I adore foraging. Not a true forager, but I know what is edible growing around my house and that makes me really happy.
Have been waiting and waiting and finally on the wall of the abandoned church in the piazza where we park, the capers are ready to be picked.
Now that you know what they look like, you will see them everywhere in Tuscany, mostly on the old stone walls around the towns.
The closed caper berry is the flower bud.
The inside of the open flower has a long stamen, which develops into the caper seed pod which is pickled to be served as an appetizer.
Personally, I prefer the salt-packed capers and always get some when I am down in Sicily, they grow in volcanic soil and are packed in sea salt and have a really special flavor .
To salt-cure your own capers:
Simply layer the capers in fine sea salt.
Leave the jar open and daily, pour off any liquid which forms at the bottom of the jar.
Add some additional salt so it is not WET. Will last forever!
Most people rinse off the salt from the capers before using, but depending on the dish, I may just use the salt on the capers as part of the dish and not add additional salt.
I remember them saying they were “fish eyes” when I was a kid.