Capers: The Tiny Bud with the Big Taste

by Leslie Stauffer on August 21, 2011

Where to buy Capers?


It’s a question we often hear. Capers are rarely seen outside of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, but are growing in popularity across the United States. Small in size, these delectable buds pack a lot of tangy, salty flavor, and many classic recipes such as puttanesca require them.

Have you been longing for a home-cooked Italian meal, but uncertain where to buy capers? Finding them can be difficult. If you’re lucky enough to live near a gourmet food store, a quick trip could set you up with quality capers. For the rest of us, thankfully the internet can help.


At Pennmac, we have offered the denizens of fair Pittsburgh Italian and gourmet groceries since 1902. When the internet became readily accessible, we realized some of our far away customers might enjoy the convenience of online shopping. We heard your groans of “Where can I buy caper berries around here?” and “Puttanesca? How wonderful! But where do you buy capers?”

Salted, Brined, Non Parilles or Capote Capers: We Carry Them All

We carry an assortment of capers. Brined or salted capers, from the smallest, most sought after Non Parilles, to the caperberry itself, we have you covered. Browse our selection and find the right caper for your recipe, and enjoy an Italian dinner done right.

Most capers sold in the United States are pickled in a vinegar solution. In Italy, storing capers in salt is also popular, and we carry both varieties for your convenience. Non Parilles, or the smallest caper, are the variety you’ve most likely seen, but we also carry large capers, otherwise known as capote capers.

Salonika Capers, Agostino Recca Capers and Roland Capers are the most well known. We also carry Roland’s caperberries pickled in vinegar in two sizes, for those of you curious to try this unknown fruit, and those who already love them.

As many of you know, capers are the buds of the Capparis spinosa plant. These tiny buds are picked a dark green color, and pickled in a vinegar or salt solution. The pickling brings out the signature taste of the caper: enzymatic reactions release mustard oil and a citrus tasting compound called rutin.

If you leave the buds of the capparis spinosa in tact, they will grow into caperberries. These berries are slightly larger than your average grape, and oblong. They are less strong than capers, with considerably less citrus taste. Caperberries are also pickled in a vinegar solution. They are sometimes sliced and served with antipasto, and some recipes call for caperberries rather than capers.

If you find capers too pungent for a recipe, substituting with caperberries could help relieve the sharp taste while maintaining that classic caper taste. Reverse substituting (that is, putting capers in where caperberries are called for) is inadvisable, as the caper flavor would likely overwhelm the recipe.

In Greece, even the caper leaves are enjoyed, either boiled or steamed, and served in salad. Unfortunately, finding this delicacy in the states is almost impossible.

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