Caper is a spice which is believed to have originated from East or Central Asia. However, it is commonly used by Arabs as a medicine for treating different ailments. The word “caper” is derived from the Latin word “Capra”, meaning goat. This is a reflection of the strong smell the spice has. Today, capers are mostly cultivated in the Mediterranean, as well as in Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Cyprus, Algeria, and Iran. Some parts of South Asia also grow a wild variety of caper.
Caper is the dried bud of the unopened flower of the plant. With size as the basis for its grading, the smaller the capers, the higher the grade will be. Capers have a strong, fermented bitter flavour, which it develops when cured in vinegar, oil or brine. The result is a tart, pungent taste with a hint of lemon.
The flower buds, young shoots and the unripe fruits of the plant are often pickled to be used as a spice as well. Caper is used to add flavour to fish, meat, pizza, pasta sauces, as well as salads. Additionally, it has medicinal purposes as well. Caper is known to reduce flatulence and has anti-rheumatic properties, apart from improving liver function. It also has anti-oxidant properties.