Capers -

The flower buds of the caper bush, growing in countries along the Mediterranean. They are used as pickles and to add to sauces, etc.

The caper crop is gathered from June to September or October, the end of July giving the heaviest yield. After picking, they are carefully dried to avoid fermentation and then stored in barrels of vinegar, the latter being sometimes flavored with tarragon sprigs, elder flowers, cloves, peppercorns, etc.

During the winter following the gathering, the capers are graded by size by passing through sieves. The seven chief classifications are - "Nonpareil" (smallest), "Surfine," "Capucine," "Capote," "Fine," "Mi-fine," and "Commune" (largest). After grading, they are replaced in barrels of vinegar and thus preserved until sold. Before shipment, they are washed in vinegar of a standard of 12°, which renders them quite firm, and placed in barrels without vinegar, the finer qualities to be repacked in bottles, etc.

A fraud sometimes attempted is to mix with the capers a quantity of nasturtium berries, which resemble them in size and appearance.

Arround Capers in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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