Capers of commerce are immature flower buds which have been pickled in vinegar or preserved in granular salt. Semi-mature fruits and young shoots with small leaves may also be pickled for use as a condiment.
Capers have a sharp piquant flavor and add pungency, a peculiararoma and saltiness to comestibles such as pasta sauces, pizza, fish, meats and salads. The flavor of caper may be described as being like that of mustard and black pepper.
Capers make an important contribution to the pantheon of classic Mediterranean flavors that include: olives, rucola, anchovies and artichokes.
Tender young shoots including immature small leaves may alsobeaten as a vegetable, or pickled. More rarely, mature and semi-mature fruits are eaten as a cooked vegetable. Additionally, ash from burned caper roots has been used as a source of salt.