The Q&A Archives: info on capers

Question: I'm looking for information about growing and processing capers for the table.

Answer: I'm afraid I can't find any information on commercial production of capers, but if you're growing them in your home garden, I can help. The plant, Capparis spinosa, is native to the Mediterranean north to India. It prefers well-drained soil in full sun, and tolerates drought well. They are best propagated from cuttings, since seeds take a long time to germinate and grow to maturity. Pick buds just before they open.<br><br>Here's a recipie for pickling capers, taken from Carla Emery's "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" (Sasquatch Books, Seattle, WA; ISBN# 0-912365-95-1):<br><br>Divide one quart of fresh buds into clean, hot canning jars (3 pint or 6 cup-sized). Mix together in a stainless steel or enamel pan: 1/2c brown sugar, 1/2c water, 1-1/2c wine vinegar, 1 crushed clove of garlic, and 1 teaspoon each of mustard seed, salt, dill & celery seed. Add your odd favorite spice if you want. Boil the pickling solution HARD for 10 minutes. Pour it through a strainer to remove solids and boil once more. Pour almost-boiling liquid over the capers. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Keep jars in a cool, dark place for at least 10 days before using to allow them to pickle. Enjoy!<br>

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