesto dressing and lots of vegetables with or with out grilled chicken breast – try it. I also add as topping to meats such as chicken, beef tenderloin as a garnish and for flavor. Yes the brine is tart, but it really kicks up the flavor in dishes.

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Sarah April 4, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Capers are great!

I just had a Japanese lunch, and they were the garnish. My only concern though is with them being so salty, can people with high blood pressure eat em?

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Laura June 4, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I love Capers but i’m not sure if a lot of people do. I am choosing dishes for my wedding and one dish has smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and toast points…is it safer to go with something else???

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Melinda July 7, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Thank you so much. I have seen and used capers but I really did not know what it was. I am glad I found your site it is nice

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Fran August 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm

I want to know where I can buy capers? Like a grocery store or a special store that might cary them? How are they sold in a can, jar or in what. Thank you in advance

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Jennifer Buhr September 2, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Where can I find them in a store?

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Tracy September 9, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Capers are located near the pickles. They are sold in a little jar.

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big daddy February 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

try adding capers to ur tuna salad. u wont regret it..delicous

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emmy July 21, 2009 at 12:05 pm

What is the best way to buy capers? Can they be stored?

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Robert August 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Thanks for the info. Are they classified as an herb or spice?
I know they are salty. Just one of those things that I wanted
to know but never got around to asking.

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Samantha September 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Thank you. I too have always heard of capers, but didn’t know what they(it) were.

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Ruthann October 4, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Capers are usually pickled, they are great with chicken either francaise or picata..enjoy

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Meg August 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I knew I liked capers, but had no clue what they actually were. I’m making chicken picata tomorrow and had to figure it out, and this was exactly what I was looking for — thanks! :)

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Nikk/Nice October 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I just had a caper and it’s something that you would have to get use to. I don’t see me eatin them about once every 3 years. They are just not for me.

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Kathy November 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

I just bought my first jar today. You can find them in the pickle section of any grocery store in a tiny jar . I love to eat them with warm or cold salmon.

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Starfish December 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I use them to jazz up my salads! They are.something different to enjoy.

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Noeline Swan September 15, 2012 at 1:05 am

we had capers in a little salad at lunch time , Grated apple carrot chopped walnuts chopped fetta capers chopped up chicken with a thin dressing drizzeled over all
then for dinner tonight we had caper in melted butter with the zest and juice cooked alltogether then spooned over the cooked orange roughy (fish) both were so delicious that I became very curious and wanted to know what are capers and where they came from . So glad I found your site thanks a million , we will be eating them more often now thanks

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Myra November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

What are capers classified as?

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