Its scientific name is “Capparis
spinosa”, it belongs to the capparidaceae family which
is composed of approximately 120 species. From its shrub
spreads the branches that produce the unopened flower buds.
The dry heat and strong sun light of the Aeolian Islands
make the preferred environment for caper plants, where they
grow, since the ancient times, and get a very special flavour
particularly intense and aromatic.
The capers are picked
exclusively by hand, as for an almost sacred ritual, between
the first of May and the middle of August. It is a very delicate
and laborious job that only most expert hands are able to
carry out with skill, collecting, one by one, the flavour
buds in the apical part of the new branches without damaging
After the buds are picked, they are too fresh to be
commercialized they need of a period of maturation (30/45
days) and careful cures. During that period the product is
conserved with periodic and decreasing additions of marine
salt until when it takes the typical colour, the characteristic
aroma, the intense and pleasant flavour, the right aspect.
The gems not collected going on growing up then open at the
top of a stalk (a stem), and become the “fruit” of
the same homonymous shrub called in dialectal and slang terms “Cucuncio”(caperberry).
Then the product is selected in various calibrations and
classified commercially with the relative denomination.