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 them.
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.