Where do capers come from?


Quick Answer

Capers come from the unripened flower buds of the caper bush, whose scientific name is Capparis spinosa. The origin of the caper bush, which is common around the Mediterranean basin, is unclear, though some scholars place it in dry areas of west or central Asia.

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Full Answer

Capers have a long presence in human culinary history. The Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides mentions them as a product of ancient Greece, and Pliny the Elder, a Roman author, also mentions them in his writings. The ancient Mesopotamian "Epic of Gilgamesh," which dates to at least the 18th century B.C., also mentions capers. As of 2014, the buds are typically preserved in salt or vinegar, highlighting their tangy citrus flavor.

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