Fruit of the Caper Plant

The many uses of caperberries.

by0| PUBLISHED Mar 28, 2002 10:00 AM
Fruit of the Caper Plant
A teaspoon of finely chopped capers gives burgers a pleasing, concentrated saltiness. Michael Kraus

If caper buds are left on the bush, they will eventually explode into fragrant three- to four-inch white flowers that look like miniature roses with long violet stamens. When the flowers fall off, oval-shaped, seed-filled fruits called caper berries grow at the end of newly formed stalks. Spanish producers have found a niche for these inch-long fruits—pickling them in brine, like the bud that precedes them, before packaging and selling them. In Spain, caper berries are eaten as tapas—but they're also a delicious accompaniment to pates, cold meats, and salads. They've even caught on recently in this country as a trendy—and tasty—alternative to olives in vodka and gin martinis.